Compensation Parenting


The title of this blog may bring the question of what is compensation parenting and I expected that. I coined this term of parenting style when I found myself doing things as a parent to compensate for guilt I had over my son missing something, my self perceived notion that I was making mistakes, or just simply my guilt over the self perception that I wasn’t mom of the year. 




I don't believe I am the only parent that has felt guilty over something I did or did not do when raising my son.  His biological father was not around and being a single mom I had to work to support him.  To compensate for him not having a "full" family, I would buy him gifts, take him out for mommy and E date days, and beat myself up in the process.  I compensated in ways that spoiled him and did not prepare him for the "real" world.

 Now that he is almost 17 and my only biological child- I reflect so much on what I did wrong and what I could have done better.  I was a single mom until he was 5, so I had to work to support him.  I am guilty of trying to provide for him financially, but I wish I could go back to when he was little and focus more on being just his mom and not the only person supporting our little family.

This guilt has found it's way into my mind at some many different milestones for my son.  I know I was doing what was best for him and while the guilt I feel surfaces every so often- I taught my son the importance of hard work.


When my son was a baby and even a toddler, the sound of him crying made my stomach clench and I would do anything for him not to be sad.  He fussed and I picked him up- even when it was just because he wanted to be held.  I don't believe in spoiling a baby and I wanted to protect his feelings, because he relied on me to do so.

I feel guilty for not letting him express his feelings when he was little because now he tries to keep them to himself.  He is a sweet kid and is very good natured, but I worry for the way he interprets his feelings.  He's quiet and reserved but quick with a temper- not unlike his mama.  Did I cause some emotional disconnect by not letting him cry?  No, I let him know I was there to support him and he learned that while I have been his support and will continue to be- he is able to express his feelings in a way that he may not have been able to.  He can come and talk to me about anything and everything. 



Things that I Learned
No one taught me how to be a parent and there is no instruction manual.  I did the best I could and while I wish I could go back in time, I can't.  I raised a human being to be self-reliant but not overly coddled.  I set him up for what life will be- a challenge.  While I have punished myself for mistakes I thought I made and what I felt he missed out on- he didn't. 

Compensation parenting is something we all struggle with because we have unrealistic expectations for what parenting should be such as families should always be 2 parents, mom should not work to raise the children, dad is able to work 9-5 and be home for dinner and present for all activities their child participates in.  I learned that my unreasonable expectations were just that- mine.

I have never been unavailable to him and while I struggle sometimes with the fact that he is growing so quickly- I know my son inside and out. I was there when it mattered. 




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