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On one hand the word "mistake" may be too harsh. Every child is different and only you really know if your offspring is happy and flourishing. Therefore, who is to say what a parenting mistake is and is not?
On the other hand, "mistake" may not be harsh enough. Raising a child is the most important job in the world and if you err as a parent, the word "mistake" may not fully convey the seriousness of the situation.
Chances are though you're not making any of the ten mistakes listed below. Maybe you're close on one or two, but nothing to really worry yourself about. So use this list as a reminder of what not to do as a parent. In our busy lives we often fail to slow down and examine what's going on around us. This list is a great place start when you want to reflect on how you're raising your child.
However, if you realize you're making many of these mistakes it's probably time to sit down with your spouse and reevaluate your roles as parents. Remember, it's never too late to change.
Mistake #1 - Being Your Child's Friend
You should be friendly to your children but you shouldn't be your children's friends. They can have as many friends as they want but they only get two parents. What kids need is to live with two people that will teach, discipline, and protect them. They don't need a wingman or BFF.
Mistake #2 - Not Spending Time with Your Child
It doesn't matter if your kid is born into a wealthy family or one of modest means; it doesn't matter if your child is part of a big family or a small one; it doesn't matter who your kid is because the only thing he or she really wants from you is your time. Yes, work is important but it's never as important as spending time with your son or daughter. This also includes attending their extracurricular activities and being involved in their school.
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If your son or daughter gets everything they want they will always want more. In other words, they need to learn the word "no." It may make you feel better (it may be easier) for you to spoil your child but in the long run it does more harm than good. Sure, you want to provide for your child and give them everything they need, but that doesn't mean they need to get everything they want. Save the spoiling for the grand kids.
Mistake #4 - Worrying Too Much About Low Self-Esteem
While you don't want to verbally teardown your son or daughter, it's perfectly okay for them to learn that not everything they do is great. In other words don't praise mediocrity. For kids to grow up healthy they need to have a little self doubt. The kids with too much self-esteem are generally more of a problem than those with too little.
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Mistake #5 - Not Disciplining Your Child
Yes, it's not very fun to discipline a child. Yes, it takes time and energy, but you have to do it-if not for yourself than for everyone else. You'll know you're disciplining your child correctly when they behave better away from home. Remember to never argue with your son or daughter. You're the parent. What you say goes; there's no discussion. If they don't like it, then they can suffer the consequences.
Mistake #6 - Being a Poor Role Model
Whether you realize it or not, your child is learning how to behave from watching you. There are some times and situations where the phrase "do as I say not as I do" applies (homework, bedtime, wine with dinner) but for the most part they do what you do. This applies to how you treat other people; your diet and exercise; and how you deal with stress.
Mistake #7 - Treating Your Kids Like Wimps
Humans have been around for 200,000 years. This means kids have been around for 200,000 years. It also means your kid will be fine if he or she has to make their own lunch, takes the bus home from school, or gets called a name by the neighbor kid. Children are emotionally and physically tougher than we give them credit for. They don't need to be coddled all the time.
Mistake #8 - Failing To Give Them Responsibilities
No one gets a free lunch. Even your cat earns their keep (either by catching mice or being extremely cute). Your child is no different. They should have age appropriate responsibilities, i.e. chores. They need to learn right away that life is basically a series of one-thing-you-don't-want-to-do after another. Plus, if your child is allowed to coast at home how are they going to act at college or on the job?
Mistake #9 - Living Vicariously Through Your Children
Just because you wanted to be a world-class gymnast doesn't mean your son or daughter does too. Let them find their own passion. Pushing your child into an activity, especially something they don't genuinely love to do, usually results in resentment rather than greatness. However, if they do find their bliss support them one-hundred percent.
Mistake #10 - Not Being True To Your Word
Whether it's a threat or a promise be prepared to always back up your words. This is easier said than done as sometimes you say things in the heat of a moment you wish you hadn't and what sounded like a good idea on Sunday isn't such a good idea after working a 12-hour shirt on Tuesday. Nonetheless you need to try as hard as humanly possible to make your word golden. If your kid realizes you're all talk, you'll have a huge problem on your hands.
About the Author:
Ryan Hogan writes for ParentingFun411.com, a website that offers parents who want to have fun all kinds of useful resources such as a directory of fun parenting businesses like a directory of children's entertainment companies. Also read the parenting blog that offers great information for parents such as the top 10 parenting mistakes. Learn more at: http://www.ParentingFun411.com/
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