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Though it is a natural and universal human reaction, it is one of the most corrosive of all emotional states - and it does nothing to help relationships grow.
The good news is that the key to letting go of guilt may be simply a question of perspective. " Do you ever talk to yourself that harshly when you make mistakes as you learn in other areas of your life?
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So, what can we do when we make the painful discovery that something we have done has caused our child to hurt? Before we go any further, let's look briefly at what guilt actually is. Guilt and remorse are very different; in fact they are opposites.
Remorse is about the other: it is about allowing their feelings, listening with empathy, and it is about the desire and effort to repair any hurt we may have caused.
The fact is that the further back you look in the history of what we call civilization, the harsher and more neglectful parenting was - and this is true for a majority of the world's cultures.
I know of no better antidote to the "guilts", than finding out that parenting is an ever-evolving work in progress.
True remorse in action builds love; it heals, it is the very thing that allows us to move on and let go.
Guilt, on the other hand, is a blind alley that keeps us stuck, and alienates our children from us.Much as I long for guilt-relief however, I cannot stomach the glib remarks often used to give parent guilt the brush-off."Don't worry about kids, they are resilient", goes the mantra - and if we could only believe it, our worries would go away." To make matters worse, these days there is so much more information out there about what babies and children need; we have doubled the fodder for self-recrimination.Gone are the ancestral days when a casual attitude to children's feelings left our forebears largely untroubled by what happens to a child.Guilt weighs all the more heavily now that so many of us have plumbed the depths of what felt "toxic" about our own childhoods - thanks to the many hours in therapy and personal growth workshops, the piles of self-help books on our nightstands, and of course, thanks to Oprah.