As parents, we don’t start out wanting to make mistakes. No matter how conscious a parent may be, they’re bound to make mistakes here and there.
While parenting is a personal journey, there are certain behaviours we should try to avoid. Here are 9 mistakes to avoid as parents. If you happen to identify with any of the following, don’t be hard on yourself. The most important takeaway here, is that we need to continue learning and modestly improving where we can.
Living vicariously through our kids
We all genuinely want our kids to succeed, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when our children become an extension of ourselves and we use them to rewrite our own lives, that can be problematic. Parents forcing our kids to choose a particular career path to fulfill their selfish desires is a textbook example of this.
We micro manage our kids because we want to get things done quicker or perfectly. But it’s significant to remember the long-term goal, which is raising independent and confident adults. And if we insist on doing every single thing for our kids, we are merely crippling them. Our key role is to guide and give them the tools they require to go off independently.
Not enough quality time
Our children naturally need to be seen and heard, just like we do. Yes, we are not perfect, and sometimes we get too absorbed in our work, miss important events and spend too much time on our phones. Let’s be intentional about spending quality one-on-one time with our kids as often as we can.
If you bully your child, they will do the same to other kids. And by bullying, I mean threatening them, sometimes with physical violence. You are essentially using your power to threaten an innocent child. This can cause emotional harm and may also lead to low self-esteem. We don’t have to use violence to gain respect.
Not modeling the right behaviour
Children would rather mimic what we do rather than what we say. It’s simple, really, but I know it’s not easy. If you constantly raise your voice to get your point across at home, chances are your kids will do the same thing. We need to model the kind of behavior we want to see from our kids.
Saying things like “you’re naughty” or “you’re a bad child changes the way children perceive themselves. And if they begin to view themselves as bad, they’re more likely to misbehave. Instead, tell your child that they’ve made a poor choice. Our kids need to know that they’re still good kids, even if they sometimes make bad choices.
Instead of only complaining about what your child is doing wrong, spend more time talking about their positive traits. Such as,” I noticed how kind you were to your sister yesterday.” “Well done for doing your chores without being told. That was very responsible of you.” Praise and be specific.
Lack of physical contact
Simple and effective. Hugs or any other form of physical affection release oxytocin, which helps calm a child and make them feel safe.
Not validating their feelings
When our kids express their emotions, we’re very quick to tell them how they should be feeling. “stop crying,” “don’t be sad.” If we continue to discourage our kids from expressing their emotions, they will eventually stop. We need to allow our kids to cry if they need to cry and work through their emotions by validating their feelings.
We can’t be perfect parents, but there’s always room for improvement. Commit today to do your best to avoid the most common parenting mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to being a better parent. What are you committing to stop doing to be a better parent? Please comment below
Photography: Elsie B Photography