When children show signs of behavioural or wellbeing issues, we can react quickly and jump to conclusions. Parents are swiftly blamed. Obviously, how we parent, treat and interact with our children has an impact on them as they grow. But that does not mean we are responsible for every aspect of our child’s behaviour including their temperament, personality, or interests. Despite our best efforts, sometimes our children are faced with challenges that need specialist support.
And yet, as parents, we often take the blame when something appears unknown, and we question what we could have done differently. Childhood is complex, and parenthood even more so. Looking back over our parenting is not a bad thing. We can learn from how we parent in the past and chose to parent differently in the future. But there are times when childhood behaviours and challenges are not a direct result of our parenting. It doesn’t help to pile on blame where there should be none.
It’s almost like watching the clock, or a pot boil as we wait for our kids to take their first step, say their first word, even ride their first bike. When our kids don’t hit these milestones on target, there’s a natural inclination to blame the parents for not having supported, educated, or encouraged our kids enough. But that’s not the case when it comes to developmental milestones. Children may need interventions when developmental concerns arise or are delayed.
Not everyone learns the same thing at the same time, and it’s important to remember that children need to learn at their own pace. Kids may have difficulties with attention, understanding, or have slower processing skills, all of which is not a result of our parenting and can benefit from outside support.
Temperament and Personality
We may create and birth our children, and we may instil core beliefs in them, but we are not responsible for their temperament or personality, which they are born with. In actual fact, our children’s temperament can affect how we parent them. We may try to mould our children, but their strongest, fundamental characteristics will stick! So, if you have a child who never seems to sit still, it is highly likely that is simply who they are!
Throughout pregnancy, we worry. In those early years, we fret. As a parent, we try our best to keep our children safe and when something goes awry we ask of ourselves: what could we have done better? Childhood illness and medical challenges are not a result of how you parent or whether you could have done something different. Simply put, you are not to blame.