As parents, your primary job is to raise your children so that they become healthy, happy adults who can manage themselves in the world on their own. Of course, there are many different techniques that parents use to guide their children to adulthood with many based on their own experiences growing up. Unfortunately, there are some parenting techniques that may do more harm than good and result in your son or daughter having an unhappy childhood.
Here are ten behaviors that parents should avoid so their children can grow up to be happier, healthier adults. Keep an eye out for them as they are easy to commit.
1. Too Much Coddling
A common mistake that many parents make is performing tasks for your children that they can do on their own. Too much coddling means that they will never believe in themselves and must rely on others to do things for them. So, teach your children to do things and let them do it so they can start to believe more in their own capabilities.
This is a mistake so common that it created a new word in the English language. This is where you monitor your child’s every move to the point where you take away whatever self-esteem they might have in life. By helicoptering, you are telling your child that they cannot be trusted to make their own decisions and it will result in them taking fewer risks which leads to an unhappy life. So, be there for them when they need help, but otherwise get out of their way.
3. Inappropriate Praise
It’s one thing to be positive, it’s another thing to praise your children for actions that they should do on their own without any motivation. For example, a 10-year-old child that makes up their bed should be expected, not praised as if they accomplished something extraordinary. So, save the praise for things like when they improve their grades or try something that is new and different.
4. Being Too Strict
Basically, you are imposing standards that the child cannot live up to which creates behavioral issues in the future. Your children should be given reasonable boundaries and appropriate punishment when they cross the line. By going too far on setting boundaries, you are restricting their freedoms which limits their ability to interact with the world around them. So, be reasonable in your approach so your child can be happier and healthier when growing up.
5. Not Practicing What You Preach
Telling your child not to do something that you are doing is sending mixed messages which confuse and cause misunderstandings between what is right and what is wrong. You can only make it worse by telling them that it’s okay for adults, but not for children. Of course, there may be situations that are inherently contradictory, but there needs to be clear explanations and proper guidance so there are no misunderstandings.
6. Teaching that Failing is Bad
Everyone fails at some point in their lives. Failure is not something that is bad, it is something that can be learned from to improve or change direction in your life. Teaching your child that failing is unacceptable is not motivating, but rather instilling fear and apprehension that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Deal with failure in a positive way to encourage your child to keep trying.
7. Being Your Child’s Friend
Unfortunately, you are the child’s parent which means that your job is not to have them like you, but for you to teach them how they can succeed in life. There will be times when your child is mad or disappointed with you. Those times will pass, but spoiling your child will be there for the rest of their lives. So, accept that there will be times where your decisions will not make your child happy for the moment, but they will be happier for the rest of their lives.
8. Choosing Your Child’s Friends
Friendships develop in unique ways that cannot be dictated to your children. By taking on the role of choosing your child’s friends or discouraging friendships will have a negative effect. This is because it prevents your child from trusting their own instincts which leads to being less happy in their lives. Friendships develop naturally over time and many run their course. So, do not be discouraging when your child has made friends with someone you do not like. Instead, be positive and express your desire that they should make friends with people from different backgrounds and cultures so that they know more about those around them.
9. You Pretend to Have Led a Perfect Life
Sharing your past mistakes does not make you any less of a parent in your child’s eyes. It helps to open them up and learn that everyone makes mistakes. You should share with them mistakes that you learned at their age which is like what they have just done. Tell them of what happened, what you learned, and how you live your life today because of it. Remember that your kids will be faced with a lot of different influences in their lives, you just need to be the best one.
10. Maturity is not Predictable
There is a real difference between being intelligent and being mature. Some children mature quickly while others take their time even if they are quite intelligent. Just because your child is more intelligent at their age compared to other children doesn’t mean that they have matured to the point of handing additional responsibilities. So, you will need to let them mature at their own speed and recognize when they are doing more on their own.
In some ways, it’s easier for parents to identify their behaviors which may harm their children in the long-term. Remember, you will not be perfect and will make mistakes along the way. When that happens, you should own up to what happened and strive to do better. By avoiding these ten parenting mistakes, you can focus more on the behaviors that will lead to having happier, healthier children.