top 7 regrets of parenthood
Many parents feel a bit of nostalgia as they see their kids getting on school buses or driving off to college. Yesterday, parents were changing diapers. Today, they realize their child-rearing days are almost over.
Here is what parents have told me are their deepest regrets, admittedly contradictory at times.
- I missed my kids’ childhood. I wasted so much time on things that didn’t matter. It would have been nice just to hang around my children and enjoy them rather than being overly focused on fixing up the house or attending boring social events. I worked too hard in a job trying to impress others, while the most important people in my life were left unattended.
- I should have spent less time with my children. I love my kids, but I was too focused on their lives and making them happy. I should have taken better care of myself and enjoyed my spouse. My children were the center of my world, and that sent them a wrong message about their exaggerated self-importance. I should have told them “no” more often, and not felt like it was my job to make them happy.
- I shouldn’t have gotten so upset over little things. I focused too much time on school and their grades. I pushed them into doing things like athletics that they didn’t enjoy. I wish I would have shown more interest in their clubs and activities, and less on the cleanliness of their rooms.
- I should have appreciated every day a bit more. Most of my time was spent planning for tomorrow rather than enjoying today. It seemed like all I did was pressure them into doing things that would help them get into a good college, or prepare them for the military. Nothing was ever fun for itself, but only as a way to get somewhere better in the future. They ended up depressed about yesterday and anxious about tomorrow.
- I protected them and gave them too much, or too little. I didn’t want them to go through the same childhood I experienced. I wanted them to have all the things my parents couldn’t afford. I gave them too many things. I wish I had taken them on more family vacations.
- I didn’t protect them enough. I’ll always feel guilty for what happened to my child, even though everyone said it wasn’t my fault.
- I should have been more accepting of them. I had a vision for how I wanted them to turn out, and they didn’t. I should have spent less time trying to control my children, and more time just enjoying their quirky, delightful, and fun personalities.