We all have regrets in life. Regret is that feeling of dread and disappointment in ourselves for something we did or said. It’s really those moments in life that we wish we could undo or erase. We all live with regrets, some harder to overcome than others. As parents, we experience many regrets and mistakes, even in the way we raise our children.
Many people live with the regret of not living their lives the way they wanted and not being true to who they really were. You’ve probably hidden some aspect of yourself to please others at some point in your life. Because of that, you didn’t prioritize your diet, health, and mental wellbeing; and you were probably stressed or immersed in a tense environment. You can feel that your body and energy have paid the price.
One of the biggest regrets we all share is not discovering our purpose or passion in life sooner or at all. This snowballs into another regret of not being able to inspire, motivate or help people in the ways we wanted. You probably need to learn how to overcome regret if you don’t take many risks and yearn for an adventure or to do something completely out of the ordinary.
The longevity and quality of our lives ultimately depend on how we overcome regrets and mistakes. Some of the biggest regrets we experience are parenting regrets. Parents who don’t have a work-life balance from spending too much time at work often rob themselves of a happy household and miss some important family moments. Also, parents who do not prioritize showing affection to their family members can experience long-lasting negative consequences that have the power to dismantle their healthy family dynamic. Licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Inna Khazan, Ph.D., advises, in an article on Best Life Online, that regrets are natural and don’t signify bad parenting, but rather that we are more vulnerable about things important to us.
“It’s like two sides of the same coin—if being a good parent is important to you, if you love your child, you will end up worrying and regretting the mistakes you’ve made. Every parent makes mistakes, that’s also universal. It just does not mean that making mistakes or having regrets makes you a bad parent,” Dr. Khazan explains.
New dads may gain some new regrets and experience major mistakes that top those from their high school and college years. Twelve of the biggest parenting regrets and mistakes soon-to-be, new and seasoned fathers tend to make are:
- Keeping or hiding their emotions from their children
- Displaying impolite or rude behavior around their children
- Gossiping around their children
- Disregarding their children’s emotions and not practicing empathy
- Not enjoying life with their family
- Practicing conditional love with their kids, especially for sports and hobbies
- Arguing with their partner around their children
- Not being able to give your children advice
- Scolding your children harshly over mistakes or minor flaws
- Not carving out some alone time to take care of themselves
- Missing important moments like their child’s first step or word because of work or other obligations
- Prioritizing other people or things over their families
Podcast Ep. 112 – Regret Is Toxic, Learn How To Avoid It
So, how can we overcome our biggest regrets in life? Some regrets and mistakes may seem insurmountable but overcoming them is easier with these tips on how to overcome regret:
Be accountable for your actions and/or words
You did it, so accept it. For example, if you spent too much time as a new dad at work, accept that you may have been wrong in doing so. The next step is to figure out how to fix the negative consequences of your actions.
Make amends, if you haven’t already
Making amends may resolve some old issues, improve your mood and facilitate closure. You regret the big fight you picked with your partner last month, but you have not apologized. Start the reconciliation with an apology and be empathetic of their perspective.
Let go of the emotional and moral guilt
Free your mind of the constant worries, concerns, arguments, and guilt associated with the regrettable situation. It’s time to forgive yourself.
Identify the problem you caused and learn from your mistake
One of the best solutions and preventative measures is to ensure that you never repeat the mistake.
Be grateful that you learned from this experience
The regrettable moment should serve as a teachable moment for you and an opportunity to eradicate a negative behavioral trait.
Regrettable moments are avoidable but we’re only human. The best thing we can do to overcome regret is to accept it, apologize for it, forgive yourself, and let go of the emotional trauma that accompanies it. Parents have to be careful that they’re parenting regrets and mistakes do not create generational curses for their children. If your regret cuts deep, speak to a therapist to discuss the best way to resolve the issue in the best interest of all parties.