Major Parenting Mistakes to Avoid
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but your parenting skills have been taking a wrong a turn for a very long time! Parenting is truly a difficult job but it is made more difficult by the parent themselves. As a parent, we want our child to have every happiness in the world, we want to protect them from harm, we hate to see them struggle, etc. Basically, we try to wrap them in an imaginary plastic bubble that will protect them when we are not with them. This is where we are falling short on our duties.
As a parent, our role is to be firm and set boundaries. Sadly, we fall for our children’s sneaky and under handed techniques, which allows them to get away with whatever they did or are about to do. You need to teach them the importance of struggle and allow them to explore their surroundings. By setting some ground rules at a young age, say when they learn how to walk and talk is the right time to teach them the importance of remaining in their boundaries. This goes way beyond than monitoring what you say in front of your kids. Following are five major parenting mistakes that you need to avoid:
Parenting Mistakes #1
The Over-Negotiator – Becoming a Doormat
Did your child just hit you with the puppy dog eyes, the pouty bottom lip or the sweet, innocent kiss? These are just some of the tactics that children use to get their way. These cute and adorable tactics often emerge when they want ice cream at breakfast or want to watch cartoons late at night. Often parents allow the children to discuss boundaries, rules and consequences. While, the result might sound like it is in your favor but trust us, your kid got away with it and good! This kind of behavior from your side is just like being a doormat: not doing anything while your kid walks all over you.
Solution: What you need to do is be firm and stand by your decision. Do not let their opinions or their temper tantrums sway your decision. Set the rules and always explain the reason behind the rule so that they understand what the consequences will be if they break them.
Parenting Mistakes #2
Making Idle and Unrealistic Threats
One of the biggest mistakes that a parent makes is failing to follow through with their threats. Of course, “I will break your arm if you do that again” or “You will go to bed without dinner if I catch you doing this next time” are not good threats to make. In fact, you might be making the problem worse by saying these things. This will instill fear in their mind and next time, when they are faced with a problem, they will not come to you.
Another tactic that most parents take is, “I will count till five and you better have done what I told you to do”. This will not get you anywhere. Just for kicks, your kid might not do what you asked and wait to see how you will begin the negotiations.
Solution: Make realistic threats such as:
Reduce their pocket money
Shorten their television time
Cancel their playtime with their friends
You can easily follow through on these threats, as they will teach your kid a lesson not to make the same mistake again. As for the count-till-five tactic, give them a scenario like:
“If you do not finish your vegetables, you will not get ice cream.”
Parenting Mistakes #3
Deciding Your Child’s Future – Trying to Make Them a Perfectionist
Children who haven’t yet entered their teens have a very sensitive mind. Even a little disappointment can be a start to something big like depression. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make when thinking about their child’s future is planning it ahead of time. Take a break! They haven’t yet entered their teens and you have already picked out colleges and YOUR dream profession. When children fail to stand up to your expectations, you see everything they do as a disappointment or not good enough. Even if they do live up to their expectations, the bar is set a little higher and so it continues. This vicious cycle puts the thought “why try if I can’t succeed” in their mind, which they carry into their adult life.
Solution: Try distancing yourself from your children. Get to know their interests and accept what they want to do. They will only succeed in something where their interests lie and have your support. Instead of shouting, scolding or saying ‘I told you so’, encourage them to keep working on their dreams. If you show that you believe in them, they will work harder to make you happy. All a kid wants to see is a smile on his/her parent’s face and if that happens, you have conquered half the battle.
Parenting Mistakes #4
Blaming Them for YOUR Reaction
Kids copy everything nowadays, whether they are words or actions. Often, our anger gets the best of us and we end up shouting, instead of explaining. Isn’t it funny how we expect our children to control their anger but when our moment comes, we are the same. Blaming your kid for a situation that wasn’t even in their hands is one of the worst parenting mistakes.
“Look what you did. You have ruined my day!”
Do you really think your six-year-old is responsible for the dinner burning or the car not starting? No, right? We thought so too.
Solution: First, calm yourself down and tell your kid why you are angry. Since they are watching your every move, you must show a calm front. Either politely ask them to go and play while you work out your problem or try to involve them by asking how they can help you.
Parenting Mistakes #5
Shouting, Spanking and Long-Term Punishments
By now, we are sure you have learned that these three things will get you nowhere. Shouting will make the child live in fear, spanking will make them hate you and long-term punishments will make them act out more because they have already lost their privileges. None of these will produce the results you are looking for and will lead to deep seated resentment.
Solution: As mentioned earlier, use realistic threats instead of long-term punishments. These should only last for a day. For e.g.:
No TV and early bed time
Only homework, no playtime
As for shouting and spanking, use reason and love to make them understand. If you do not praise them for what they did and tell how their actions caused trouble, they will understand what they did was wrong.
Ineffective parenting stops your child from growing in the real world. The sheltered life and coddling gives them the belief that they can never fail and when they do, the disappointment stops them from trying again. There is no perfect form of parenting. All you need to do is set the ground rules and make sure they have a structured path to follow.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options 2017.
Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.