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Feeling guilty about not being proud of my child.

fauxmavenfauxmaven Registered User Posts: 1,786 Senior Member
edited December 2013 in Parent Cafe
I really don't have a close friend to share this with, but I know I should feel very proud of my child, but I don't. I am thinking of going back to therapy, as this has been going on for some time. I don't know why I can't feel proud of her choices. I don't even feel I can tell my husband the truth. I don't feel comfortable going into detail here. I am looking for some constructive ideas to ponder.
Post edited by fauxmaven on

Replies to: Feeling guilty about not being proud of my child.

  • goingnutsmomgoingnutsmom Registered User Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as parents. I don't think that we need to be proud of our children's choices all of the time. But working on acceptance is probably more important. If you think that you need a confidential space to explore the issue, therapy is a good idea.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,703 Senior Member
    FM, you've certainly had a lot to process between your kids. Talking to a therapist to help you with acceptance and serenity sounds like an excellent idea. It's just a more neutral sounding board that will allow you to work through some of the angst and other emotions that you have been feeling in light of choices made and not made. Good idea!
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,865 Senior Member
    Ditto. Therapy is one of the best things -- no, it's THE best thing -- I ever did for myself.
  • sseamomsseamom Registered User Posts: 4,879 Senior Member
    I think therapy is a good idea. I don't know the story-I honestly thought this post would be about your son in jail. But if you have a child who is making good choices, and there's no real reason to feel the way you do, therapy would help you figure it out and change the way you feel.

    My two older kids took very different paths from the ones my ex and I envisioned when they were young. The fact is that they are happy, healthy, employed in jobs they like, have good friends, etc. and there really is no reason on our parts to not be proud of them. So when I feel a little let down, I remind myself of that.
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Registered User Posts: 7,321 Senior Member
    It is hard to let go of expectations and to open our minds to what someone else may find to be a satisfying life. Especially our own child! When you say, "I know I should feel proud of my child", I wonder if she is doing all the socially acceptable, usually rewardable things but maybe you feel as if something is missing?
  • milkandsugarmilkandsugar Registered User Posts: 2,869 Senior Member
    I am constantly reminded to "love the kid on the couch." Our own expectations get in the way of truly appreciating the individual our children become and we waste precious time not accepting who they are.
  • fauxmavenfauxmaven Registered User Posts: 1,786 Senior Member
    Yes, she seems to have lost interest in her appearance. It hurts me to see how she looks these days. She has similar looking friends, seems happy and makes good grades. This is not why I am starting this thread. She is my only daughter and she has had a completely different life than mine. My dad left when I was 2. Nobody really cared what I did as looks as my grades were good and I didn't get into trouble. Part of my agony is all the money we spent on a fancy prep school and Ivy League college and she doesn't have the kind of plans that I had hoped would come from this kind of silver spoon education. I have been in and out of therapy my whole life and I know the value of it. I have my eldest son in prison, and 2 wonderful sons with great lives and good hearts. My kids all love me. My husband says he doesn't care what our daughter does with her education, as long as she contributes to help make the world a better place. My daughter is not aware of how I feel. These are not the reasons I feel guilty.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member

    Sometimes we feel guilty because our feelings don't match what we have been brought up to expect them to be (and I am just speculating here). I remember once my mom was talking to my Aunt (her sister in law), talking about their eldest kids, and my mom saying at times she looked at my brother and said "you know, I love him, he is my son, but I am not sure I like him" and my aunt kind of nodded and said "welcome to the club"..now they both loved their sons dearly, but though many people would be shocked, as a parent we are human beings and have emotions of our own, so we may not, for example, like the kind of person someone has become or the way they are acting, yet still love them. The problem is we also have internalized that as parents, feeling anything but love or pride or whatever in our child is 'wrong' and that can lead to guilt. It is hard, we live to an ideal and when we don't hit it, it gets to us.

    The hardest thing to learn about emotions, took me a lot of years of therapy to realize this, is they are neither good nor bad, they simply are. If you don't feel proud of your daughter, it is your emotion and you need to be able to accept that as being valid. That said, you may then, if it bothers you, want to work with a therapist or through inner searching to figure out why you don't feel proud of her, but as a starting point the biggest thing is realizing emotions are yours, and they aren't bad or good, they simple are. I don't know why you aren't proud of your daughter, could be you feel that for the amount of effort she put out she didn't seem to get anywhere, could be you were living through her vicariously and now feel a let down because she didn't do what you wanted, maybe you feel she after going through prep school and an ivy and had the background you didn't, should be a glamorous women with a glamorous job, not living a life, well, that you could see yourself living....could be a lot of things (I am throwing those out as hypotheticals, not trying to answer in reality)...the thing is, you have a right to have emotions and being a parent doesn't change that. If it is bothering you, I agree with others, therapy is good at looking at emotions, seeing why we feel them, and help us change our perspective on things and such, and in the end getting a handle on why you feel what you do will help..but in the meantime, understand the guilt is as a parent we set expectations very high, and when we can't meet them, it makes us feel bad at times....but you are a human being, too, and are not going to be perfect, as a parent or anything else, there is no such things:)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,599 Senior Member
    I, too, thought this thread would be about S1.

    What is it that you're feeling? Are you feeling that when people ask what she (prep/ivy grad) is now doing, the answer doesnt' seem on par with her pedigree? Is that it?

    When you say that she's not caring for her appearance, do you mean basic hygiene (which may mean depression or something) or do you mean like "hair in the eyes", odd hair colors, etc?
  • fauxmavenfauxmaven Registered User Posts: 1,786 Senior Member
    What is it that you're feeling? Are you feeling that when people ask what she (prep/ivy grad) is now doing, the answer doesnt' seem on par with her pedigree? Is that it?

    When you say that she's not caring for her appearance, do you mean basic hygiene (which may mean depression or something) or do you mean like "
    hair in the eyes", odd hair colors, etc?

    Yes, you hit point #1 on the head. She is a 3 semester senior, because she took a break. As to point #2, she is not unclean, but has an appearance that says, " I don't care about how I look." No make up, big sweaters, usually male, nothing ever pretty/ feminine. She isn't dating , although she used to. She is a good student, so I imagine this is a busy time for her.
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes Registered User Posts: 32,803 Senior Member
    Fwiw, I am probably around your D's age and I do not really care about my appearance. I don't wear make-up (though I never have), I wear big sweaters and often wear male clothes. Honestly? For me, comfort trumps "looking pretty". Maybe your D just doesn't care right now with everything on her plate.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,599 Senior Member
    A 3 semester senior doesn't sound bad. Many kids don't graduate right within the 4 year timeline since so many change their majors. And, as you said, she took some time off so not strange that she's taking longer. (is this the child that went to Europe for a bit because a BF was there...or was that someone else's child?)

    Will she graduate in Dec or next May?

    As for the second part...she could just be doing the hippie college casual look - no time to primp. Is it possible that she's not straight? If that's the case, then you know that right now she needs your love and support so that she can talk to you about it.
  • LizardlyLizardly Registered User Posts: 2,244 Senior Member
    Some really good advice already.

    I tell myself that my kids are separate from me. I did my job, I raised them to be thinking, caring, productive adults, now they have their lives to lead. They don't make the choices I would make or even the ones I think they should make, but they do what is right for them. I am trying to treat them more like adults and less like my products. I am working on the new, adult relationship.

    And I keep telling myself they are still young and will continue to develop and change.
  • sseamomsseamom Registered User Posts: 4,879 Senior Member
    FM, my younger D is a fashionista-and she is mostly wearing big, baggy sweaters, some of her father's or mine. And young men's Henley shirts. The other girls copy her. I am told by this fashion-conscious girl that this is the style right now, so I bet your D hasn't stopped caring what she looks like but has realized that a comfortable look is suddenly fashionable and has jumped on it.

    And just my two cents, but in a few years, no one will care where your D went to school or how long it took. Your husband is right-if she is happy and making the world a better place, who cares about her "pedigree"?
  • fauxmavenfauxmaven Registered User Posts: 1,786 Senior Member
    Yes, my daughter has a look that says " I just don't care." As to my son in prison, I am not proud of what he did, but never felt guilty about not loving his prison time! I guess I feel badly because I can't discuss how I feel with my daughter or husband. She will graduate in December 2014, which I am thrilled with, as they have a ceremony and it will be a lot less chaotic than June.
This discussion has been closed.