Parents Must Let Go of Guilt

Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011 01:10 PM

By Dr. Laura

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
One Saturday afternoon, I caught an episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. In its day, it was a significant television series because it dealt with important issues while also being creepy and thrilling.

The episode I saw took place on a 1960s battleship where the crew starts hearing a clanging noise coming from the depths of the ocean. They happened to be over the remains of a World War II submarine. One of the sailors aboard the battleship starts feeling the presence of others, then he begins seeing crew members from the long-sunken submarine urging him to come to them.

The battleship’s captain sends a crew member underwater to check out the submarine. The diver does not find any sign of life, but he does find old, encrusted dog tags that belong to the sailor who is seeing and hearing things.

The captain talks to the suffering crew member who finally reveals — and relives — how he unwittingly signaled Japanese warships that attacked the submarine and killed all the other crew members. In terrible pain, he wails that it was his fault that the men died and he lived.

The captain grabs the sailor by the shoulders and says something that made me jump to my computer to write this: “It is the time for regret — not guilt.”

Every day, I hear people on my radio program expressing “guilt” when it isn’t called for.

I hear from parents who feel guilty because one of their offspring is abusing drugs or wasting intellectual and creative potential.

Pointing out that they have other children doing just fine does not allow them to let go of their guilt. And try as I do, it is a struggle to get them to embrace a more appropriate emotion, such as regret, sadness, or even hope that their children will someday find their way.

Yes, there are situations where guilt is suitable, such as when parents have abused their children or allowed abuse to occur, when they have been uninvolved, or when they put their own lives before the needs of their children.

All parents occasionally do something for which “regret” is appropriate. However, there are influences and experiences our children have that have nothing to do with us or what we’ve taught them. No parent can take all the credit for a child’s self-destructiveness or great success.

So the next time you feel guilt, ask yourself, “Am I really the cause of this problem?” Regret, sadness, or disappointment might be more appropriate, but you may have to give up your efforts to make things different. That “giving up” can make you feel hopeless, but when it is the right thing to do, you must do it.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Learn to Let Go

Monday, 10 Nov 2014 08:52 AM

So many people get letting it go and forgiveness confused. . . .

Selflessness - Key to a Happy Marriage

Friday, 10 Oct 2014 10:30 AM

Since the feminist movement, grandmothers and moms have not been teaching the next generation of women anything positive . . .

Criticism? Deal With It

Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 13:51 PM

When you show interest in what the person criticizing you has to say, you demonstrate trust in that person and give your . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved