Get Rid of Parental Guilt Once and for All

Get Rid of Parental Guilt Once and for All


Do you know ANY parents that don’t struggle with guilt?  At least some of the time? Do you know anyone who has children that at some point didn’t feel just a twinge of guilt at something they did or didn’t do, or because they couldn’t give their children everything they thought they should?  Don’t we hear people saying all the time, “Oh my God, I am the WORST parent ever?!”


In some way, at some time, it happens to all of us. 


Guilt is rampant in our society, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not fuelling change – it’s taking us further away from our Divinity.  But, more on that later. 


First, WHY do we feel so guilty?


We feel guilty for working outside the home.  We feel guilty for not working outside the home.  We feel guilty for taking time for ourselves.  We feel guilty for not spending enough quality time with our kids.  We feel guilty for yelling.  We feel guilty for not packing nutritious enough lunches.  We feel guilty for not scheduling enough play dates. We feel guilty ALL the time.


That’s the surface why.  But the real why is underneath, lurking and waiting patiently (or not so patiently) to be healed.


We feel guilty – ultimately - because we feel not good enough. 


We feel guilty because we think we don’t measure up – to our parents, or to the parents next door, or to the parents at school, or to the parents we want to be. 


We feel guilty because we’ve bought into a story that tells us we should be more and do more - not only for ourselves but for our kids too.  We feel guilty because we think that if we can’t give our children everything, they’ll be nothing.  We feel guilty because we aren’t “perfect”, and society tells us we should be.


But that’s just another story, and we can stop buying into it any time we want to.


Letting to of the story is so simple, but it’s also oh so hard.  It can be a process to get your worthiness back, but it’s worth it.  To get started, here are some steps you can follow to stop guilt in its tracks, and get you back on track to being the best parent you can be.

  1.  Acknowledge the guilt.  Let it know that you know it’s there and that you intend to do something about it.  Guilt is not your foe.  It’s not your friend either.  It’s just there as a result of messages you’ve taken on board about a variety of things.  Once you know that, and you acknowledge it, it’s easier to leave behind.  You don’t need to fear it, but you don’t need to hang onto it either.   
  2. Figure out where it is stemming from.   For example, do you feel that you are not as financially secure as you want to be, and therefore experience guilt because you can’t give your kids “enough”?  Do you feel that you are not as nurturing as another mother or father?  Do you feel that you are not living up to an ideal that you’ve formed in your head about what a good parent is?  Whatever it is - try to look at it honestly and with compassion for yourself.   You can do this in several ways
  • Meditate: Find a quiet space, close your eyes and ask – where is this coming from?    Ask genuinely and be prepared for an answer that may either make perfect sense to you or make no sense at all!  
  • Journal:  Take a blank piece of paper and start writing.  Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar or sentence structure – just write in a stream of consciousness. 
  • Take a walk.  Being in Nature brings us closer to our Divine selves where there is no guilt, so if you can do that so much the better.  If not, just getting some fresh air can give you the space to sort things out.
  • Find a good therapist or coach or healer.  If you are struggling to access where the guilt is coming from and what you can do about it, this may be a good option for you.

     3. Address that (not so) loving feeling. 

  • Talk to yourself!  This is not crazy.  If you know where the guilt is stemming from, you can go back to that time and the person you were when it started and you can have a conversation about it – from your now wiser self to your self back then.   Give that unsure parent the confidence (and whatever else) they need.
  • Remind and Re-create.  Remind yourself in every moment that you need to that you are doing the best you can, and that is enough. You get to choose the thoughts you want in your mind. Feelings of guilt or shame do not serve our highest purpose and so it’s best to stop them in their tracks and start over.  Even if you have to create new and worthy thoughts, do it.  Stop the guilt, stop the shame, stop the “you are a bad parent” thoughts and choose different ones.  Re-create.
  • Remember this.  Our children chose us, just like we chose our own parents.  We may wonder why sometimes, but there is a beautiful and Divine reason that ensures we learn (and they learn) what is needed in this lifetime.  No matter the situation, no matter how we may think we are failing, there is always a reason.  We are a part of their Journey, just as they are a part of ours.

    4. Thank the guilt.  It has shown up in your life to provide you an opportunity to heal.  

        Love it and then leave it. 


“Bad” feelings always provide us an opportunity to see where and how we are denying our Divinity.  Anytime we feel that we are not good enough, we deny that from which we came.  In that way, guilt is a gift.  It gives us an opportunity to remember that we are good enough, just because we are here. 


So, the next time you face parental guilt, try to remember that you have a choice.  You can choose to go forward in the knowledge that your best is all part of the bigger Plan – for you and your kids, and you can let the guilt go with thanks.



Sonia Voldseth is a certified life coach, blogger, speaker, and mother to two amazing children – her greatest (and most relentless) spiritual teachers.  She thrives most when she helps people remember their own innate wisdom and love for themselves.   She lives in Queenstown, New Zealand, and works locally and globally.  Find her at

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Comment by Sonia Voldseth on August 25, 2014 at 9:07pm

Trevor, that's fab!  Glad you like it.  Is there anything else I need to do at this stage?  Thanks. 

Comment by Trevor Taylor on August 25, 2014 at 3:18am

Thank you Sonia, its great.

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