Most parents strive to be the best parents they can be. But some of their actions may be doing more harm than good. Now’s the time to make some adjustments and kick some bad habits to the curb. Here are 10 things you need to stop doing today.
Although it’s not uncommon for parents to be hard on themselves, that type of thinking is counterproductive. Instead of beating yourself up, look at the little missteps as an opportunity to grow and learn. Allow your kids to see you make mistakes and learn from them.
Demonstrating a growth mindset in your own life is a great way to teach them to be resilient and persevere in their own life.
In an effort to make your kids’ lives easier, you may be doing them a disservice. The best way to raise independent children is to allow them to practice being independent.
So what if milk gets spilled onto the counter instead of making it into the glass because you didn’t step in to help? Kids can learn a lot by trying things on their own. Plus, allowing them to try to master new skills shows them that you believe in them, and that helps build confidence.
It’s easy to become so focused on raising your kids, taking care of them, and making sure they’re happy that you neglect one of your most important relationships—your marriage. Nurture your partnership by planning date nights together, connecting with each other every day, and taking the time to talk before turning in at night.
It’s also important for your kids to see you doing things together. So regularly make time for your partner even if it’s just sitting on the couch and talking. Make sure your kids know that this is your special time together and that they should refrain from interrupting if at all possible.
Your kids need to know that your marriage is a priority.
You can’t win every battle and you shouldn’t try to. Pick your parenting battles wisely. The little things really don’t matter.
If your preschooler wants to wear a plaid shirt with polka dot pants, let them rock that mismatched outfit. Some things just aren’t worth fighting over.
Plus, it’s exhausting to have a battle over every little decision. Look for opportunities to say yes when you can. This way, when it comes time to say no, your kids are more receptive to your decision.
Many kids have a carefree life with zero responsibilities. That’s a wonderful luxury to bestow on your child. But it also means that all of the responsibilities probably fall on you.
It also may lead your child to become irresponsible, especially as they get older.
Give yourself a break by delegating some of your household tasks to your kids. Teaching kids important life skills and giving them chores is part of helping them become responsible adults someday.
We want our kids to enjoy life, learn how to do new things, and experience everything they want. But that also can lead to overscheduling them. Resist the urge to cram sports, dance, piano lessons, scouts, and other activities into their lives at one time.
Not only will you run yourself ragged, overscheduling your kids doesn’t give them any free time to just be kids.
Research suggests that unstructured play can have a positive impact on a child’s development and wellbeing. When kids are given the opportunity to play freely, there is a lot of learning taking place. They develop games, make rules, negotiate with others, and release stress.
Parents often unwittingly put themselves in a position of doing everything for everyone else. But this can be emotionally and physically draining and lead to frustration, irritability, and burnout. It’s important to make time for activities you enjoy and to practice self-care.
It’s beneficial for you, but also for your family.
There’s no denying that technology has become an integral part of our lives. Whether it is at work, for school, or simply keeping up with family and friends, everyone relies on technology to get things done. But it’s important to have some time apart from technology to simply be with your family members.
Think about the last time you unplugged your gadgets to spend one-on-one time with your child. To help make it easier to unplug, consider creating gadget-free times and zones in your house. It may take a concerted effort, but in the end, it will be beneficial for everyone if you all have some technology-free time together.
If you find yourself telling your kids to hurry up frequently, it may be time to slow down and take a closer look at why. Rushing everywhere is often a sign that either your schedule is too packed or you need to look at your family’s time management skills. Rushing around also could be a symptom of disorganization.
If this tends to occur in the mornings before school, develop a morning routine for your family to make things more streamlined. It’s also helpful to create a homework schedule to ensure everyone is meeting their responsibilities.
Parent guilt is a real thing and not uncommon. Some parents even guilt themselves into trying to spend every waking moment with their kids. But not only is this not humanly possible, it’s also not healthy.
Instead, try to enjoy quality time with your family, but also recognize the importance of letting your kids play alone or with their siblings. Not only will time apart allow your kids to develop autonomy and independence, but it also will lift a burden from you as well. Everyone needs some alone time.
You can’t be all things to your child. It’s important that they begin to develop friendships and relationships with others too.
Most parents would love for their kids to be happy 100% of the time, but this expectation is unrealistic. However, this doesn’t stop parents from trying.
And when this happens, parents end up inadvertently spoiling their kids. Material things are nice, but they don’t bring lasting happiness. Teach your kids to find joy in less material ways and you will be well on your way to raising a good citizen.
There’s a lot of pressure on parents to buy their kids the latest clothing styles, video games, and technology. But giving in to the temptation to buy everything at once usually wreaks havoc on the family budget. And it does little to teach kids the importance of delayed gratification.
Instead, teach kids how to plan for the things they want as they get older, and give them a budget to work within when shopping. Teaching kids money management skills will benefit them as they grow into young adults.
Overall, if you’re like most parents, you’re probably pretty skilled at teaching your kids to say “please” and write thank you notes, but do your kids know what it really means to be thankful? Make sure the words they are speaking aren’t empty.
Making an effort to raise grateful kids who appreciate everything and everyone around them is one of your most important jobs as a parent. Being grateful allows kids to step outside of their own self-interests and recognize that they are not entitled to all the good things in their life.
Facebook, the bragging mom next door, and the pressure we put on ourselves have all turned parenthood into a blood sport. Too often, parents compare themselves to others—and believe that they’re coming up short.
Whether you are trying to meet others’ expectations or lack confidence, imitating others can be harmful to you and even contribute to parent shaming and judgmental attitudes. Instead, focus on discovering who you are as a parent and stay true to those goals. While it’s great to learn from other parents, it’s also important to be true to your values and goals.