Am I a Bad Parent?

Stop Parenting Out of Guilt in a Time of Pandemic

You are not a bad parent. During the pandemic, start learning how to stop parenting out of guilt or anxiety.

This content is also available in an audio version


When we’re in crisis, the voices built most deeply in us come out. Sometimes that can be positive. Other times it turns self-critical. 

Instead of blaming ourselves, we can remind our hearts that we are created in God’s image to do good works. We can be vessels of God’s grace and presence to our families during this difficult time. 

Look for the bright spots in your parenting

As hard as it may be to see at times, there are bright spots in your parenting. 

It’s almost never as bad it could be. 

Let’s get a little deep for a moment: There is a distance between “as bad as it could be” and what is actually happening. The efforts you are making to bring God’s grace to your family are what is creating that distance. In other words, things are not as bad as they could be because of the things you are doing well! 

Focus on what you are doing well as a parent and allow God to grow those moments each day.

am I a bad parent? Parenting out of guilt

Tips to grow your parenting without shame

You can do better than mere survival during this challenging time. You can even grow your parenting and come out better on the other side. 

Here are some practical tips:

  1. Slow down, take deep breaths, trusting that Jesus is fully in control and that He never leaves us.
  2. Look at the opportunities. Look for “yes” moments that are now possible because of less time constraints.
  3. Look at the successes. Ask yourself, “When did I connect well with one of my kids?” or “When did I hold it together when I could have lost it and what helped me to achieve that?”

In other words, things are not as bad as they could be because of the things you are doing well! 

One mom’s parenting success during “stay-at-home” orders

Enjoy this story from Abby, mom of 3 from Minnesota, who has been working hard to connect well with her kids. She is learning to choose grace and be present with her kids in the midst of life’s daily messes:

Now let me just tell you on Day 1… oh wow!  That day was HARD. I am an extreme extrovert.  I gotta see my people. And then there was the FEAR. Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the virus. Not being able to know, to plan, to execute our daily routine. That first day there were tears and screaming. The anxiety – not just mine but my kids’ – was thick and oppressive.

But I had a change in mindset over the next 2-3 days. I realized that we are “all in this together,” and EVERYONE else was having a similar experience, so there was nothing I could do but truly surrender it all. 

Everything that was most important to me was under one roof. So it turns out I did have my people.  And I still had a Jesus who I knew was walking alongside me in all of this, and I had the framework that Connected Families had given me. 

I do struggle to stay calm but I read Jim’s post where he said, “Whenever I feel anxious I literally tell myself, ‘Jim, this isn’t helping. You can’t solve it. But you can breathe deep and remember that Jesus promised to never leave you nor forsake you. (Deep breath) That’s it. Do it again.’” I did this. 

You’re not a bad parent

You are not alone. In your community, and the world as a whole, there are millions of parents walking through this together. Struggling does not make you a bad parent.

Every family has unique challenges and trials to navigate and it can be exhausting. We see you. We hear you. And we want to walk alongside you. Share your prayer requests with us – we’d love to pray for you.

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Prayer

Lord, I ask you to fill me with an ability to see bright spots. To see past the difficulties, the failures, the discouragement. With your grace illuminate those bright spots so I can rejoice and see what you are doing right in our midst. I pray your blessing on our family today. In Jesus name, Amen.

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