Self-Doubt and Parenting

Being a parent is the most important role a person can fulfil. Whatever the age of your child you can be presented with new and challenging situations, which can leave you feeling that you don’t know what to do! We’ve all been there, us parents are constantly learning along with our children. Sometimes it feels like day one on the job.

The fact is that no one really has all the answers. There is no secret handbook to your individual child. Don’t let this information send you to despair because there is no one to tell you what is right or wrong. I have news that will bring a smile with its realisation. Sometimes we get so caught up with what we should be doing, what others will be thinking that we should do. What other parents would do.

We loose focus of the situation, forget to just look closer and think about what we would do as the parent we are and want to be. If we could clear all the negativity that we have put into our heads, worrying about what-if’s, and what others think, we could much easier look at what we were needing to, and be happier to think about what we want for us and our child.

Do we want to move from discomfort or love? Do we want to limit our children or help them? I’m going to let you know something about making these decisions that you can call upon when you are getting the ‘I don’t know what to do’ feeling. The secret is that you can’t go wrong! I know I know I can hear you saying ‘yea  right Lis so I can do whatever I want because it can’t be wrong?’ well I mean it.


You know your child better than anyone else and you want what’s best for them. So any decisions you make cannot be wrong as long as they come from this basis, how could you go wrong? If your moving from love? This doesn’t mean that things will always work out the way you hope, or go according to plan. If you’re always moving from love and wanting the best for your children, then you’re doing your best. Did you hear that, that is the best you can do and be and how lucky is any child to receive this gift from their parent.


Doing your best doesn’t mean you are always right and if it’s your best then that’s more than ok. None of us are perfect not us parents or our children. We’re all just living, learning, and loving together. Doing our best. Here is a time where I had the ‘I don’t know what to do’ feeling and how I went through the thoughts of others perceptions of my parenting. How I came to move from my love and in the end got a lesson from my child.

B started judo as soon as she turned 4. She has always loved it and been good at it. She currently has two medals from competitions that she has entered. She had progressed enough to move to the next stage mat. It is a little faster, they learn more and she was more than ready. The only change that would leave her out of her comfort zone was the instructor. B has been used to female instructors so far. She is never backwards with people but the male instructor has a loud voice. Having a larger group he needs to utilise this to do his teaching.

B did try the new mat with him one day and it happened that he mistook her for different girl and (in her words) ‘told her off’. She became so upset she came off the mat and wouldn’t return. Once he realised she was new he tried to reassure her, but she was having none of it. This is when she made a belief that if she went on the mat, the instructor would shout at her again. This gave her feelings of fear and panic and actions of crying (very loudly) to stop herself having to go on.

I could see her belief system working, making me able to understand her actions. She made this belief a while ago now, and it has stopped her going on to the older mat. It has stopped her taking part in a competition, which she would usually love and in the end it began to stop her joining in any judo.

It was such a shame, she had built her belief up and consequently the fear she felt grew too. One day as I took her to judo on her usual mat she refused to go on, it was even stopping her with her usual class. The more I tried to talk to her about it the more she cried. She refused to stop crying. She then escalated to really, really loud crying, saying she didn’t want to do judo.

What is a mom to do? Enter my ‘I don’t know what to do’ feeling, here I was with a small child crying her heart out saying she didn’t want to do it. I could see all the faces looking. I wondered to myself, had I turned into one of them moms. A mom who lives through her child, who makes her child do activities they don’t want to do, who is uncaring to their wants or fears. It must have seemed that way for the people around me.

But I knew what was happening, she didn’t not like judo, inside she still loved it as much as she always has. I have always loved to watch her on the judo mat, no matter what kind of a day she had, she would always transform on the mat. She would fly, her face would beam and she was amazing to see. She has always had that transformation up until the incident.

Was I a mean mom making her do something she clearly didn’t want to do? No because I was doing this to help her. I was doing this from a loving place. That’s why I knew I wasn’t going to take her home so I didn’t feel bad. I couldn’t just allow her to throw it all away, for the fear of one belief. I knew that once she faced this she would find out it was ok and nothing would stop her. Even if it looked to be mean I was doing my best, loving her and wanting the best for her. This erased my negative feelings and thoughts.

She sure can cry this girl and wasn’t giving in easily. Again I wondered if I was horrid by not giving in to her fears or ignoring my babies cries? Again I acknowledged my decision was one to help us both. If I gave in to this crying she would learn that she could use crying to get her way in the future. That wouldn’t benefit her or me in the long term.

Also I know that she could get passed this belief, well the wall she had built with it that was blocking her from doing and enjoying judo. This was my way of showing my belief in her. She could do it. So although I had all eyes on me and B as the judo kids began to line up I knew I had to get her on the mat. Although I didn’t quite know how.

The session began and the participants ran around the mat as part of the warm up. B sat with me, repeating that she didn’t want to go on with them, wouldn’t go on. It was quite frustrating even though I could understand her I also knew she’d love it if she joined in. So I’m sorry to say my first efforts  using my discomfort from feeling incompetent. I began to assign consequence’s for her crying and not joining in. Of course it made no effect other than increasing the volume of her crying. Great.

So I refocused, what did I want? To help her from a loving place, so I put my arm around her. I helped her calm herself down and we took the focus off it. We looked at them doing their warm up. We guessed how many people were on the mat, she calmed down. I tried reasoning that there was only one girl on the mat and she would be left without a partner without her, didn’t work she was not budging.

The female instructor came and had a try. Nope, this led to more crying. I accepted that she may not be going on the mat that evening. I was not going to manually put her there and I could find no way to motivate her to want to go on. We sat and watched for a while, B went to pay the lady for my cup of tea and when she came back she had remembered something about this venue. That after judo finishes the lady puts out sweets to buy. She had found her own motivation! She reasoned that if she went on and tried her best could she have sweets after- deal!

In that moment she had changed from refusing to think about going on to wanting to, for herself. Not for me, the instructor or from the threat of consequence. She changed in an instant, freely lifting the head that had moments earlier seemed so heavy. She changed her tone of voice from mopey to engaged and present. She excitedly wriggled out of her slippers to join her usual instructor and partner the other little girl.

I sat and watched her and her partner doing throws, holds, and of course cartwheels, while giggling. B was enjoying it, loving it, like I knew she did. When she came off the mat she was very proud of herself. I asked her as I drove home if I was mean for making her go or was I trying to help? She knew. She had broken the wall of fear and was now looking forward to her next judo class and even offered to try the next stage mat! It couldn’t have happened had I taken her home in the beginning to ease both her and my discomfort.

Please feel free to email if you feel like this, I will reply to each one. I am keen to hear about your thoughts on the subject and your experiences of feeling like a trainee mommy or daddy. The situations that led to it and what happened?

Scroll to Top