Getting Good at the Uncomfortable

Now this got me thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect and have my moments, but for the most part I feel I respond well when my children make mistakes. I don’t scream, yell, or punish. So with a bit more discussion and me thinking things out, what I actually think my children are feeling in this instance is guilt, and to be honest I don’t think that’s a bad thing… Hear me out. I don’t believe in shaming or guilt tripping; however, guilt is an emotion just like the rest, and if we are feeling guilty about something it’s our conscience telling us that there is something not right. Guilt is not bad, but when not addressed turns from a temporary emotion (“I did something wrong”), to shame (“I am wrong”). Dealing with guilt is the antidote to shame. By owning your behaviour, cleaning up your mess, you relieve the guilt.

The goal should not be to avoid or stop mistakes being made. It should be to see how your mistakes are affecting those close to you and then modifying your behaviour to maintain those connections.

If, in an attempt to avoid “guilting” children, their poor behaviour is not addressed, the child does not learn to own that mistake and learn new, more appropriate ways of behaving. This means they will more than likely continue to repeat that poor behaviour, over and over again: “This is just who I am!”, actually creating the perfect environment for shame to grow. The same is true for the traditional style of parenting. Blame was laid, punishment dished out, but there was often no restoration or new way of doing things taught. Guilt was ignited but not dealt with, therefore leading to shame.

The goal should not be to avoid or stop mistakes being made. It should be to see how your mistakes are affecting those close to you and then modifying your behaviour to maintain those connections.

After the tweezer incident I discussed “guilt” with the girls. I talked to them about it being their responsibility to deal with, you don’t get to blame me for you feeling guilty! To me it’s a bit like someone saying “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you.” No no, you didn’t say anything because you were avoiding an uncomfortable situation. But the reality of life is that it is messy, and at times uncomfortable, and if we want to maintain good relationships we have to get good at dealing with the uncomfortable!


What began in early childhood as an obsession with babies grew into a passion for children and families by the time Shannon was a teenager. Her natural abilities with children and a passion for families led her to enroll in a Bachelor of Human Services, followed by a career working with parents and their children. She has a realistic common-sense approach to raising children; drawing from research, years of experience in the field and personal experience as a mother of two spirited children. You can find more from Shannon on Facebook.

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