13 common mistakes every parent makes
Are you guilty of these common parenting mistakes? Find out here!
Even though every parent has good intentions and only wants the best for their kids, there's no denying that they don't sometimes make mistakes.
Some of these mistakes are small, but can create larger issues in the long run. It's impossible to be the "perfect" parent, but if you can make small changes to mistakes like the ones in this helpful list, you'll be thanking yourself for it down the road.
Take a look at the list and make sure you're not guilty of these common, yet, harmful mistakes:
Being too critical
Though many believe that scrutiny and harsh truths can be motivation for your kids to work harder to succeed. In some ways, that's true, but they don't necessarily need this treatment from a parent.
Dr. Leary says, "Kids raised this way are driven to perfection in everything from looks, likability, sports, smarts, or you name it. When a mistake happens, they are worthless as a human being and start getting so angry that in some cases they will resort to self-harm even to the point of suicide."
Not regulating their diets/food intake
For a multitude of reasons, a parent should be mindful of what their kids are eating and how much they're eating. In terms of their diets, children are particularly picky. As a result, they can often be missing their daily requirements for vitamin and mineral intake. Parents should never neglect this worry, or overlook it.
When it comes to overeating, Dr. Leary suggests that this is no matter to overlook either. He believes that parents should be asking their kids, "Are you full?" He claims that "When this happens, typically your kid will load the plate again. That is an old survival program from our heritage as scarcity, when food was not available. Kids then chase a full-filled sensation, not understanding each time you fill yourself, your stomach adapts to that as normal and expands."
Doing age-inappropriate activities
This one in particular can lead to some deeply rooted problems for a child in the future according to Leary.
"I have 3 patients right now who, by age 4, were having to feed themselves and or had to be in charge of a sibling also. I’ve seen many who didn’t have children of their own because as they all said; 'I raised my family.'”
Giving them too many choices
Kids are a lot more simple than you may think. It's nice to give them options under any circumstance, but too many can be a bad thing. As Dr. Leary says, "Many parents think children always should have endless choices, when the reality is kids can be overwhelmed if they’re always given so many options."
Not limiting their screen time
This applies to all forms of screens: TV, video games, computers, and yes, even cellphones. Too much screen time can be bad for many reasons that you're well familiar with, and there's really no need for a parent to not be more attentive to this.
Dr. Leary believes it can even put a damper on your relationship with your kids. In his experience, he "knows a family where the mom and teenage son text each other constantly and no one else can get into their relationship link."
Not asking them questions
Kids are very curious, which means you'll have to answer a lot of their questions. It's suggested that parents asking their kids questions can have its own benefits. It establishes a relationship with your kids and let's them know that you value what they have to say. Not to mention that it's a good mental exercise for them and lets them cool down after a long day.
Leary says this is especially true during bedtime: "Children sleep better and feel loved when the parent shows an interest in what happened that was significant to them in their own lives."
Praising them for everything
"It’s very common now to see kids who are almost junkies for praise. They won’t do anything unless there is a payoff for them," says Dr. Leary.
This is a scary concept, and certainly not something that you want to establish in your kids. A little praise is a great thing, but too much can lead to overinflated self-esteems and a lack of humility.
Withholding common knowledge
This is in regards to information that they SHOULD know. Obviously you have to base this on their age, but Dr. Leary thinks that the big topics, like sex, shouldn't be avoided if you think they can process the information in a mature manner.
Many parents are terrified of talking about sex, and believe avoiding discussing it with their children will save them. But I’ve seen 13-year-old girls get pregnant, sometimes just to flaunt it at their parents.
Trying to make your child happy
Obviously, we're not suggesting that you can't ever work to put a smile on your kids' face. This is just a simple reminder that you can't give in anytime they're unhappy or do whatever it takes to make them happy in certain circumstances. Also, you can't make them be happy whenever they're in a "down" mood.
"Their job is to learn to make themselves happy, and you can never force a child to be happy," says Dr. Leary.
Keeping them too busy
This is for the parents who actively enroll their kids in one too many extracurricular activities. A few here or there are great ways to engage your kids and even expand who they are intellectually and physically. However, you don't want or need to go overboard.
"Many parents wrongly believe “activities” will keep their kid out of trouble, but often times this will lead to the child being burned out or even becoming a bully," claims Dr. Leary.
Not letting them get bored
This is a common mistake that many parents make. Parents don't realize that they're actually harming their kids' imagination and creativity when they constantly stimulate their kids. What they tend to think is that kids who say they're bored need to be entertained by something at all times. Leary completely disagrees: "Some parents think children are supposed to be stimulated at all times and it’s their job to avoid boredom. Then kids don’t learn to be creative and find the way out of boredom in themselves."
Not reading to them
This particularly applies to children of young ages. This is something that often goes undone by many parents, but definitely shouldn't according to Leary.
"Reading requires the child to be still, be quiet, and use their imagination. All the things videos don’t. It prepares them for listening in school and being able to use their imagination for creativity and alternatives as a resource," he claims.
Okay, this is a no brainer, right? Well maybe you're spoiling them and don;t know it. Or even worse, you're not seeing what kind of harm this is doing to your kids in the long run.
Dr. Leary says, "[Your kids] will almost always end up believing acquisitions lead to happiness. This sets up chasing the never-satisfying carrots, and can result in addictions and compulsions."
You don't want to raise kids to be materialistic. And you certainly don't want them to grow up spoiled, or worse...addicted or suffering from compulsions.