We all know that kids don’t come with owner’s manuals. Luckily, kids are also very resilient. As long as you love them and manage to keep them healthy, chances are they’ll grow up just fine. Still, we all want to be the best parents possible. So with that in mind, here are a few of the most common parenting mistakes and how you can easily avoid making them.
Balance both family and solo time
It’s good for kids to grow up with a tight-knit sense of family. However, you also want to celebrate each child individually. Otherwise, they may grow to resent the family or to have a weak sense of self. This can lead to all manner of social adjustment issues later in life.
One of the most important foundations for raising well-adjusted adults is for them to have balance between recognizing and encouraging their individuality, and cultivating a strong sense of community.
Rescuing them even when they don’t need it
When a child is having difficulty doing something on their own, it can seem so much faster and less frustrating for everyone if you simply step in and do it for them.
While that may be true in the short term, in the longer term it creates and reinforces a state of learned helplessness. Your child may even begin to question her ability to do things on her own. Or worse, never discover it in the first place.
This can lead to everything from dysfunctional relationships to doing poorly in school, chronic trouble holding down a job and even still living at home long past the point when they should become independent.
Allowing your child to learn to deal with frustration and work through problems is a gift. It builds character and resilience. It also prepares them to deal with the much larger and more important problems they will have to face as an adult.
Resorting to bribery
If you bribe your kids to get them to do things, it puts them in a position of negotiating power over you. They’ll quickly learn that they can ignore anything you want them to do unless there is a reward attached.
As a parent, it’s part of your responsibility to raise your children to be contributing members of society. Part of that includes teaching and instilling a sense of responsibility.
Feeding them unhealthy food
Children’s food is seldom as wholesome or nutritious as it could be. Whether it’s sugary, deep-fried, high in fat, or loaded with salt, it seems one of the primary goals of kid’s foods is to get kids to eat it without complaint.
That’s not what food is for. It’s for nourishment, not conflict avoidance.
We sympathize with the desire for some peace and to not have everything always be a battle. At the same time, once they’re old enough to hold utensils and feed themselves, kids should start being introduced to some of the same foods the rest of the family eats.
Not only will it be healthier for them, but it will be easier on you not having to prepare two meals every time. Plus, you might be surprised at some of the foods they end up really liking once they give them a chance. Younger kids may even love the idea of being more grown up and getting to eat the very same things that the grown-ups eat.
A side benefit is that you’ll be teaching and reinforcing healthy eating habits that will stay with them for life.
Showing a lack of consistency
All people, but especially kids, learn best through repetition. If you change things too often, it disrupts that learning process.
Making the problem even worse, you introduce an element of confusion that may cause anxiety in your child. This may especially show itself around bedtime when there are almost certain to be tantrums while trying to get your little one down for the night.
For certain things such as meal times, bedtime, and getting ready for work or school, it helps to have a routine. You create them for yourself and you owe it to your kids to create routines for them as well.
Summing it all up
Give kids the freedom to be kids. They’re certain to spill drinks and fall down and lose things every now and then. Along the way though, they will learn to become healthy, successful, well-adjusted adults.
And you will have done a great job as a parent.
At Cornerstone Learning Center, we believe in the power of giving little ones a safe place to explore, play, and learn how to be their best selves. Come see for yourself what we’re all about.