Being a parent is one of the most complex jobs in the entire world, and that is only made more complex by the fact that there are so many conflicting dos and don’ts. And while that might be true, there are some parenting mistakes that pretty much all parenting experts agree should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t get me wrong, I do understand that no two kids are alike, so the advice given to one parent might not work for another. However, there again, there are simply some mistakes that apply to all parents and children. To put it bluntly – there are some things that, no matter how you cut it, just don’t work or will hinder or harm your child more than anything. Below, I have listed the 10 parenting mistakes that pretty much all parenting experts agree should be avoided.
1. “Do as I say, not as I do.”
While a lot of us grew up in an environment or dynamic in which our parents said one thing and did another, to do so is a grave mistake. The fact of the matter is, that kids pay attention to what we do, more so than they listen to what we say. So, if your child sees you acting in one way, while you are telling them to act in another, chances are, they are going to follow your example.
2. Constantly screaming at your kids.
It’s understandable to be frustrated as a parent, but, when you lose your temper with your child all of the time, they are going to end up absorbing those tendencies, and throwing temper tantrums. Not to mention that when you yell and scream at your kids, it can reach a point in which it becomes emotional abuse, which ultimately will make your child anxious and destroy their self-esteem. Not to mention that your child will lose respect for you for acting out.
3. Not implementing consequences.
You can make all the rules you want, and you can tell your child over and over not to do something that is considered bad behavior. However, when there are no consequences, your child isn’t going to understand. And they will continue to engage in bad behavior until you become more consistent and clear about where you stand. With that being said, consequences that involve hitting your child simply don’t work, according to research. Not only that, but they can leave scars on your child emotionally. Instead, implement common sense consequences. Like, if they draw on the wall, make them clean it up.
4. Letting technology take over.
In modern times, more and more exhausted parents are reaching for devices for a reprieve. And while from time to time that might not be too terrible (although studies are showing that tablets, computers, and other screens destroy developmental gray matter, even in small doses) when you are constantly sitting them in front of a screen, it will destroy their development and cause them to act out.
5. Project your own goals/ aspirations onto your child.
Many parents don’t get to fulfill their dreams and because of that, they push their aspirations and goals on their kids. Without ever asking their kids what they want, they decide they will be a doctor or a lawyer. And while it’s good to push your kids, it’s better to encourage them to move towards their own goals based on their talents.
6. Not expanding your child’s freedom as they get older.
As kids get older, they will reach developmental milestones and in turn, they will begin to crave more freedom. Not only do they crave it, but they need it to grow into an adult. You might be tempted to keep them under tight watch, but the fact of the matter is, that they need more freedom as they grow.
7. Being a reactive parent.
We’ve all been there: the pressure of parenting becomes so much that we are hanging on by a thread, and then, our kid launches a toy at our face. Without even thinking, you begin yelling, or you smack them. But, when you react without processing and managing your own emotions, your child will also do the same. And ultimately, that is a slippery slope. Not to mention that when you react out of anger, you are getting dangerously close to unintentionally causing emotional or physical harm. And you cannot undo that.
8. Giving into their every demand.
We all want our kids to be happy. And there’s nothing wrong with indulging their desires within reason. But, when you give your child everything they want, without ever making them wait or without using discernment, you are going to end up with an entitled brat.
9. Skimping on quality time.
We all get busy – but our children should be our top priority. No matter how busy your schedule gets, your children need time with you for their development, to bond with you, to feel secure and of course, they need love. Don’t skimp on quality time.
10. Lacking consistency.
You can do all the things: feed your kids healthy food, make sure they have good rest, and follow all of the best parenting advice, but if you are never consistent, those efforts will be for nothing. Consistency is far more important than perfection. Small children already feel powerless over their lives and the world is a scary place to them. It’s so easy for them to get overwhelmed, but when you have a consistent bedtime routine, morning routine, eating schedule, and sleeping schedule, you are taking the guesswork out of about 90% of their lives. In turn, they will feel more secure, and less anxious, and they will be less likely to fight you about the things they do every day.