Parental Guilt

Many parents whose children have experienced a traumatic event are subsequently plagued by feelings of guilt. These often affect one’s own well-being as well as the well-being of the child and the family.



  • Many parents blame themselves for not preventing the traumatic event.
  • Feelings of guilt and self-blame are often accompanied by anger, worries, and irritability.
  • The persistent feelings of guilt can affect one’s own well-being, family and parenting behavior.


Parenting behavior

  • Parents who struggle with feelings of guilt are often unable to help their child to cope with the trauma.  
  • Some parents become overprotective and try to protect their child from above all, so that it’s difficult for the child to experience an everyday life again.
  • Conversely, there are also  parents who show lenient and inconsistent parental behavior management towards their child because of the feelings of guilt.  



Accept negative emotions

  • The attempt to push your feelings of guilt aside usually doesn’t work well and only causes more distress.
  • Try to accept both bad and good feelings and make room for them rather than struggling with them.


Label your thoughts

  • Remember that your thoughts do not necessarily reflect reality.
  • Try to label your thoughts for what they are – thoughts – which come and go like clouds in the sky.


Focus on the present

  • Try to think less about the things you can’t control, like the past and future, and try to focus on the present moment.
  • Try to direct your attention onto your breathing or noticing 5 things related to your 5 senses (smell, touch, hear, see, and feel).