As much as we strive to be awesome parents, mistakes can happen even with the best of intentions. The good news is, raising a child is a continuous learning experience and you can keep getting better. Here are 10 most common parenting mistakes made (myself included), and tips on how you can avoid them.
1. Freaking Out When Your Baby Cries
Many parents associate crying with the child being in pain or if something is wrong. In most cases, it’s not true. So remain calm. Caress him, speak gently to him, and give him a cuddle. If your child is inconsolable, has a fever, swollen belly, or vomiting, call your pediatrician.
2. Teaching Your Kids Unhealthy Competition
Instilling a “win at all costs” attitude teaches kids to focus only on the prize, instead of appreciating hard work and growth. So praise your child’s effort (e.g. practicing daily, studying diligently) and encourage him to acknowledge his competitors’ hard work as well. Teach them to win and lose graciously.
3. Teaching Your Child to Measure Their Self Worth Based on Other People’s Standards
“What would the neighbors think?” “Wouldn’t you want to play baseball like your friend Tom instead?” These may sound harmless, but it teaches your child to live in fear of judgment and make choices based on the opinions of others. We were all born to live, learn, and grow into the best version of OURSELVES… not what someone else is comfortable with. Allow your child to be the author of his own life story.
4. Half Listening
Avoid communicating while your eyes are fixed to your texts or with grunts while you watch TV. If you are unable to give your undivided attention, let your child know by saying, “I’d love to hear EVERYTHING you have to say, so let me finish this up and I’ll be able to give you all of my attention!”
5. Rescuing Your Child
It’s important we do not immediately rescue our child when they’re faced with a challenge. Yes, offer advice, but let them know you have confidence in them to figure things out. This will encourage them to problem solve and build stress coping skills!
6. Not Saying “No”
Teaching rules and boundaries is necessary for a child’s growth. They may pout and cry, but constantly saying “Yes” will encourage them to grow into spoiled, entitled adults. Standing by your “Nos” is a great lesson in respect, as well as respecting other people’s boundaries.
7. Being Inconsistent
Being strict at times, but showing you don’t really care about those same things at others, will confuse kids. Be consistent and stick to the rules and practices that were set. This will give kids a sense of security and help build confidence.
8. Downplaying Your Child’s Feelings
Discounting your child’s feelings when she’s upset by saying “don’t be mad” or “you shouldn’t feel that way” teaches her not to trust her feelings. Instead, encourage her to accept both positive and negative emotions as normal. This will help her respond to her feelings in a confident and healthier manner.
9. Raising the Child We Want Instead of the Child We Have
It’s important to accept our children as their own person. Sure, it’s natural to have hopes and dreams for our kids, but we don’t get to design them. Encourage your child to discover their strengths and interests and support their growth! You’ll be surprised at how well kids design themselves!
10. Disregarding Your Incredible Power to Teach by Example
Do you tell your kids to be kind to others while you speak ill of your neighbor over the phone to your friends? Children learn best by example! So consistently practice healthy habits and maintain the values you want to instill in your child.