Once you are a parent, the whole world starts advising you about parenting. Everyone you meet are full of suggestions and tips for raising your child correctly. You listen to everything, nod politely as much as patience lets you and finally take a call on your parenting approach entirely based on what suits you, the baby and rest of your family. But of course, you are but human. There are numerous things you might be doing wrong but do not realize it as wrong. While people are keen to tell you what to do, not many are great at telling you what not to do. So here is a list of 10 parenting mistakes and suggestions to rectify them.
Top 10 Parenting Mistakes – And Their Solutions
Being too child-centered: We love them. They love us loving them. We revolve our lives around them. We prioritize their needs over ours. All this is good. But some of us take this to a whole different level by getting overtly involved and invested in the child’s future, so much so that we start seeing the child’s successes and failures as our own. Soon it becomes more about us than the kids. Even if we do not go to this extreme, when you are too child-centered, you are more likely to raise a selfish child. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: Love them, but do not worship them. They are extremely cute, but they are not, and should not be treated as, the center of the universe. Nurture them in a way that promotes selflessness, not selfishness. Do not overprotect and pamper
Spanking and insulting: This is the other extreme. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is disrespecting the child through insults and punishing them by hitting. Both these have numerous consequences, but top of the list is your child growing up with inferiority complex. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: Read about how to discipline the kids without spanking here And read about the long-term impact of insulting your kids and ways to correct them without hurting them emotionally here: Insulting Children – The Worst Parenting Technique
Trying to be their BFF: What is wrong with this? This might be your first question. All of us want our children to love us. All of us want to position ourselves as this friendly, cool, approachable parent with whom the kids share everything. Nothing wrong with this. But when you try hard against your child’s wishes and force him to make you their best friend, that’s is when things go wrong. Or in other cases, you must have been your child’s best friend till he hit his high school. Things change and there are more people in your child’s lives and some of them are, God forbid, fast becoming his best friends. Time for you to act possessive and cut down his play time? Think again! Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: For starters, do not be desperate to be their friend. You are more likely to give into unreasonable requests when you are obsessed about acting cool. Parents need to be parents – you have to be assertive and stern when you have to. Do not seek their approval. Also give them space. Do not let the need to be loved obliterate your love
Being too competitive: All of us are competitive by nature. And consequently, many of us do the mistake of comparing our child, his successes and failures with his peers. We also compare our efforts with that of our counterparts. And whenever we get a chance, we try to outdo them. We also tend to pressurize our children to study like ABC who is topper in class, participate in competitions like XYZ who is super talented and be more active in sports like MNP who is an athlete. This puts undue pressure on your child and might result in him failing rather succeeding. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: First up, don’t beat yourselves. You are not a bad person. You are just afraid, afraid that your child will be left behind. Children need to work hard, no doubt. But do not tell them to win at all costs, which will make them think that it is okay to throw someone under bus as long as it gets them to move forward
Not leading by example: Actions speak louder than words. Are you asking your child to eat their greens while you don’t? Do you asking your child to not watch TV in the morning, but you do? Are you telling him not to shout while you raise your voice every time you are angry? If you are not doing something, you can expect your little one to follow suit because parents are kids’ first role models. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: Never too late to walk the talk. Every time you or your spouse do something right (and we hope that this happens often), point it out and applaud the action. Your child is watching you closely and emulating your behavior. So be aware of how you behave, how you treat your family and friends and how you talk about people whom you hate
Worrying too much: Some parents panic over anything and everything, starting from spitting up during infancy to every fall during toddler days to every exam during adolescence. From a very small age, the child has the ability to pick up your anxiety and reflect on it. As they grow older, your constant fuss over them can either make them grow in an over-protected environment or make them want to break the shackles and do exactly those things that worry you. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: Relax. Engage yourselves in various calming techniques including meditation. Educate yourself about what warrants worry and what doesn’t. Be positive
Expecting too much from them: We all know this. There are so many real life and reel life examples that show how a child’s short-term and long-term life can be destroyed if parents expect too much from them. Many of us raise the child we want and not the child we have. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: Do not force-fit your child into your expectations. Your child is not wired the same way as you. He will have different skillsets, different aspirations and different ambitions. Be supportive of what they want to do. Always remember that this is not about you but about them
Not allowing them to explore: This is an extension of being overprotective and worrying too much. If you are a control freak, then you do not let your child to be curious and exploratory. You are constantly worried about them hurting themselves. This is curbing your child’s creativity literally at its bud. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: A child learns tons through exploring the world around him himself. Child proof your house. Follow your child at a distance – long enough to let him be, and short enough to rush to him if he needs you. Provide safe environment (sand pits, baby pools) for him to play with and learn
Not shaping their eating habits well: Despite our good intentions, we make multiple mistakes when it comes to teaching our kids healthy eating habits. These include applying too much pressure, bribing, giving up on new foods too soon and overdoing juices and snacks. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: There are quite a lot you can and need to do in nutrition that cannot be covered in the scope of this article. Educate yourself on good eating habits and try to follow them as much as you can. But the important point here is to not overtly worry yourself
Not thinking long-term: Most of us take parenting one day at a time. This makes us very myopic. We are worried about not letting the toddler shout in the market, so we immediately comply with his demands. We are scared about our children’s hunger so we feed them any junk they ask for. We are not thinking of the long term well-being of our child when we are always thinking of managing the crisis at hand. Guilty! Here’s how to avoid this: Whenever you are tempted to make a temporary solution, pause and ask yourself if is sustainable. Think about what the long term consequence of your and your child’s actions. Read about other parents’ actions in similar situations. Think if you are encouraging bad behavior with your actions
This list, unfortunately, is only tip of the iceberg. There are countless other parenting mistakes like neglecting your child, fighting with your spouse/family member in front of your child, being biased with one child over the other, making unrealistic threat and finally replying on untrustworthy sources for parenting advice (another reason why you should bookmark www.beingtheparent.com?) While you can’t get everything right, try to make fewer mistakes!