The reason parents feel guilty.

Parenting and that underlying guilty feeling well, they go hand in hand. That ‘not good enough’ feeling is all too familiar, affecting almost all of us at some point. As parents we are often our harshest critics.

But a new study, commissioned by Smartrike, has found some surprising reasons why we’re getting the guilts.

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Surveying over 1000 Australian mums and dads, the study found that we are incredibly hard on ourselves as parents with over 80 per cent of respondents saying that they have second guessed a decision they’ve made in relation to their child. When asked to rate themselves as parents on a scale of 1-10, only ten per cent indicated they would rate themselves as a nine or above. That means 9o per cent of us feel like we’re not doing the best we can. Harsh, guys.

The pressure on new parents is huge and the study reflected that. People were asked to rate the pressure they felt was placed on mums and dads with young babies and more than half of them said they agreed that there was a feeling of needing to be perfect but interestingly, 60 per cent say the most pressure comes from themselves.


Most of the time, the pressure to be perfect comes from us. Image: istock

Of the fathers included in the survey most were working, and over half of these said they felt guilty for not being able to be with their child.

Surprisingly when asked what makes parents feel the most guilty, parents rated the following reasons; The rate of their children’s development (34%) The products parents purchase for their child (21%) How much they play or exercise with their child (19%) Their child’s diet (15%) and their child’s sleeping patterns (11%).

What I found most interesting about the results was this idea of guilt from purchasing decisions, especially when you see that this was ranked as being more relevant than say, your child's diet or sleeping patterns.

I can only assume that this is an internal pressure we are placing on ourselves as parents; to get the best presents, to buy the most educational toys, to keep up with friends.

It's disappointing because really, our kids are only young for such a small amount of time and to focus on these kinds of pressures, rather than to enjoy the moments with them is sad.