Every parent should love his or her child unconditionally. We all need to pay attention to our kids, and not let situations we cannot control affect our relationship with them in some way.
It's okay and even natural to be a mother or father that is constantly telling friends and family about your child's latest achievement, and it is okay and normal to post photos of them on social media while discussing how cute and smart they are, and how you will do anything for them.
However, there are so many times when parents do something that they don't think of as a mistake. Often times, they might even think that their actions are in some way beneficial to their child, but in the long run it may not be. Here are some common mistakes parents make that they usually don't know they are making, as well as some more positive things you can do when it comes to how you raise your child.
15 Thinking Their Child is Perfect
As I said, there is no problem with showing a ton of love and pride when you are talking about or to your child. If anything, they need to see this from both parents because it lets children know that his or her parents are very proud and happy to have them.
But, this is only good to a certain extent. A huge mistake a lot of parents these days make is thinking that their children are perfect.
In fact, a study that was done a few years ago by the Center for Disease Control informed readers that a hefty 96 percent of parents in America thought their children were well behaved. Think about that next time you go in a public place and see a mother or father giving into their little one because he or she is throwing a loud fit over not getting a toy or movie they want.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be proud of your child, but also do not make the mistake of thinking he or she can do no wrong. Because if they are raised to also believe that they are perfect, it might cause them to carry that attitude into adulthood, which is never good.
14 Pushing Their Child
I am not talking about making your boy or girl do chores or take a bath when they don't want to. Instead, I am talking about something much more harmful.
Many parents see their child as an extension of themselves, and most of the time, that is normal. However this can cause some parents to force their kids into things they wanted to do as kids but never had the chance. An example of this is forcing a little boy or girl to take lessons in acting, dancing, or other things because it is something his or her parent wanted to do when they were younger.
It is fine if your child wants to do these things. That is perfectly okay. But children should not be forced to do things like this just because it was a hope or goal their parents once had. That might suck the fun out of it for the child, as well as make it seem more stressful and push them away from actually wanting to do it.
Instead, you can let your child choose what extracurricular activities he or she would like to be involved in. Then, once they have picked something, teach them how to commit to it and not give up on their hobbies just because they may have a tough time or two.
13 Forgetting They Do What We Do
Children, especially when they are very young, have brains that soak up everything around them. Think of your child's brain as a sponge, because that's much of what it is like when they are watching their parents, and other adults who are around them on a regular basis.
We are our children's heroes, mentors, teachers, etc. This is something we have to remember all of the time, and not just when it is convenient, such as when they do something great and we realize it has something to do with us. What I mean by this is that a lot of mothers and fathers do tend to forget, at times, that their little mini me's are watching closely, and learning from their every move and word.
Here is an example for you to think about: ideally, parents want their kids to know that everyone is equal. We want our children to grow up knowing that every person's life is just as valuable as the next. But then many parents will push that thought to the side next time he or she comments on how another person looks, what they do for a living, or something else along those lines.
If our children see us doing these things, then what we say about everyone being equal might go in one ear and out the other. They are more likely to do as we do than what we say, so mothers and fathers should always keep that in mind.
12 Not Trusting Their Kids Enough
Being protective of your child is natural. It just means that we care about them, and do not want them getting hurt, or to somehow stray away from the moral values we are trying to teach them.
Additionally, there are some parents who take this to the extreme. Part of the journey of parenting is knowing how to trust your child.
While it is normal to be cautious of who your child hangs out with and what they do when you are not around, constantly checking their texts, e-mails, and similar things like that can show your son or daughter that he or she is not trusted. Add to that the fact that it can also strain the parent to child relationship they share with their mothers and fathers.
Also, the journey of trusting them begins much sooner than some think. Because much of their development happens when they are in their early years, it is a good idea to start doing some trust building activities with them at this time. These include letting them go over to spend the night at a friends house, and other such events.
Parents should also do this so that their children feel that they have a little bit of freedom. This allows our children to grow as individuals, as we must remember that they are not the same people as their moms and dads, and sometimes kids have to have this freedom and trust from their parents in order to learn what real life is like outside of their homes so that when they grow up and try to live independently, they will not be totally shocked at what the world is like, and what it has to offer them.
11 The Birds and The Bees Conversation
There are many things that are important points of development for our children, and during many of these, we need to sit them down and have discussions with them about why certain things happen in life, etc. Telling children about sex, especially when they ask us how babies are born, is one of those very crucial moments, and the thing about it is that a lot of moms and dads find that the topic makes them squeamish and they let their boy or girl learn about it from television, movies, and books.
Think about it this way. Parents want to be the one whom their kid comes to when he or she wants to learn, and needs answers for something. Of course we want our children to feel comfortable enough with us to ask us these types of questions, so if their moms and dads dance around the issue and do not really answer it, or they get mad at the child out of frustration for not being able to come up with a good answer, that can make the boy or girl feel that sex is bad in some way, and they will search for answers elsewhere.
Yes, the kind of conversation can be a tough one. But in cases such as this one, it seems best to take their curiosity and use it as a teaching moment.
Perhaps it is a teaching and learning moment for both of you. You will be teaching him or her about the birds and the bees, and they will be unwittingly teaching you about how to handle other serious discussions with them in the future. It is a learning process for both of you as you grow as a parent, and they grow as an individual.
10 Not Reading To Your Kids
Parents generally have the same hopes for their kids. They hope their child will grow to become a very smart person, a great moral role model for others, and possibly someone who has a better life with more opportunities than his or her parents.
However with the advancement of technology, one of the best ways to ensure that your child will be intelligent seems to be becoming a thing of the past. Many parents today do not take the time out to read to their children, and instead they are in front of the television or computer screen more often. Also, children spend a lot of time playing on tablets and cell phones. I know that some of these things are beneficial at times, but do not let it take the place of good old fashioned reading.
Try to make sure you set aside time at least frequently to read to your little one. There are many benefits to doing this.
The plethora of benefits your child will receive from you reading to them include a stronger relationship with you, better communication skills, the basics of how to read a book, speech skills, a stronger sense of adventure, and enhanced concentration.
9 Not Enough Quality Time
Since the beginning of time, spending time with our young ones and thus teaching them the basics of life has become important. However, many moms and dads spend less time with their children due to other activities.
We are often busy with work, social activities, or college if we are trying to earn a higher degree in whatever field we choose. But something that parents must remember is that is not where their highest priority lies.
Spending time with our kids is undoubtedly one of the most important things we can do. It not only creates a stronger bond between the child and his or her mother or father (or both at the same time), but it also lets your child know that he or she is important and loved.
This is time we can use to talk with them about things they deem are important. We can also use these moments to do fun activities with our kids and learn who they are as a person.
8 Too Much Time on Your Cell Phones
Again, this is something that comes with the advancement of technology. There is nothing wrong with posting photos on Instagram, updating your Twitter followers on your life, and scrolling through tons of statuses from family and friends you may not get to see very often on Facebook.
But there does come a time when parents need to look away from their cell phone screens and pay attention to their kids. A few years ago, there was a study done by the Boston Medical Center concerning this very topic.
During the study, researchers observed fifty-five different families and they found that a staggering majority of parents immediately pulled out their cell phones when eating out with their children. As a result, the children tended to act up more.
The kids were not doing what some would call “being bad,” but rather trying to get the attention of their parents. It is a natural instinct we all have, and these kids were feeling the affects of their parents paying more attention to their cell phones than anything that was going on around them.
According to this study, parents spend an average of eleven hours a day on electronic devices. This means that for approximately eleven hours while our children are awake, we tend to neglect them in a way because we are not paying attention to them but rather our computers, phones and tablets.
7 Reading Too Many Books About Parenting
Let me just start this point off by saying that parenting books are not bad, especially if you are a first time parent, or if you and your spouse are yet to have your first child and want to know what to expect. But sometimes, it is possible to read too much of this stuff.
Parenting is a journey, just like childhood is a journey for your kid, or kids if you have more than one. Reading these books for reference is a perfectly normal thing to do.
But there is one thing none of these books will tell you. They will not tell you exactly how to parent your child specifically. In fact, a lot of what we can learn from these is based off of facts about the average child and parent, but the problem is that they are not based off of each of us specifically.
Sometimes reading a lot of these can make your expectations for how the relationship will be between you and your child completely different from what it actually turns out to be. Also, it can make you begin to ignore the natural parenting skills you may or may not instinctively have.
6 A Big Deal Out Of Little Things
Parenting is hard, there is no denying that. You are responsible for raising someone and shaping his or her life. Not to mention the fact that maybe the child you are bringing up might turn out to be a future leader of some sort.
There are many things that can become difficult when raising your son or daughter. Some of these are huge deals, such as keeping them away from potentially harmful, habit forming things and trusting that they will grow up with the morals you have spent years instilling in them. But here's the thing: not everything he or she does is that big of a deal.
Some parents spend valuable time when their kids are growing up focusing on things that will not matter in the coming years, and might even be forgotten. Things like this include your child picking out a different style of clothing than what his or her parents like, or wanting to dye their hair a certain color or mix of colors when they are old enough to do so.
In the long run, these things will not matter. Don't make such a big deal over it, because this might turn out to be waste of time later on that the parent or child may wish they could get back. Not only that, but it might also make the teenage years more stressful than they already are, and let's be honest here, life can be tough enough for a teenager, and parents who are raising them. There is no need to add to that stress.
5 Worrying About Things That Cannot Be Controlled
Let me start off by saying that worrying is a completely natural part of raising your children. Additionally, this type of thing does not simply start when they become teenagers and therefore spend more time away from home.
Parents begin to worry about their children before they are even born. They worry about things like how good of a mother or father they will be to the child, and, possibly, hope they can give this girl or boy a better childhood than they had.
Parents hope their children will be smart and successful. They also worry about a thousand other things, and that is just part of becoming a mother or father.
But here is a bit of advice that may be hard for some to do. Try not to worry so much about things that you and your child cannot control. While it is nice to have a plan in case some major problem occurs right out of nowhere, dwelling on these otherwise fictional situations that have yet to happen is no good.
Worrying about things that you cannot do anything about will not only make certain moments less enjoyable, but it will also affect life in other ways. It is known that worrying causes stress, and stress can cause a number of problems, both physically and mentally.
4 Leaving Your Children Alone in the Car
There are plenty of moments where life gets really busy and fast-paced, and sometimes we have to do things in a rush. Because of this, sometimes we leave our other priorities out. However, children should be their parent's number one priority all of the time, no matter what.
While some people leave their kids in the car because they only have one quick errand to run and will be back in a few minutes, doing this can be very dangerous. There are many reasons why this should never occur.
One of these is that the child in this situation could die of a heatstroke. A very sad thing we must realize is that every year, approximately 40 children lose their lives because they were left alone in a hot car for too long.
Even if a child is left alone in a car with the windows down or the air turned on, there are serious dangers to this as well. While the parent is gone, the child could get bored and climb out of his or her carseat (or unbuckle the seatbelt, if they are older) and decide to start playing with things in the vehicle that are not safe for them to play with, such as the steering wheel. This can be very dangerous if, for whatever reason, the keys have been left in the car.
Additionally, in this scenario, they might become trapped in their carseat. So if something were to happen that would require them needing to get out as soon as possible, he or she would be stuck.
These events are avoidable. This is definitely a mistake many parents seem to be making despite the fact that the health risks are well known.
3 Leaving Young Children at Home Alone
This subject is a slightly tricky one when it comes to a discussion about children of all ages. However, when they are very young, it seems best not to leave them at home without an adult around.
Just as there are risks with leaving a child in a hot car while the parent runs into a store or other public place, there are many risks to leaving the little ones at home alone, yet this is also something that is a fairly common occurrence. Though this is not something we see as much of on the news, parents should be aware of the dangers of it.
Leaving a young boy or girl to take care of themselves without anyone else there to watch them should never happen. One of the many things children in this situation are being put at the risk of is being kidnapped.
However, there is another great risk when it comes to a situation like this one as well. We all know that children are adventurous and there is virtually nothing we can do to tame their wild imaginations, especially when we are not with them.
If a little girl or boy is left alone in their home, they might decide to get into some things they would normally not have the chance to get ahold of. These items, whatever they might be, could be something that is dangerous to the child's health. Add to that the fact that he or she might get injured while playing.
2 Getting Upset About A Mess
Everyone who has fed a toddler or who has at least seen one being fed by their mother or father knows that sometimes the child makes a mess. Often times, the person feeding them tends to get frustrated at them.
While that is totally understandable because, as I said earlier, being a parent is hard, especially for those who are new at it, this is not something we should do. Teaching our kids what to eat and when to eat it is very important. It is part of making sure they know what is healthy and good for them, as well as knowing what is not.
If a child in this stage of childhood witnesses his or her parents getting upset at them because they made a mess, it might also make them upset, too. As a result, they will more than likely not end up eating much of the food, if any, and now the mom or dad has to calm their fussy child down.
Instead, work on teaching them dinner etiquette at a slightly later time. Use breakfast, lunch and dinner as moments to teach your children about the nutritional value of their food, and why it is important that they eat it. If they are too young to understand what you are talking about, perhaps the two of you can make a fun game out of it. After all, teaching them what is healthy to eat is much more important than pressuring them about how to eat it.
1 Arguing In Front Of The Kids
This topic is one that some have had debates over for years. But the bottom line is that our children should not see their moms and dads argue.
Sometimes when couples fight, one or both parties tend to act less mature than they usually are. When we are teaching our kids to be well behaved, perhaps this is not something they need to see either the mom or dad doing.
Something that can be very harmful to little boys and girls is witnessing moments when their two ultimate heroes, mom and dad, are not united as usual, but fighting about something. Yes, this is in our nature and it is just something that happens occasionally. But arguing causes everyone stress, whether they are involved in it or just an innocent bystander.
Stress, especially a kind that is very avoidable, is not something kids need more of in their young lives. Besides, it's hard enough growing up and trying to figure out life. Little girls and boys should not also have to worry about whether or not their parents will be fighting again anytime soon.
Additionally, arguing in front of our children might make them feel as if they have to make a hard choice. That choice is choosing whether or not they think mom is right and dad is wrong, or the other way around. Choosing sides is not something kids need to do when it comes to their parents.