People have of course always failed to live up to norms, but when the norms are abandoned what is there left?
Now we have “courageous” parents admitting they shouldn’t have gotten into parenting. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/11/breaking-taboo-parents-who-regret-having-children.
This is of course not new. Admitting it in appropriate places can be healthy. Would you EVER tell your child you regretted bringing them into the world?
We’ve always had bad parents but the whole frame has changed. We have empowered emotional moments to become “the words of the gods” and then rushed into them imagining that heaven will surely follow. What we discover is what humanity has always discovered. Life is hard. We stumble and sometimes fall. People get hurt.
We keep laying over it an imaginative expectation that somehow if something in a moment “feels right” then it will always be “alright”. What folly!
How many moments haven’t you had that “felt right” only later to realize that feelings are simply like this.
Life offers you no “get out of regret free card”.
What happens when parenting becomes an “impulse purchase”?
For much of human history parenting was not a choice. It was a consequence of sexual action, planned, unplanned, welcomed or unwelcomed.
Being an adult means doing what others need, especially your kids, even when it’s hard. Parents fail regularly but it seem our culture simply wants to throw imagined “free passes” all around. It doesn’t work that way with kids, however.
If you divinize feelings what do you tell the kid who is flooded with appropriate feelings of terror or pain because of an supposed adult’s impulse decision? That feeling god is a cruel master.
I’m sure many, many parents have had regrets. I’m not one of them. I don’t regret for a moment any of my 5 children.
Neither should you feel guilty about feeling regret. It’s just a feeling.
Adults face regrets and learn to act and say appropriate things when called upon and figure out when and where words help instead of hurt.
Feelings are good but often complicated companions. Do not make them your master.
Children are so often the victims. As Pat Benatar sang “hell is for children”.