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There is no such thing as a perfect person, let alone a perfect parent. However, while perfection isn’t possible, it’s still a good practice to strive to do as good as you can, and that means being able to recognize when what you are doing isn’t correct.

Every one of us will make mistakes as a parent, it’s inevitable. So, if you find anything below that you are doing or have done, go easy on yourself. The thing is, if you notice that something you are doing isn’t the best practice, you can always do better. It’s never too late to work on your parenting skills and do a better job for your children. And, the best way to avoid making a major mistake is to know what the most common mistakes are, so you can avoid them at all costs.

Below, I have listed the top 9 mistakes parents make.

1. Inconsistent behavior.

You can do everything right, but if you aren’t consistent, your efforts won’t matter. At the end of the day, consistency is what establishes and places your child in a routine. If you are constantly changing things, your kids will only be confused and unsure of how to react to different situations.

2. Having unrealistic expectations.

While it’s great to have big goals for your child, when you set the bar too high, your child is going to be left wondering why they cannot reach the expectations held for them. Eventually, they are going to have confidence issues and low self-esteem, because when it comes down to it, perfection isn’t possible.

3. Refusing to adapt.

Every child and situation will be different and there will be circumstances in which you will need to adapt. For example, if something is not working in your parenting routine, yet you continue to do it anyway, you are never going to move past this block. It’s better to be somewhat flexible, within reason.

4. Not establishing rules.

If you grew up in a strict household, you might be tempted to have a more carefree approach. But, when you do this and your household lacks boundaries and rules, you are doing a disservice to your child. There are rules and boundaries in the real world, and at the end of the day, your child will eventually enter into that world. Do you want them to be equipped to handle it- or do you want them dependent on you? A lack of rules tends to result in the latter, and has also been linked to higher rates of criminality.

5. Establishing too hard of rules.

Conversely, being too hard on your kids can also reap the wrong results. Balance is often key in various aspects of life, and it is especially key here. Establish rules and boundaries that your child is realistically capable of. For example, if you have a one-year-old, it’s highly unlikely that they will be able to clear their plate from the table. Expecting them to do so would be an unrealistic expectation and too hard of a rule. Be practical in what you expect and if you are confused, check out the developmental milestones/ timelines of what is typically expected of their age group.

6. Constantly hovering.

Helicopter parenting is becoming increasingly common and is what happens when a parent is constantly hovering over their child, watching their every move and allowing them no independence. This can seem like it is an innocent enough tactic, but according to studies, this not only robs your child of their autonomy (making them dependent on you for life) but it also makes them far more likely to have anxiety later on and to struggle with decisions and problem-solving.

7. Constantly criticizing.

It is one thing to give constructive criticism when it’s necessary, and something else entirely to constantly nitpick your child’s every move. When you are always nit-picking them, they are going to end up extremely self-conscious and anxious.

8. Fighting back.

Please note that I don’t mean physically fighting back, although that is a parenting mistake, but a very obvious one. What I am talking about is when you are constantly arguing back with your kids. When you do this, you are placing them in a position of power by allowing them to trigger your emotions. Instead of fighting back, use other more effective discipline strategies like natural consequences.

9. Refusal to lead by example.

You can tell your child to behave in a certain way or to not behave in a certain way until you are blue in the face, but until you practice what you preach, your efforts will be for naught. Our kids are exposed to us more than anyone, so the actions we take, the way we treat others, the way we treat our kids, and the way we treat ourselves matter. They make unconscious notes all the time about our behavior, and eventually, they will unintentionally mimic a lot of those behaviors. It’s our job to set them up for success by working on ourselves.