So you promised your son or daughter something and you were unable to follow through. You may be the type of parent who runs out and buys your child anything he or she wants to make up for it. You may even rally up support from others to encourage you because you failed yet again to fulfill a promise. I'm sure you have learned from experience this behavior simply isn't good.

You see, the more we screw up as parents, the more we think we can replace our errors with things. However, as much as the child loves "the thing" he or she really wants you to mean what you say and say what you mean. Besides, what if you don't have the money to keep up with all your guilt feelings, then what? I could think of a few other feelings you might have: anger with child, resentment and blame. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be out here in traffic buying your bratty butt another toy!" Well, if you didn't allow guilt feelings to overwhelm you in the first place, then you wouldn't be toting your tired child around in traffic trying to buy them yet another toy!

You can stop feelings of guilt before they start by:
  • Following through with your promise(s) or even better don't make any more promises you can't keep.
  • Avoid impulse gift-buying to hide feelings of guilt. Rather, plan something similar within your budget. For instance, if you missed taking them to the park, reschedule the park visit or choose an even better park--don't buy a toy to substitute an event. The child was anticipating the park visit, not a toy and he or she will only come back later and say, "So when are we going to the park?" now you are spending more money than you had planned.
  • Talk to your child about your mistake and ask for forgiveness (that's right even if they don't know what it means, you can teach them.)
  • Tell your child what you will be doing in the future to ensure that what you did won't happen again. For example, "I'm sorry I didn't take you to your friend's house like I had promised. Next time, I will let you go on a weekend; rather than telling you I will take you during the week when I know it will conflict with my schedule."
  • Communicate with your partner about your intentions before making any commitments to your child. This way your partner won't be telling the child things you may or may not be able to do for your son or daughter.
If you are a spiritual parent, remember to take a moment and go to your Maker in prayer FIRST when you mess up with your children and hopefully you will do better next time.


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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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