The Huffington Post posted a story written by Lee Wolf Bloom entitled, How to Become The Worst Parents In One Easy Step. In the article, Bloom shared about how she and her husband took on their sons' addictions to their smart phones. Bloom wrote, “With three boys and three little machines attached to them like the nuks they held so tightly as babies. I can no longer reach them. Their attention has been stolen by these screens. Their minds so needing the quick fix of their phones, a simple dinner conversation without a flashing screen has become torture.”
She and her husband took action and replaced their kids' smart phones with flip phones. The boys didn't take it well at first. Bloom shared, “Their worlds rocked. Their brains in detox. Watching our boys cut the umbilical cord of their phones was unlike anything I have seen in my 16 years of parenting. They cried and yelled and cried some more.”
Her children even accused them of being the worst parents. Especially when they made a rule that they had to answer when they called. Then something beautiful happened, the boys began talking to them. Not only that but they went outside to play and started sleeping better. They're considering never switching back to smart phones.
This got me thinking, what other changes can we can as parents make that might drive our kids crazy but are actually good for them? Here is a list of how to Become The Worst Parents In 15 Easy Steps.
15 No Screens At The Dinner Table
So maybe you don't want to take such extreme measures as to replace your kid's smart phone with a flip phone. One easy step you could take toward making the most of family meal time is to have no screens at the dinner table. There is nothing worse than looking up to see your child's nose glued to their device. It's insulting to attempt to talk with them only to be ignored.
While it may make them scoff at first, eventually their minds will reengage into the real world. Sitting down to eat a meal together has many benefits and your dinners will have even more meaning if everyone is plugged into each other instead of screens. This means that mom and dad should follow the same rule and put away all devices until the meal is over. Before you know it, the entire family will be more tuned in to each other.
14 Kick Them Outside
We've all had one of those days where the kids act have been cooped up in the house. You regret letting them watch 4 hours of Spongebob Squarepants when they start acting like they live in a pineapple under the sea. Perhaps you allowed them to play endless hours of video games and they suddenly seem like brainless zombies. Here is how to be the worst parent in their eyes-turn off the television, open the door, gently shove them outside, and close the door behind them.
They may plead and beg to come back inside but you should just ignore them. Eventually, when they realize that you're not bending, they'll give up and wonder off into the yard. Before you know it, they'll be happily playing in nature. Kids need fresh air and space to run and play, especially surly pre-teens who would rather stare at a screen all day.
13 Force Them To Talk
You should make it a daily habit to talk with your kiddo. Even if it's a mindless conversation about Pokemon or The Smurfs. The more you talk with your child about topics that don't seem important, the more comfortable they'll feel talking with you about the tough topics later. It's important to establish trust early on. This means that you stop what you're doing at least once a day, track down your kid, sit next to them, and force them to talk to you. Ask lots of questions and maintain eye contact the entire time.
They may act annoyed at first but deep inside, they'll love that you've shown an interest in their lives. You could even take it a step further and show them affection while you chat. Give them a sweet back rub or braid your daughter's hair. They'll relax and unleash their innermost thoughts before you know it.
12 Listen To The Music They Like
As your kids age, their interests will change. Your precious angel will go from listening to The Wiggles to listening to rap. It's important for you to know what they are ingesting into their subconscious. If it's penetrating their mind, you should be aware of it. This means taking the time to listen to what they listen to, read what they read, and watch what they watch. Not only will you be able to screen for inappropriate content but you'll be able to talk with them about their interests.
They may act bothered when you ask them to skip that one song that says that nasty word but in the end, you'll be raising a better kid. They might even enjoy listening to a playlist with you or discussing their favorite part in a book that they read. The more you know about what makes your kiddo tick, the closer the two of you can be.
11 Let Them Fail
Our natural inclination as parents is to protect our children from every hardship. We often shelter them from experiencing failure and go to absurd lengths to make them feel successful. Perhaps you've stayed up late completing your kids science project the night before it's due. Maybe you've dropped everything to deliver your kid's forgotten notebook to school so their grade won't be penalized. While it may seem like you're setting them up for success, the truth is, they will actually learn more about themselves by failing.
A child who isn't allowed to fail grows into an adult who doesn't have the ability to work through the struggles that life sends their way. So, resist the urge to jump to their aid. When a child overcomes failure they learn perseverance. You may feel like a horrible parent but it's better to comfort a disappointed child than to raise a an entitled brat.
10 Be Their Biggest Cheerleader
Kids need to feel supported so it's important for parents to be their child's biggest cheerleaders. This means, showing up for that soccer game, attending their dance recital, or being in the audience of the school play. It will do wonders for their self esteem to see you in the crowd, cheering them on. Almost every Olympic athlete attributes their success to their parents' support and dedication. They need us to show up, even if they act like they don't care.
They may seem peeved when you're the loudest family cheering in the stands but they'll secretly love the attention you're sending their way. Kids benefit from those pure moments of true success and will one day treasure that you were there to share it with them. So, grab your pom poms, make a huge sign with their names written in glitter, and scream your head off in their honor.
9 Gross Them Out
While children may gag if they see their parents kissing, being affectionate in front of your child is important. They greatest gift you can give to your kids is to show them that their parents are in love. I'm not talking about getting super frisky in front of them or anything. Just a peck now and again or sweet hug would be enough to gross any kid out. It's important to note that children learn how to navigate adult relationships by watching us. If they witness a husband and wife who are devoted to each other, they will one day be more affectionate with their future mate.
Even though they might scrunch up their faces and act like they are disgusted, they're little hearts will flutter when they see mom and dad smooch. So, pucker up. If you're totally grossing your kids out, it means that you're doing a good job.
8 Abandon The Shopping Cart
How many times have you been at the grocery store with your little ones and things just don't go your way? The baby is crying because they skipped their nap, your other kid is screaming because you won't buy them candy, and your oldest keeps sneaking items into the cart. You've threatened them, shouted at them, and are at your wits end. Sometimes the best thing to do is just gather up your children and leave the premises. I doesn't matter if the cart is full, if you're child is acting like a possessed person, abandon the shopping cart and show them that you mean business.
It's important to discipline your kids in the moment and sometimes, you have to be willing to walk away from the task at hand to teach them a lesson. They will soon learn that no amount of crying will make you buy them that candy.
7 Be Uncool
There is nothing worse than a mom or dad that tries too hard to be cool. They attempt to dress and talk like a teenager and end up looking ridiculous. An adult has no business trying to impress their children and be lenient when it comes to privileges. No one should spoil their kids just so they will like them. Kids don't need their mother or father to be another friend, they need them to be their parent. This means that sometimes parents will have to act uncool.
Even though your children may sneer at you when you enforce limits on them, they will totally respect you for it. Be the grown up. Don't throw a party and be “that mom” who gives minors alcohol. The sooner your kid learns that you're not their playmate, the better. They need stability and direction. Kids will be more well rounded if you set those limits early.
6 Just Say No
Let's go ahead and take uncool to the next level. Every parent should be willing to tell their child “no”. Otherwise, if they give in to their child's every whim, they will very quickly discover that they are raising a spoiled kid. Their child may beg, they might cry, they might even scream if they don't get their way. It's so important to teach our kiddos that they can't have everything that they want, whenever they want it. It's even more crucial for parents to stick to their guns and not give in to their child's demands once they've told them that the answer in no.
At first your child may throw a hissy fit and push the limits to see if you're serious. It won't be easy and it takes a lot of strength to not give in, but once your child learns that you mean what you say, they'll totally respect you for it.
5 Enforce A Curfew
Be one of those parents that gives their teenager a curfew. Nothing good happens after the sun goes down. Okay, everything fun happens at night but you don't want your kid out there causing trouble into the wee hours. Wait up in the living room and greet them when they walk in the door. Look them in the eye, smell their breath, and ask them about their night. If they know that someone will be accosting them when they get home, they will make better choices while they're out with their friends. If they miss their curfew and return late, give them a consequence.
They may act like they hate it when they walk in and see you in your robe, pointing at your watch. Yet, deep inside they'll be grateful that they are lucky enough to have a parent that cares enough about them to set limits and follow through.
4 Manners, Please
Do your kids a favor and teach them to use manners. They will get much farther in life if they look people in the eye when they speak. Have them shake hands when they meet new people and introduce themselves. Make them say “please” when they ask for something and “thank you” when they get it. Make your son stand out by teaching him to open the door for people. If you're in an elevator, instruct your children to let the adults exit first. They should say “excuse me” if they want to ask you a question and never interrupt a grown up.
Many parents don't make manners a priority in their home and kids are getting ruder and ruder. Your son or daughter will more than likely act annoyed when they have to call a man, “sir” and it may seem old fashioned but you will raise kids that have amazing social skills.
3 Earn Their Keep
If you really want to be a horrible parent in your child's eyes, force them to pay for half of anything they may be interested in buying. How will they pay for this? By doing chores around the house. If they are begging for a new Playstation 4, make them clean the bathroom every weekend for a month to generate their share of the cost. A weekly allowance is also a good tool for instilling a solid work ethic in your child. Give them a list of weekly chores that are age appropriate.
Kids as young as 3-years-old can do tasks such as making their bed in the morning or putting water in a pet's dish. They may huff and puff while they work but it's a good practical lesson for kids of all ages. They will learn the value of hard work and will also feel satisfied that they earned their toys.
2 Make Them Roll Their Eyes
How can you tell if you're doing the whole parenting thing right? If your kid rolls their eyes at you, it means that you're on the right track. It may seem rude or disrespectful but really, it's a clear indication that limits are being placed and they are feeling it. Sometimes parents have to make hard decisions to protect our kids. Other times we have to teach severe lessons to get our keep our kids on the right path. If they sigh heavily, slump their shoulders, and give a little stomp in protest then you've done your job.
They may act bitter and treat you like you're the most awful parent in the world, but this is yet another case where the adult has taken the reigns and is in total control of their child's well-being. Extra bonus points if you overhear your teenager complaining to their friends about how strict you are.
1 Never Stop Hugging Them
As your kid grows up, they might act like they don't need you sometimes. They may be tall and lanky creatures, but they are never too big to hug. They will continue to need love and affection from their parents, especially when they become teenagers. There will come a time when they've had a rough day at school and all that they need is their mama's embrace to make them feel better. They can be like huge puppies that don't know their own size.
They may shake you off but don't let them stop you from swooping them up in your arms and giving them a tight squeeze. Okay, maybe you should be respectful and not attempt to hug them in front of their friends. Within the walls of your home, never stop offering them a warm snuggle with mom and dad. They'll feel loved and cared for, even if they act annoyed.