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  • Writer's pictureInterval Health

Reframing “Failure” As A Parent

No parent does everything perfectly. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll have bumps in the road. And, yes – some parents do “fail.”

But, it’s important to know the difference between failure as a parent and challenges that can end up being learning experiences. Many think not being able to get their baby to sleep when they think they should is a failure. Others feel that feeding challenges are failures. And still others find the struggle to balance multiple roles well feels like a failure. I am here today to challenge the notion that these examples are failures. Because I firmly believe they are not. I believe they are new experiences from which new parents learn more about their selves and about their new baby.

Making mistakes or having troubles throughout your child’s life doesn’t make you a failure. Learning from those challenges actually makes you a great parent. If you’re struggling with thoughts of failure, it’s time to reframe the way you see things – for your benefit, and for the benefit of your child.

Experiencing Overwhelming Challenges

Challenges can start immediately when you’re a parent. From the moment you bring your newborn home, your ideas and expectations of a peaceful, easy experience can get thrown out the window.

Not every little one sleeps through the night, but some little ones seem to have more of a struggle getting to (and staying) asleep than others. That can easily make you feel like you’re doing something wrong. Plus, when you’re exhausted, it’s easier to let stress and anxiety take control of your thoughts.

Some parents have trouble feeding their babies. If you choose to breastfeed, it can be devastating when your child has trouble latching on or you’re not producing enough milk. That often feels like a personal failure, rather than a common challenge.

You might even think you’re a failure if your child isn’t reaching developmental milestones when they’re expected to. Getting caught up in standards and averages is enough to make any parent feel like they aren’t doing enough for their child, or that it’s somehow “their fault” if certain milestones aren’t being met at specific times.

Does any of that sound familiar? If you’ve been struggling with some of these challenges, you’re certainly not alone. However, it’s also time to reframe the way you see those struggles.

Learning From Moments of “Failure”

Although there’s plenty of information available regarding everything you should do as a parent, it’s all based on studies, research, and averages. Those resources can be used as guidelines, but they don’t take into account that every child is different.

If your child isn’t sleeping through the night when they’re “supposed to,” for example, you might think you’re doing something wrong. But, they may simply need a different sleep routine or something else that will help them fall asleep faster. That’s something you’ll learn on your own through an intuitive nature.

If your child isn’t latching properly, you might learn a few tricks and techniques to make it easier. That will be done through everyday practice and experience.

Even if your little one isn’t meeting milestones “on time,” you might notice that they need to learn things using a different approach.

Noticing a pattern?

Building a Better Response

How you respond to “failure” is what makes a difference. No matter what challenges you’re facing with your child, using them as learning experiences will benefit you both. Some of the biggest success stories in the world come from failures they learned from, so they were able to figure out different ways of doing things.

Without failure, we wouldn’t have things like Walt Disney World or Apple devices.

The people behind those endeavors didn’t accept that their setbacks were failures. Rather, they looked at those challenges as things they could learn from and grow. The same applies to any challenges you’re experiencing with your little one.

If you’re worried about failure, as a parent, chances are you’re already doing a better job than you think! Take a deep breath, consider the challenges you’re facing, and determine how you can learn from them, rather than how they might derail your efforts and bring you down.


Feelings of failure often creep in as a parent. Therapy can help you look at your situation differently and re-evaluate the thoughts and feelings that are bringing you down.

I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. Schedule yours in a couple of clicks!

To learn more about how online counseling can help you better cope, please click here.


Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum

periods and those coping with grief or loss

issues surrounding pregnancy.


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