There are parents who think that kids should be thanking them for being born regardless of what kind of life they provided. I am not one of them. I am conscious that I gave birth to my daughter to fulfill my need in caring for somebody without asking her whether she wanted it or not.
Considering this, I often suffer from hyper-responsibility when it comes to choosing a parenting style. In search of the best one, I have read plenty of books and blogs for parents and they left me in confusion with mutually exclusive advice. However, I tried my best, and I was definitely far from being the worst mom in the world.
Unfortunately, I also managed to make several rather stupid parenting mistakes with the best intentions or out of ignorance. Here are my top 5 oversights.
1. Making empty promises of punishment
I have noticed many parents tell their children ridiculous things when the latter misbehave (“I will never ever buy you anything from this day”, “I’ll kick you out of home”, etc.) Of course, they often do it subconsciously, being too emotional. I am not an exception. However, such poor self-control can cost you a lot.
Firstly, some kids may develop a fear that you can make one of your threats real. My daughter always needs someone to be around, because she is afraid to be left alone. Secondly, kids may become immune to your scolding and would not take you seriously. You have to watch what you say. Do not promise to punish kids badly forgetting about your words at the next second. If they misbehave, you had better say something doable to calm them down (no candies for the next two weeks, as an option) and keep your promise if they refuse to obey.
2. Giving kids advice based on your values and preferences
There are kids and parents that are as like as two drops of water when we speak about their personalities. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all case. Children are not our extensions, they may prefer other things, find something harder or easier than we do, depending on their character.
I always tried to make my daughter more social, because I thought it would help her solve her issues faster in the future. However, I have realized that forced communication requires from my kid a lot more energy, than it does from me, and it will hardly change as she grows, because it is a part of her personality. Now I do not remind her to make a call if she needs some information when she prefers to find it on the Internet, even if it takes more time.
3. Forcing kids to talk to people they do not like
As parents, we would be delighted to know other people find our kids nice and obedient. We are concerned about what our relatives or friends may think about our offspring and how they evaluate our parental skills. However, your kid’s bad feelings are not an adequate price for making a good impression. Of course, I teach my daughter to be polite, but I do not require from her to wish her grandma a happy birthday, since they have strained relations, I do not make her hug our relatives if she doesn’t not want to. I also began to eradicate this habit of doing unpleasant things against my own.
4. Blaming movies and computer games for kids’ anxiety
Violent games and movies do affect kids’ psyche, however, their impact is not that big as some people tend (and like) to think. In this situation, it is easy to confuse the cause and the effect. After I had noticed my daughter watching horror movies, I used to block websites she visited via a parental control app on her iPad. My daughter obviously experienced anxiety and I explained the changes in her behavior to myself with her strange preferences. Later, I found out she had been bullied at school and watching videos with violence was her way to reduce the stress. If your kid is attracted to movies, games or books containing violence, just making them a taboo is not a solution. By digging deeper, you may find out that your child faces problems.
5. Interrupting into kids’ private space
It is a natural thing for parents to be involved in their kids’ life, but sometimes they cross the line. For instance, I was so curious about my daughter’s crush she had in the elementary school that I constantly asked her about it. I thought that encouraging her to tell me her secrets would make us friends. As a result, she kept to herself for several weeks. Therefore, while it may seem funny and cute to tease your kids, making them blush, it could ruin your relationship of trust.
Everyone makes mistakes and we should not blame ourselves for that. However, we all have to develop a habit of taking a bird's-eye view on our behavior from time to time. If you cannot define what you do wrong, do not neglect the possibility to ask your kid about it. It is always easier to progress with an outside perspective.