Parents, It’s Not Your Fault
“I wish I knew all this when my boys were little.” — Mom
We had just released our podcast, The Empowered Child, and were streaming one of our first episodes inside our Facebook group.
My business partner Nicki was talking with Amy Kraus, a 20-year teacher, and current Motivational Speaker and Empowerment Coach for the youth about what we can do as parents to raise confident kids. And below the video, my mom left a comment that said, “I wish I knew all this when my boys were little.” This wasn’t the first time she voiced it either. She was a phenomenal mother in my eyes, but in hers, she felt like she made a lot of mistakes raising us. And I know this wasn’t just something she was feeling alone in.
In fact when I released my article, “22 Ways To Ruin Your Child’s Confidence” I got a lot of shares, feedback, and responses. Amongst those responses of parents telling me they wish they could go back and do things differently because they had done the things on that list. Clearly, these parents carried a level of guilt and shame about how they raised their kids. Feeling as if they “Screwed up.” After seeing these responses I decided to write this article to remind you that it isn’t your fault. Here’s why. Why Guilt Has No Room In Parenting Before I dive into this entirely, let me first define what I mean by saying “It’s not your fault.” I won’t sit here and say you couldn’t have made better decisions at times and that you aren’t responsible for how you raised your kid.
You absolutely could’ve made different decisions and you are responsible for how you raised your kid. I want you to embrace the responsibility of your decisions while also embracing that you were doing the best you could at the time. But what do I mean by saying you were doing the best you could at the time? Let me explain. Thomas Edison And Parenting Before Thomas Edison created the lightbulb, he invented a way to capture and record a person’s voice, he called it the Phonograph. This invention is the reason we have things like music, sound on the TV, radio shows, podcasts, and eventually phones. Although we aren’t so amazed at these things today because of how common they are, back then it was one of the most mind-blowing inventions. I mean think about it, they were hearing recorded sound for the first time. Pretty mind-blowing, wouldn’t you say?
There are stories of Edison’s team testing the machine with people for the first time and when they asked the volunteers what they heard they had absolutely no idea how to respond. They didn’t comprehend the sound coming out of the machine. At this point, Edison’s team would tell them it was a recorded human voice, and then they’d play it again and all of a sudden the volunteers were able to make out every single word. The reason this happened was that they had no concept of recorded sound, let alone playing back something that was once said at any time, so when the sound was heard it was gibberish to them. But the moment they got the concept introduced to their psyche, they suddenly were able to make every single word out of what was gibberish before. In the same exact way, many of us, if not most of us weren’t raised by parents who were consciously aware of the massive impact they were having on our psychological and emotional development. This means we weren’t introduced to a better, more conscious approach to parenting, therefore we only act on the concepts of parenting that we know, which were taught to us through our own experiences as a child. The reason this happens is because of something called the Reticular Activating System (RAS), a bundle of nerves in the brainstem. Its job is to mediate your focus and stream of consciousness by filtering what comes into your conscious awareness. It’s like a guard that stands in between the outside world and your responses to it. It takes in all the information and filters out most of it and only feeds you what you have the filter to understand and register. Your Reticular Activating System In Action
Think back to the first time you drove your car off the lot. That feeling that it was yours. That good feeling. The feeling of excitement of owning a new vehicle. One thing I can bet is that when you drove that car off the lot you suddenly began seeing the same exact year, make and model driving on every street you drive on. Like the entire world suddenly started copying you and wanted to drive the car you drive. Funny how that works, huh? This happens because you become consciously aware of a new experience, or of new information. This information is then internalized, and you create a “filter” or an “eye” for it. It’s not that everybody just started copying you, it’s that you began consciously registering it when it entered your field of awareness and responded to it. Therefore if growing up nobody ever taught you how to be a great parent, or introduced the information to you through their actions, then you would have no filter for it. Without a filter for conscious parenting, you simply cannot respond as a conscious parent. You don’t know what you don’t know. My mother had nobody or nothing around her that modeled healthy and conscious parenting, so how could she have suddenly raised us like that? It wasn’t until she became aware of conscious parenting solutions that she was able to begin using them. Before she had zero concepts of it. And as she says, “Now I can use this with my grandkids.” Instead of shaming herself, she embraces the fact that she simply did what she knew to do based on what her RAS had filters for and uses what she knows now with her grandkids. Everybody responds in the only way they know how to based on the data their mind has collected from past experiences. It’s human nature to only take from the material you have. And if you didn’t, or don’t have the best material around being a parent, it’s hard to be the parent you truly desire to be for your kids. But it’s not impossible. Becoming The Parent You Want To Be
You aren’t responsible for who raised you, how they did it, and the subconscious programming that took place because of it. But you are responsible for changing your programming and living your life differently moving forward. It’s not about the decisions you made and the behaviors that you did or didn’t do when you first raised your children, it’s about realizing that those decisions and behaviors are not who you are.
If you read this blog then you are clearly on a path of growing yourself to be the person you want to be. You are learning how to be the best parent you can be, and now you are choosing to act out on what you are learning — moving forward and not backward. Just because you made mistakes does not mean you are a bad parent or that there is something wrong with you. You are a human being who had an experience growing up that taught you how to be a parent. And now you’re taking ownership and stepping into a better version of yourself for yourself and your family. For that, I applaud you. In Conclusion You are not at fault for the mistakes you made as a parent. Mistakes come from decisions, and you made decisions based on what you knew. The data your mind had was filtered through your reticular activating system which only allows certain information in based on what it deems important. As a natural byproduct, you responded in certain ways, and these were the only ways you knew how to respond based on the data you had collected up until that point based on past experiences. And those decisions that you made are not your identity, they are not who you are. Now that you know what you know now, you can be the best parent (and grandparent) moving forward. What is your biggest takeaway from this? Let me know in the comments below!