Confession Is Good for the Overindulgent Parent’s Soul

Parents make errors. Forgiving yourself can promote positive parenting changes.

Posted Jan 01, 2019

It is a tradition at the start of every New Year for people to make resolutions. I, on the other hand, am more inclined to make a confession and receive absolution. You see, this is a very familiar ritual because my father was a Lutheran pastor. Each Sunday he led the congregation through the Lutheran liturgy; confession and absolution were part of that process. As the saying goes, “Confession is good for the soul.”

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung also thought confession had merit. “For Jung, confession would be seen as a way of expressing our innate and indeed universal tendencies for spirituality, a tendency that is both normal as well as healthy.

Source: faustlawmarketing/Morguefile

                   The Overindulgent Parent’s Confession

Sometimes I wish I could wave my magic wand and change our entire overindulgent culture.

The problem is I don’t have a wand, and even if I did – the scope of the problem is too huge.

Instead, I have to remind myself that the only one I can change is me.

I haven’t been a perfect parent. I sometimes make mistakes. I forgive myself for those errors, and wipe the slate clean so that I may do better.

In doing better, I can set standards and expectations for my children. I can hold my children accountable.

I am capable of saying “NO” when I need to. It is OK for me to set reasonable rules and expect my children to follow them.

I realize that experiencing unpleasant consequences, following rules they may not want to follow, and not getting what they want all of the time, are very important experiences that help children grow up to be healthy and responsible adults.

I am a capable parent!

Being a parent today, trying to raise children to be responsible and respectful is a very difficult job. If this confession rings true for you, I encourage you to read it often. Say it out loud so you hear yourself saying the words. Print it out and post it in a prominent place so that you see it every day.

I believe that confession is good for the overindulgent parent’s soul.

Please return to "The Age of Overindulgence". My next blog is titled "All They Want To Be Is Rich, Famous And Look Good!". It talks about children who value wealth, fame and image, faces the risks of anxiety and depression.

© 2019 David J. Bredehoft


Nacci, R. (2013). Freud and Jung on the religious practice of confession in the catholic tradition. Retrieved from

Todd, E. (1985). The value of confession and forgiveness according to Jung. Journal of Religion and Health24(1), 39-48.

Worthen, V. (1974). Psychotherapy and catholic confession. Journal of Religion and Health13(4), 275-284.