Ask Honey: How Do I Help My Older Children Understand My Past Decisions?

Dear Honey, I have been reading a lot of information on "parenting" sites since getting connected to the web, and it is helping me with all of the guilt I have at the way I raised my 2 older children. They are now 11 and 13, and I did not show them much love when they were younger (I didn't know how as I was raised in an unemotional family). Now that they are older, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make up for my inadequacies and to help them understand that I only acted the way I did because I didn't know any better. I also have a 4-year-old and probably went "over the top" with her trying to compensate - the trouble is Sara and Josh notice and are full of resentment. I am trying, and every day is easier than the one before, but it's an uphill struggle. Through your site, though, I am learning, and I thank you.

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Dear Guilt-Ridden Mom,

Most mothers feel they should have and could have done things differently. You must remember there are two sides to every coin. In this case it is discussion followed with action. I applaud your positive action with your older children through “discussion.” Your must ask yourself: are you showing your affection through “action.” Are you giving them extra hugs and kisses or taking them, for example, to the dairy queen to “share” the experience of licking delicious ice cream cones with mom? If you are doing both, continue what you are doing and you will eventually succeed. If not “remember there are two sides to every coin.”

- Honey