Common Parenting Mistakes
1. Too Much Talking When Angry
|The more you talk as a parent when trying to correct your child, the
more your child will tune you out and not
"listen" to you. I can't tell you how many times parents have complained to me that their child does not listen
to what amounts to a 15 minute lecture on why he or she should not... (fill in the blank). I would not listen to
you either. No one would. General rule of thumb: The less you talk, the more you say.
No, you do not need to have the last word.
2. Parental Temper Tantrums
|If you do not want your child to throw temper tantrums, then you can't
either. This includes the counter temper
tantrums that parents sometimes have as a result of their child's temper tantrum. When this occurs, you have
two individuals who are having temper tantrums, only one is a child and one is an adult acting like a child. When
you as a parent act like a child by having your own temper tantrum you become a child in your child's eye and your
child treats you as a child. Yes, I will agree that children can sometimes frustrate the heck out of a parent. If you
"lose it" every so often, well, that's just being human, but there is simply no excuse for consistently behaving
the way you don't want your child to behave. Whether you know it or not; whether you want to or not, you will lead
3. Feeling Guilty About Discipline
|Guilt underlies many problems when tying to dicipline your child. For
example, a parent may feel "gulity" about a
divorce and as a result, he or she sort of "slacks off" when it comes to discipline. The child may be allowed to stay
up all hours of the night, take baths when he or she feels like it, get away with back talk, make failing grades in
school, etc. Do not ever feel gulity about fair and appropriate discipline.
4. Using Threats or Actual Acts of Violence
|Imagine this scene. You are outside playing catch with your child.
A neighbor child walks over and is on your child's
side. Within a minute, some words are exchanged between your child and the other child and you see your child
knock the other child to the ground. Enraged, you walk over to your child, tell him, "hey, we don't hit in this family"
and "spank" him.
Doesn't make sense to me, either. Actually, that example was borrowed from a county music song of a few years ago.
What "good" does spanking a child do? It gets's their attention, right? Well, yes of course it does. Anyone who
would hit me would have my complete and undivided attention as well. The problems is, that is all it does.
Psychologially, you are transmiting a message to you child that is it okay to solve problem and vent frustration through
violence. An unfortunate lesson to learn, as many people in prison will tell you.
5. Inconsistency (within and between parents)
|I see this many times in my practice. A child can stay up as late
as they like on Monday night, but the bed time of
8:30 is strictly enforced on Tueday night. Or a parent disciplines a child who is having a temper tantrum in Wal Mart
but will give in the next time. Parents, be consistent! Do not send mixed mesages to your child. A child needs
structure and consistency. If you take that away, your child has nothing to rely on and will make up his her her own
structure and chances are, you won't like his or her "structure."
6. Openly Disagreeing about a Child in Front of the Child
|Do couples sometimes argue, fuss with each other, disagree, etc. Of
course. However, constantly argueing in front
of your child makes them think that maybe you don't love one another, or maybe they too should argue when they
want their way. Try the opposite, have a disagreement in front of you child but use negotiaing and compromise to
settle it. You can even "set up" these disagreements to show your child how to settle differences using compromise.
Settle your real differnces in private and if you can't seek professional help, (seriously).
7. Treating Children as if They Were Small Adults.
This is a really, really, really big problem these days. Think about
it. Kids are marketed to, solicited and commercialized
8. Forgetting or not Knowing that the Word Discipline Means "to teach"
|The word "discipline" does not mean what many parents think it does.
The word discipline means to teach. It does not
mean to punish. Not knowing this distinction is a very BIG mistake made by many parents. Parents are sometimes too
focused on "punishing" bad behavior. I agree that there shoud be clear and consistent negative consequences for
inappropriate behavior. This is not what I am talking about. Consider this: punishment may show a child what not to do
(don't reach for that hot stove), but it doesn't really tell them what they should do instead ("okay, well what else should
I do with my hands").
Parents, focus on teaching your kids, not necessarily and exclusively on punishing "bad" behavior. Sometimes teaching
involves literally hand-over-hand teaching, the same way you taught your youngster to tie their shoelaces. Discipline
your kids, but don't just simply focus on punishment for misbehavior.
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