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7 Things to Understand About Regret
- Raising children involves all kinds of decision-making. Some of these decisions must be made quickly; in other cases we are allowed some time. Either way, there is always felt pressure to make the “right” decision—no matter how healthy, or sick, the child.
- Anticipated regret is the fear that the “wrong” decision might be made. Understanding that difficult decisions are going to come makes the stakes seem especially high. Coping with anticipated regret requires acknowledging, early and often, that the situation is imperfect and that there may be imperfect decisions.
- The fear of making a choice can be paralyzing, and the choices may not be this or that—there may be options in between. It is important to have confidence that you are making the best decisions you can, given the information you have available. If you do not have confidence in the information you have, seek help to get what you need.
- Decisional regret is the wish that a different decision had been made. It is something experienced in retrospect, when realizing or imagining that a different outcome might have occurred with another choice.
- Decisional regret brings with it a sense of loss for what could have been.
- Some regret is almost inevitable. This is true of parenting any child. None of us get everything “right” every time. Be compassionate with yourself. Trust that you made the best decisions with the information you had available.
- The clearer your goals for your child, the better prepared you will likely be to make the critical decisions with minimal regret. Be sure to re-visit your goals from time to time, especially if there are changes in your child’s baseline.