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Being a parent isn’t an easy job, and with so many different sources of information on how to do it the right way, it can be confusing to know what to do and what not to do. However, even if it’s unintentional, the wrong parenting style can cause a lot of damage.

If you do want to do right by your child, it’s best to realize that sometimes, we all make mistakes, and once you realize you are making a major mistake, put it to a stop. Many of the following mistakes are things we do and don’t even realize the harm we are causing. This may be because the habit is perceived as normal, or it may be a habit that has been conditioned into you by your parents.

To guide parents in understanding and avoiding common pitfalls, “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is an invaluable resource. This book offers practical, compassionate advice for communicating effectively with children, helping parents avoid critical and disrespectful interactions while fostering strong, respectful relationships.

Regardless, the best course of action is to stop while you are ahead.

1. Disciplining your child out of anger.

When disciplining your child, it’s important to ask yourself: Am I doing this because I am trying to teach them something, or am I doing this because they have upset me? If you are disciplining out of anger, you are doing it for the wrong reasons, and you are likely to do something you will regret.

2. Comparing your child to other children, especially their siblings.

It’s never okay to compare your child to anyone else, especially their siblings. When you do so, you send the message that they are not good enough. This is horrible for their mental health and self-esteem.

3. Telling your child not to cry.

While you likely have the best intentions when you tell your child to not be upset or to not cry, to do so does far more harm than good. When you do this, you send the message that their emotions aren’t valid, which in turn, will make them anxious about having emotions. Instead, help them to cope with their difficult emotions, so they learn emotional intelligence.

4. Giving in to your child every time they want something.

It can be tempting to give your child everything they want, but to do so is going to send the wrong message. When you give your child everything they want, you are telling them they are entitled to whatever they want. It also removes the lesson of gratitude.

For those looking to strike the right balance between being too permissive and too controlling, “Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility” by Foster Cline and Jim Fay provides insightful strategies. It teaches parents how to nurture their children’s decision-making skills and responsibility without overstepping boundaries, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to avoid lazy or helicopter parenting styles.

5. Trying to be your child’s friend, rather than the parent.

Your children need a parent, not just a friend. It’s okay to be their friend too when the time is right, but for the most part, you need to stick to being their secure place. That’s your job. Everything else is just a bonus.

6. Lazy parenting tactics.

Parenting is hard, I get it. But, when you skip the important parts by sticking your kid in front of their tablet for 6 hours, while you serve them TV dinners and garbage, you are ruining them.

7. They fail to provide security.

Children are born seeking two things from their parents: security and love. They look to their parents when they are scared and need support. When you don’t provide that sense of a security blanket that your kids need, you are teaching them the world is a scary place not to be trusted. And in turn, they are going to deal with issues because of it for the rest of their life.

8. They are overly critical.

It’s one thing to try to teach your child the right way. But when you nitpick everything they do, and everything about them, you are going to give them a complex. Not only that, but it’s just plain cruel to tear your kids down all the time, so just don’t do it.

9. They disrespect their child’s boundaries.

Oftentimes, toxic parents view their child as less than because they are a child. Kids need to be allowed to have boundaries, and parents need to have limits with their kids. Constantly monitoring everything they do, especially as they get older, is disrespectful to their boundaries. Additionally, it never gives them room to grow.

In addressing the importance of emotional intelligence in parenting, “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson is a must-read. This book explores how parents can foster emotional intelligence and resilience in their children, helping them understand and cope with their emotions in a healthy way, thus avoiding the mistake of invalidating their feelings.

10. They don’t follow through.

When you threaten consequences for bad behavior, follow through. When you promise to do something for them, follow through. It’s that easy.

11. They helicopter.

Helicopter parenting is when a parent constantly stands over their children, monitoring their every move. They never let them have any time alone, and they fill their schedules with activity, after activity, leaving no room for free play, which is fundamental to their development.

12. They won’t give their child space.

Children are human beings. They need space, and time alone. Allow them that. I’m not saying to leave them alone all the time, that would be horrible. But a little bit of space and time on their own is necessary.