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Parent Fail? Applaud the Effort, Don’t Damn the Outcome

Welcome to your full-time job. The hours suck, the pay stinks, the working conditions are often fraught with high pressure situations and constant demands.

Management is asked to do a lot, but the efforts are never appreciated by the customers and there’s also upper management and leadership ready to evaluate performance as well as competitors standing by and vowing, they can do it cheaper, faster, better.

Sound like a company you wouldn’t sign up to work for? Well, that’s parenting! 😂

It’s usually not that bad, but some of those aspects ring true in a few situations. And while you’re working to handle all of it, you’re also wondering if you’re even doing it right!

In these situations, you desperately want the decisions you make and the tasks you tackle to turn out well. But what if they don’t? Well, you tried, and trying should be applauded.

Parenting is the act of persistence and love in the face of daily uncertainty.

Who knows if how you approach a situation or decision is going to turn out well or not, we’re all working with the best information we have at any given time. That’s the best we can do.

When we throw ourselves at something, and the outcome is not what we’d hope for or worse, a complete disaster, as a parent, we need to stay positive. For others looking on, I have one message:

Applaud the Effort, Don’t Damn the Outcome!

Everyone knows that someone, the “Monday Morning Parent” that chimes in on a situation or decision after it’s done. Willing to let you know what you “could” have done differently and questioning the thought process behind your approach. No one needs that and it’s certainly not healthy.

A great example of this is my approach to managing my son’s behavior and stress responses. From an outsider’s perspective, perhaps the way I schedule his day, his activities, and work may appear to be inconsistent and lenient. However, I have worked for many years to get to a place where we get more done without arguments and delays.

Does it work? More often than not, but we have our unproductive days as well. However, I made the effort to find a way that works for both him and me. So, when someone questions me as to why it’s not always effective, or why I would choose this approach, I tell them, “At least I’m trying and there should be credit for that, and not just a judgement of the outcome.”

The same applies with my son in schoolwork or sports. We would love for every assignment to be an A and for every game to be multi-scoring, but trying every day and giving it his best effort should count for a lot. Not just A’s and goals.

When you applaud the effort, you provide support and encouragement to continue that behavior. If everything is based on the outcome, there’s so much pressure and judgement that comes along with it. If we’re never doing it right, or always falling short, it takes a toll. Why even try?

There’s an invisible expectation of parents to be knowledgeable, always able to coax the best out of our children, and expertly handle pretty much everything that comes their way. Based on what?

I know I wasn’t prepared for all the twists and turns of parenting and still “white-knuckle” it through some days with very few of them being similar to the one before. I think it’s what we refer to as “winging it.”

In the process of winging it, I need all the positivity and support I can get, and when the outcome is frowned upon, I like many other parents, take it personally. Like an internal deficiency or failing.

It has taken me many years to be able to shake off the feeling of missing the mark. It's sometimes true that I do, but I always go back to the effort. We’re not failing, we’re trying, every day. That’s where the value lies.

For parents, remember to…

  • Know you are doing your best, no one has perfected parenting (or anything else) yet!

  • Always make your decisions in the best interests of yourself and your children, not what works for others.

  • Show yourself a lot of grace when your efforts don’t result in the outcomes you wanted; you tried.

  • The only one(s) anything should matter to, are your kids, and they love you not matter what the outcome.

For others, help a parent out by…

  • Staying constructive with your observations; if you can’t say anything nice…

  • Be positive and support parents when they are unsure of a decision; we’ve all “been there,” and “overthought that.”

  • Let them know they are doing a good job; many parents question this every, single, day. A little support goes a long way.

  • Share your stories of uncertainty and failings with them; let them know they are not alone in questioning the decisions they make and experiencing less that satisfactory results.

Parent fails, real or imaged are part of the process. If you’re trying, you’re parenting.

If commentary on your parenting outcomes is starting to wear on you, book a complimentary call with Committed Change Health & Wellness to explore how you can learn strategies to block out the noise, and celebrate your efforts to be Better4U and Better4All!

I applaud your efforts to hit the mark every day and will never judge the outcome if you don’t.

Take care and be well,


Stressed mom has lost the keys to the car.
We give our best efforts but sometimes come up short. Before judging, give credit to the effort being made, not just our disappointment in the outcome.


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