A child is an uncut diamond. He is shined and polished by virtue of his experiences. Like every mother, I have my own ‘take’ on parenting and to raise emotionally and physically healthy kids there are a few things both my husband Rajeev and I consciously refrain from doing. To err is human and parenting mistakes do happen. But I have seen many parents are not even aware that it’s a mistake and keep repeating the worst parenting mistakes.
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Worst Parenting Mistakes We Always Make
While screaming, threatening and physically punishing are things we all know we should never do with our children. There are some common parenting mistakes which we keep doing and it has a long-term impact on the child. But there are ways to avoid or correct these parenting mistakes. We tell you what are the biggest parenting mistakes and what you can do about it.
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1. Criticizing others
The most basic and perhaps the most overlooked is criticizing and talking negatively about others in front of our kids.
This can happen as we express our frustration and dissatisfaction about domestic help or a family member. This is one of the worst parenting mistakes we are making.
The child is often too young to understand the ‘driver’ behind our emotion. By emulating us and without a ‘just cause’ they can become antisocial and confrontational.
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We believe that ‘beautiful see is as beautiful does’. By seeing the positive in others we can teach our kids to overlook minor human fallacy and focus on collaboration rather than criticism. Fortunately, this teaching begins at home by watching what we speak.
2. Not even white lies
Being careful about what we speak extends to lying as well. We all know kids ‘lie’. Tummies are always aching when veggies are served for dinner and toothaches magically disappear when it’s not school night. However, lying in front of kids especially when they know the truth just validates that lying is acceptable. We need to teach kids that although lying might seem the easier way out sometimes, it is more important to show courage and tell the truth.
You could be making up an excuse to a friend because you are not in a mood for a movie but that also your child will think it’s all right to say lies. Be very careful. This is the worst parenting mistake you can make.
Like all couples, Rajeev and I have our share of disagreements that can often spill over into heated discussions.
Again, the rule of thumb here is to never accuse each other in front of the kids or speak to each other in an aggressive or disrespectful manner. After all, we are setting the road map for our kids to manage their future relationships.
Additionally, kids growing up in an environment of constant strife become psychologically and emotionally damaged. Whenever a child is behaving aggressively the first question often asked is “what’s the environment like at home”. Happy environment makes for happy kids.
4. Influence of alcohol
Let’s not overlook that substance and alcohol abuse can impair our ability to behave responsibly.
When we are not in our sense our irresponsible behavior can extend to those around us including our kids. Hence it is important to consume alcohol responsibly and avoid getting drunk in front of kids.
A good check while drinking is to ask yourself: “Would we be able to respond adequately to an emergency if we have this additional drink?” It’s never too early to teach our children that ‘moderation is the key.
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5. Discussing finances
Discussing finances around your children is a positive conversation to have in my opinion. It makes children more aware of the value of money and the trade-offs we make as an adult as we prioritize our spending.
In the current generation of ‘excesses’, it’s never too early to teach your child restraint and the value of ‘delayed gratification’.
As Annaya turns older Rajeev and I plan to include her in our financial planning so she can learn to be responsible for her money as she is growing up.
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We are already teaching her the value of discounts and bulk buying because money well managed is money saved for our future. But if you are having any financial issues then discussing that in front of them can make them insecure and jittery. They would internalize the stress that you feel. This would be a big mistake.
6. Yelling at them
This is something all parents are guilty of. Once in a while if you cannot hold on to your patience and end up yelling that’s still okay but if you are a yeller and is constantly yelling at your kids and they are always suffering from the fear that you will yell, then that is the worst parenting mistake you are making.
Try to cultivate patience. Count till 10, meditate, reason with the kids, put on music when you see you are losing it but make every effort to get out of the yelling habit.
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7. You are staying engrossed in gadgets
Yes we know gadgets rule our lives, we have to be wired to it all the time and ensure we are not missing any work messages and calls. But children hate it when they have to fight for your attention with your gadget. Have you heard your child telling you to keep away your smartphone when you talk to them? If they have been telling you that than respect their feelings and heed their advice. Minimise phone and social media usage when you are around the children. This is a parenting mistake we should avoid.
8. Lack of involvement with the child
Nowadays it is possible to delegate every child duty to a person in return for a fee. You can have a nanny, a tutor, an art teacher, a driver to take your child to and fro cricket classes so on and so forth. What happens in the process? You have no involvement with your child. This is the biggest parenting mistake yo could make. This way the gap between you and your child will widen, the bond will become weak till the child starts holding it against you for having zero involvement in their life. Put in the extra effort and be involved.
9. Always telling you are the best
This is something many parents keep doing but trust me this is the worst parenting mistake you could be making. If you are telling your child that he is the best and showering him with praises all the time then he would grow up with a completely skewed perception about himself. If you feel that his artwork can be improved tell him kindly the areas where he could do better. Praise others in front of him and tell him that he should be happy at the achievement of his friends and family.
10. Always putting your child on social media
Everyone does it these days but it is the worst parenting mistake you are making. A child does not know how to handle the accolades on social media and starts developing a sense of inflated self worth. No, every painting, every photo, every certificate does not need to go up in social media. Let them have a normal childhood then after they are old enough let them decide for themselves what they want to share.
No parent can be perfect and parenting mistakes are inevitable. The child also learns from the mistakes as well. The above 10 listed parenting mistakes can happen once in while like criticizing, disagreements and white lies but one has to be conscious to avoid these at all costs. There are ways and means of overcoming parenting mistakes and as a parent you must do that.