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This week, parent Usman Akram shares some amazing parenting insight about common parenting mistakes. Of course, all of us moms and dads are doing our best! Sometimes a few gentle reminders can help us feel like we’re rocking the parent life 🙂 Above all, remember you’ve got this and let your love lead it all- or at least that’s what I do 😉
4 Parenting Mistakes Every Parent Should Avoid Making
Parenting is probably one of the hardest jobs on the planet. After all, you have the responsibility of shaping the lives of children who’ll be a part of the society as adults in a few years.
Parenting is not only hard but can be highly stressful as well. There will be times when you will do good and there will be times when you’ll make miserable mistakes.
For example, one day you chose a nice gift from some famous princess toys for toddlers to surprise your child. That made your child happy. (Or even better, you spent some extra time snuggling and connecting in morning!)
Yet, some days you were busy and couldn’t satisfy your child’s demand and their outrage was uncontrollable.
There’s no denial that a parents intention is always the purest for their children and they’d always strive at their absolute best each day to provide their children a better lifestyle.
It’s just that circumstances will not be in your hands 100% of the time.
However, you can still stop some problems from arising in your parent-child relationship, simply by not making the following parenting mistakes.
Related read: Finding Balance as a New Mom
1. Minimizing your kid’s feelings
We as humans are highly emotional and it often stands as the foundation of most of our humanly relationships. Just like any human being, children also have emotional needs, which are to be fulfilled by their parents.
Most parents unintentionally suppress the emotions of their children which ultimately lead to a weak parent-child or the child not being confident enough in themselves.
It’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their children when (and how) they should express their feelings, their current mental state, and the way of doing it.
How parents practically minimize their kid’s feelings is by saying phrases like; “It’s not a big deal” or “There’s nothing to be sad about!” etc. This is subconsciously giving your child a message that feeling sad should rarely be the case.
It’s not that your child should be feeling sad more often.
It’s just that emotions like sadness, anger, fear, or confusion should occur naturally and be expressed safely so that they are not suppressed. (This is especially true if you’re going through hard times, like a divorce or illness.)
Instead, you as parents should approach it differently. For example, let’s say your child is afraid of a loud storm and is screaming heavily. The very first phrase you should say in a situation like this is; “It’s okay to be afraid honey”. This way you’re making them accept their emotions and still calming them down. (This is the difference between authoritative style parenting– which is most encouraged- vs authoritarian.)
Related read: Mom Hacks for Building Routines
2. Solving every problem for them
Problem-solving is a very important skill for everyone regardless of their gender, age, profession, or lifestyle. It’s a skill necessary for your social survival. We as humans learn the art of problem-solving either by observing others or by facing problems and finding their solution on our own.
However, it’s very common that parents restrain this skill to be developed in their children through their own actions. Since parents often desire a comfortable and effortless life for their children, they tend to help them a lot.
For example, this works fine when providing them with a full cooked meal . Yet, often your “help” is taking away problem solving skills for basic life problems.
For example, a very simple scenario for you to understand the concept can be; when your child can’t figure out the gameplay of a video game, you don’t have to immediately come in and explain it all to them.
Or for a toddler, letting them learn to dress themselves will come with a little frustration.
Let them discover some options and let them figure it out on their own.
Of course, you can always help them if they’re not able to move ahead from somewhere either by giving them hints or helping them understand the problem better.
The idea is just not to make everything a piece of cake for them. This helps the child understand that each problem is solvable, they just need to look from a different angle and put in some effort!
Related read: 6 Toddler Activities to Keep Them Busy and Learning
3. Labeling your child negative
It’s probably the most common practice. Even a wide proportion of sensitive parents follow this. It simply involves labeling your child with one thing permanently based on their action at once specific time.
This can be as simple as labeling a child as “naughty” or a “handful.”
For example, let’s say your child got caught lying about something once. Now it’s totally up to you how you handle the situation. Your approach can easily make him understand that lying isn’t a good practice or you can indirectly encourage him to do more.
Let’s explore the scenario in a little more depth by dividing it in two approaches. If you caught your child lying and you scold them harshly on doing so, you’re starting off very negatively. Onwards if you label them a liar, stop trusting them ever again with their words and keep reminding them of the mistake they once made, they’ll soon reach a state of numbness. Your child will feel that they are already labeled a liar, that isn’t going to change. Thus they’ll be encouraged to do more.
Alternatively if you caught them lying you should sit and explain to them calmly, give them second chances (multiple times). This will portray the fact that you still trust your child.
You can also put some restrictions like taking away some privileges however all of it needs to be done very calmly otherwise your child may turn rebellious.
Related read: Self Care for Moms- When I get to 3…
4. Not setting up some boundaries
Setting up some boundaries is as important as letting your children be free with their choices and preferences. The reason behind this is simple and binary. Your children at a very young age aren’t capable of making sane decisions.
You can, and certainly you should, allow them to choose what’s best for them but you as an adult and as a parent have to contain it to some extent as well.
Let’s look at an example to better understand the concept and draw the differentiation where it’s required.
Let’s say your child wants to wear a specific t-shirt on some occasion like a birthday. You should let them wear it since it makes them happy. However what if your child wants to wear it every day, even without giving it a wash, since they don’t like any other shirt at all? That’s where you need to oppose this and might let them know that it’s not a good idea when it starts affecting their hygiene.
You as parents shouldn’t compromise and let your child misbehave simply because you don’t want to argue with your child. When the problems are handled this way, your child won’t stop until you make them stop.
This doesn’t mean you have to be harsh; you just need to be able to explain and let them understand.
Related read: 12 Awesome Gifts for New and Expecting Moms
As Usman has illustrated, there is a fine line with parenting that we walk every day. Some days it can feel easier than other!
Letting your child(ren) express themselves and make some mistakes along the way within some firm boundaries will help them flourish.
What has helped me the most is learning to let go of a lot after I have set some boundaries. If my daughter is within the boundaries, I remind myself that it’s okay. It’s okay if she re-organizing her entire closet after I just organized it or that she has her shoes on the wrong feet. I always ask myself “does it really matter?”
What do you do to strike a balance between freedom and guidance?