As a psychologist and a parent, I often hear people talk of ‘parental guilt’. This type of guilt is recognised as a common aspect of parenting and a normal part of wanting to provide the best life for our children. However, occasionally this guilt can become overwhelming and may evoke feelings of anxiety, leading to unhelpful behaviours such as; focusing on finding ways to avoid negative experiences, expressing your anxieties infront of your children and always imagining the worst case scenario. This type of anxiety can be influenced by a number of factors;

  • a fear of not being good enough
  • interference or pressure from others
  • a need for perfection
  • comparing ourselves to other parents
  • not wanting to repeat our experience of childhood for our child(ren)
  • negative beliefs about ourselves, others or the world in general
  • a fear of our thoughts and feelings affecting our child(ren)
  • being a ‘natural worrier’
  • stressful life events
  • a traumatic experience

I talk to parents to help them to explore and understand their feelings of anxiety. For example, for the parent who seeks perfection, we may think about the importance of allowing children to make mistakes and experience failure, in order to gain skills to tolerate frustration and imperfection and to develop self esteem.

I also support parents to understand anxiety itself;

  • why we need it
  • how it occurs in the mind and body
  • how it is triggered
  • how to manage it when it becomes overwhelming.

If you are struggling with feelings of parental guilt and anxiety, please contact

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success.”

 JK Rowling