Let’s get real for a minute, shall we?  Parenting is NOT easy.

Raising kids can be satisfying, fun, and joyful at times ….but it is never easy. And it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

Which means half the time we’re second-guessing ourselves and wondering if we’re doing the right thing.

Truth be told, there is no one “right thing”. Every family and every child are different. Which makes this whole parenting thing even more complicated.

 

“It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”

 – Ann Landers

 

Everyone struggles, and everyone makes mistakes.

We wanted to share nine parenting mistakes that happen pretty often. Heck, we’ve been known to make some of these ourselves. Nobody’s perfect.

Related: 9 Ways Phubbing Is Hurting Your Family

We share these missteps not to call folks out, but to give you some food for thought. Knowing what to watch out for can help you make adjustments so you can avoid these parenting mistakes in the future.

 

1. Not Getting To Really Know Your Kids

One of the more common parenting mistakes child psychologists see all the time is when parents assume they “know” their kids without having taken the time to really learn who they are.

Have you or any parents you know ever said something like “I know my kids better than they know themselves”.

Seriously? This is a major red flag. How can you possibly know someone more than they know themselves?

Related: Top 12 Ways To Improve Your Parenting Skills Today

Your kids have unique personalities and dreams. You learn who they are not by projecting your impressions on them, but by talking and listening to them over time.

Don’t assume you know what’s going on inside your kid’s head, put in the time to really find out who they are.

 

2. Wanting To Be Your Child’s BFF

Being a parent means setting limits and boundaries. It means making hard decisions.

It also means your child won’t always like you. And we’re here to tell you, that’s okay.

You might think you’re doing your kids a solid by letting them do whatever they like. But children find it hard to grow and develop without limits and consistency.

Seeking to be your child’s “friend” leads to permissiveness and poor choices made out of a desperate need for their admiration.

You can be your child’s friend when they’re all grown-up. Right now they need you to be their parent.

 

3. Not Being Open-Minded To Feedback

Ask any teacher what one of their biggest pet peeves is and they’re sure to tell you it’s parents who “don’t think my child would do that”.

Related: The 4 Types OF Parenting Styles: Which One Are You?

We know it’s hard. You love your kids. You think they’re awesome….and they are. But when teachers, counselors, or coaches let you know about an issue with your child, don’t immediately jump on the defense. Hear them out!

Keep and open mind and get the facts. These guys are on your side and want your child to be successful, just like you do.

 

4. Not Being Prepared For “The Talk”

Many parents are scared of talking about sex, and think that not talking about it will save them from having a difficult awkward conversation. Wrong.

Your kids are going to ask. It’s BOUND to happen. And don’t you want them to get their information from you where you know it will be factual and can include a discussion of values?

Be prepared! Decide how much you want to tell them at each grade level and be ready to answer the questions when they arise.

Because if you don’t, they’ll get their information somewhere else and who knows what they’ll hear.

 

5. Being Inconsistent

Few parenting mistakes can have a negative effect on your children more than an inconsistent parenting style.

If one day you’re your child’s BFF and the next day you’re strict, or you keep changing the rules, then your children won’t know what’s expected of them or how they’re supposed to behave.

Related: Different Parenting Styles? How To Get On The Same Page!

It’s confusing and makes kids feel unstable. Decide what type of parent you want to be, set limits and stick to em’!

parenting mistakes
Getty Images

 

6. Using Threats Or Shame To Get Them To Behave

There is a big difference between punishment and discipline. Punishment tries to control behavior through fear.

There’s the implication that you might not love your child if they don’t act the way you want them to or that they’ll face violence or harm if they don’t comply.

Related: Positive Discipline – Parent With Love Not Fear

This may work in the short term, but the long term damage this kind of fear causes to your kids makes it not worth it.

Whereas if you discipline with love, and help kids problem solve and make amends for their actions, you teach children skills that will help them become well-adjusted adults who can handle conflict in a positive way.

 

7. Not Letting Them Get Bored

Another one of the more common parenting mistakes we see is parents who think their kids need constant stimulation and have to be busy ALL the time to be happy and stay out of trouble. Not true.

This just leads to overwhelmed stressed-out kids who don’t get to learn the valuable lesson of coming up with creative ways to soothe or entertain themselves.  

Down time is a good thing for kids and adults alike. It lets them recharge their batteries, think imaginatively, and be present.

 

8. Helicoptering

As parents we don’t like to see our kids fail. But some parents are so concerned with making life easy for their kids that they swoop in to help, rather than see their child struggle.

The problem with this “helicopter” style of parenting is that instead of letting kids experience adversity, parents remove obstacles from their path denying kids the chance to develop valuable life-coping skills.

If you want your kids to face life with a growth mindset, meaning they are resilient and will keep trying in the face of adversity, then you need to dial back on the rescuing and let them struggle a bit.

This is how kids learn and grow.

 

9. Not Reading To Them

This is especially true of young children. Reading has a HUGE impact on a child’s developing brain.

Reading also requires a child to sit still and listen, which develops the focus and concentration they’ll need to succeed in school. It also teaches them to use their imagination, which sparks creativity.

Plus, reading with your child is an amazing bonding opportunity. Building a close relationship with your kids when they’re young can help keep the lines of communication open as they get older and go through the challenging adolescent and teen years.

Related: Fun Books That Encourage A Growth Mindset For Kids

Nobody is a perfect parent. We share these parenting mistakes to help you avoid some of the bigger pitfalls of parenthood and make better decisions.

If and when mistakes happen remember it’s okay. Own up to your missteps and change course.

Your kids will learn valuable lessons about responsibility and self-growth by watching you.

Related: 5 Common Parenting Mistakes That Could Cost You

 

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