30° Good Morning
30° Good Morning

Does feeling regret for becoming a parent make you a bad one?

It's not uncommon for the pressures of parenting

It's not uncommon for the pressures of parenting to lead to regrets. Credit: Depositphotos / Karel Miragaya

Q. I’ve got three kids, all tweens and teens. Sometimes I feel like if I had it to do all over again, I don’t think I would. Does that make me a bad parent?

A. No, says Wendi Fischer, a family psychologist in private practice in West Islip. Most parents feel that way at one time or another, she says. “We all know that kids are challenging, dealing with kids is challenging,” Fischer says. “It’s the only time in your life you have something you can’t quit. You have more responsibility than any other job you could ever have in your life and there’s no escape. It’s all on you.”

Feelings are never wrong, they just are, Fischer says. “They’re only signals. They’re only communication to ourselves,” she says. Yours are telling you that something needs to be addressed, she says.

Ask yourself what specifically is bothering you. Is it one of the kids? Is it all of the kids? “Maybe you have a very challenging child,” she says. Or might there be something else going on in your life that is compounding the pressures of parenting, making things you usually can tolerate feel intolerable? “It’s not unusual for people to second-guess and have regrets, especially if they’re going through a tough time,” Fischer says.

You could consider getting some support temporarily through talking with a professional, she says. “If something was wrong with your car, you’d take care of it,” she says. If a pipe broke in your house, you’d take care of it, she continues. Think of this the same way, she advises. “The specifics need to be addressed with problem solving,” she says.

More Family