Skip to main content

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, and we all make mistakes. The thing is, though, is that if we are informed by the mistakes of others and use them to learn and evolve as a parent, we can make the best possible choices for our little ones.

A lot of parenting mistakes are innocent enough on the surface. Either it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, or we are simply repeating the mistakes of our parents. Regardless, once you understand why you should avoid certain mistakes, it will be easier to avoid them altogether. Below, I will cover 10 major parenting mistakes that should be avoided.

1. Giving into their every desire.

When you have kids, it can be hard to say no to them sometimes. Not only because you don’t want to disappoint them, but also because it can add more stress to you than it feels worth. However, when you give your child everything they want, and never limit them or delay their gratification, they are going to develop a sense of entitlement.

2. Not being consistent.

Another major mistake parents make is a lack of consistency. They change the rules on a case-by-case basis, never follow through with implementing consequences, and they never stand by their word. Unfortunately, when you lack consistency, you are making it that much harder on yourself, because your kids won’t listen to you or learn discipline.

3. Failing to pay attention.

Life gets chaotic and busy, but no matter how busy life gets, you need to carve out time for your little ones. When you are with them, listen to them and interact with them. Make eye contact with them and smile. Your kids need to have a bond with you, and that requires you to be fully present with them.

4. Using a screen to babysit.

It’s become commonplace for kids to have a phone in their hands nearly constantly. Most parents dismiss all concerns with, “It’s fine, everyone else is doing it and they are fine.” However, that isn’t true. Too much screen time increases depression, and anxiety, and can cause ADHD symptoms to arise in otherwise neurotypical children. While it might not seem like a big deal, we are amid a mental health crisis in our world right now, and I have to wonder if excessive smartphone use plays a major role.

5. Comparing them to others.

I grew up frequently hearing things like, “You should be more like ___________,” (insert a million different reasons here.) According to various studies, when you compare a child to others, you risk damaging their self-esteem. While it might sound like an innocent remark to you, to them, what they hear is that they are not enough, or that they are unworthy.

6. Being too critical.

Kids take things very seriously that we say and internalize them. It’s okay to offer constructive criticism to your child, but it is not okay to constantly tear them down bit by bit. They will end up with extreme anxiety and depression, or even worse if you constantly criticize them. Even if that didn’t happen, though, it doesn’t feel good to be ridiculed and criticized, so have some empathy.

7. Having unrealistic expectations.

I often notice people talk to toddlers like they are old enough and developmentally capable of the same things as grown up. However, they are not, so expecting a 2-year-old to sit still in one place for hours is a bit unrealistic. So, adjust your expectations according to their age.

8. Not implementing limits.

A lot of parents believe they are doing their children a favor by allowing them to do pretty much whatever they want. If you want to raise someone responsible, disciplined, and has integrity, you need to give them limits. I’m not saying that you need to be extremely strict- but there should at least be limits in place to protect your child and help them to grow.

9. Fighting back.

When your child begins yelling at you, arguing, and defying you, it can be hard to not get upset or take it personally. The thing is, though, when you do this, you are putting yourself on a level that is going to set a precedent with your child that they can treat you with disrespect. Remember, you are an adult, so it’s your job to manage your emotions. If you don’t, then don’t expect your child to.

10. Not leading by example.

You can tell your child to do whatever you want them to, but if you don’t do what it is that you are expecting of them, it isn’t likely they will either. Kids watch what we do far more than they listen to what we say.