Wednesday’s Parent: 3 steps forward leaving regrets behind

Carrying a backpack of regrets. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Carrying a backpack of regrets. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Every time I hear the phrase, “No worries,” I get this vivid image of someone toting a heavy backpack filled with regrets and hoping for some relief. From children to parents, that someone is anyone who is second guessing an important decision.

The biggest problem with regrets is it prolongs the decision-making process way past the actual making of the decision. To mix metaphors, regrets bring anxious thoughts of greener pastures supposedly at the end of the road not taken. They exert constant pressure preventing peace of mind.

There is only one sure way to lighten the regret backpack and that’s to empty it. Here’s my three step plan to move forward leaving regrets behind:

1. Define regret Think about what really is bothering you. An example for your college-bound teen may be: Is it worry about choosing the right college to attend or not being able to excel there? For parents concerned about college costs, are you stressing about the size of the bill for one family member or the impact on the entire family’s standard of living or your future retirement plans?

2. Make peace It’s time to accept the past defined regret and deal with the emotions it elicits. Perhaps your teen is anxious because he is second guessing his chosen major or embarrassed about a lack of one. Maybe you are sad about your child leaving the nest or fretting about his/her living in a dorm. Identify your emotion, take a deep breath and release both of them, letting reason provide calm analysis.

3. Take responsibility It’s time to resume control logically. Situations are changed by choices but that generates new options. There will always be challenges and consequences and a good plan will help achieve your goals. Learn from the past, focus on your future and move on. Choosing what to do next is a combination of good decision-making skills and instincts – something parents raising college-bound teens are very familiar with and a life skill our children may practice to succeed!

Read Suzanne’s post: No Regrets


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

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