15 Parenting Mistakes

Teenage girl looking anxious

Parenting is the oldest and most important jobs in history. Without it, we would not have over 7 billion people living on this planet. Most people want to be good parents. They want to raise responsible, happy, independent and successful kids. Even if we have kids for the purely biological reason of reproducing, we must ensure the future of our offspring, right? So nobody wants to make too many parenting mistakes.

I have been a parent for 26 years. As an educator, I also worked with many kids and had a lot of contact with parents on the way to becoming a parenting expert.

Over the years, I have written over 1,500 articles about parenting, happiness, and education. All my articles focus on the mission of raising happy, successful, friendly, smart, responsible and independent children. The rules of parenting are very clear and there is a variety of things you can do as a parent to ensure that your offspring will survive, be happy, be successful and your bloodline will continue for years to come. What you need to make sure is that you pass on to your kids more than just “blood”, more than just the things that transfers the second you conceive your kids (those genes stored in sperm or egg).

Parenting is also about transferring what is in your heart – your attitude. If you have the right attitude, you are more likely to be able to ensure a good future relationship for you and your kids. If your attitude is bad, you run the risk of being erased from your children’s lives. If you want to know how serious this is, read our post Divorcing Your Parents to see how many people are not in a relationship with their own parents. Imagine trying to pass on your legacy when you are not involved in the lives of your kids and grandkids.

Some parenting mistakes are not easily fixed, but it is never too late to start making a change. Here are some of the parenting mistakes that many parents make that can destroy the relationship between them and their children.

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Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children: A to G

Parent watering a child

This saying is as true for grownups as it is true for kids. We are what we think. If you want to know who your kids are, ask them what they think of themselves. Whether they think they are smart or not, happy or not, friendly or not, they are always right.

If you want to build their character, you need to instill character-building thoughts in their minds. Their thoughts become words, their words become thoughts, and their thoughts become actions. These actions become habits that become their character. Their character determines their destiny.

As I said in the previous chapter, a belief is like a seed, if you repeat the belief over and over again, it is like watering the seed. When the child hears the belief expressed enough times, the seed develops strong roots and becomes a conviction, like, “I am a very responsible kid”. The child stops thinking of it as a behavior and it becomes a character trait, a personal quality that they possess, “I am a very responsible kid”.

Here are examples of thoughts that will help build your kids’ character. If he/she adopts these thoughts/beliefs, they will turn into character of time. It is important to talk to kids about their character, what it means to them and what it means to you. Give them examples of times when they have shown a particular trait in a nice way and how it helped them in life. If you cannot find examples from their life, give examples from your own life, when you showed this trait and how it helped you in life. This will make it is easier for them to adopt the trait.

This post is part 2 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

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Save Your Marriage: Have Good Sex

Two hands clasped on a sheet

Sex is one of the top three reasons why couples divorce. That means that it is highly important to work on improving your sex life. Of course, good sex goes hand in hand with good communication, trust, respect and working on keeping the relationship alive.

Attitude to sex is something many couples need to work on. In our growing life, there is not enough education about the importance of sex for health and wellbeing. It is a very sensitive topic that most people are left to learn from experience, friends or even the World Wide Web through porn movies (which unfortunately present a very unhealthy picture of the importance of sex and how to enjoy it).

Many of the clients I see who are separated or considering divorce report that sex was a major issue in their relationship. Not enough, not satisfying or enjoyable, too much, too little, too fast, too slow, only when drunk, feels like a chore, they feel their partner does not deserve it, no romance, not sexy. Every one of these is sad and painful for both parties.

This post is part 27 of 28 in the series Save Your Marriage

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100 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Life

Three grown children on the beach

Everyone wants to have either a happy and healthy life or a healthy and happy life, in these orders. I think of happiness as a very inclusive concept: I want to be happy with my health, happy with my relationships, happy with my family, happy with my work, happy with money, happy with friends, happy with my art, happy with my friendships, happy with the direction I take in life and happy with an endless list of other things.

Here is one of my top tips for a happy and healthy life. Take the tips that resonate with you, feel free to change any of them to make them fit your style and your life, or add new ones if there are some that are not applicable to you.

If you have 100 tips and you follow one every day, your life will quickly become both happier and healthier.

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Shaming Kids: Good Parenting or Not?

Child wearing a sign around his neck do not trust me I will steal from you as I am a thief

From time to time, I hear or read about parents who shame their kids in public as a way to “teach them a lesson”. I think Shaming kids is a very bad idea.

Shame is one of the most debilitating feelings. It can make people, young and old do horrible things. Many grownups I work with are trying to overcome a combination of guilt and shame which is impacting their lives. These feelings are born in childhood, when parents use this combination as an incentive, thinking, “If I shame you enough, you will feel guilty and the guilt and shame will prevent you from doing it next time”.

I grew up in a house that thought where shaming kids and using guilt were major tools in the parenting tool box. If parenting practices are the tools, my parents used a hammer. Yet my parents grew up with parents of their own who used this hammer as an educational tool. They thought that if they just didn’t hit it as hard as their parents did, that makes them better parents. Their attitude was, “I am better than my parents” because of this. As a child, when a hammer hits your head (metaphorically speaking), the thought that your parents had their heads hit harder does not make the pain go away. Funnily enough, telling me how much shame and guilt they felt growing up did nothing to ease the pain either.

As a child, I was ashamed of my grades. My parents thought that shaming me would make me want to do better at school, but rather than working harder, I diverted all my energy away from learning and succeeding and towards hating them for it.

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Family Matters Wishes You Happy Holidays and a Happy 2015

Be Happy family wishing you happy holidays

The end of the year is fast approaching. It has been another full year and it looks like it is going to end with some great changes for us. My family and I are going on a fantastic holiday just before Eden, my eldest, moves in with her fiancé and begins preparations for their wedding in 2015.

As at the end of every year, I am writing a summary of our adventures for the year. Here is my summary for 2014.

2014 has been a very full and active year for the Be Happy in LIFE family. Our children have enjoyed a great year and we had lots of opportunities for “pride therapy”.

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How to Feel Good: Take Time Off

Ronit and her Mother

During a recent presentation, someone asked me to share some tips on how to feel good. In the first post of the series How to Feel Good, I shared the science of endorphins – the feel good hormones. In the second, I covered the science of smiling. In this post, I suggest another great way to feel good – taking time off.

Last year, I took time off from everything (home, work, kids and Gal) and went overseas to spend some time with my family. It was a wonderful reminder for me about why we have take time off to recharge out emotional batteries.

Taking time off from daily life can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. It helps us regenerate and start fresh. Sleep is the body’s natural way of giving us time off. It “forces” us to rest so we can function. Did you know that without sleep, we would die? If you want to torture someone, you do not need to hurt them. Just deprive them of sleep for 2-3 night. Just ask any mom!

This post is part 3 of 4 in the series How to Feel Good

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Precious Jellybeans

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There are some things I wish I knew when I was younger. For example, that life is short and we had better make the best of it. Luckily for me, I realized this when I was 16. It was painful and scary at first but eventually very liberating. Life is what we have. There are no rehearsals, no practice tests, no rewinds or regrets. We can work with it but not against. And time is our most precious gift. It is the only real currency that exists. Some people make a good use of it and others spend it or waste it.

Since that time of realization, I have been searching for ways to get this message across others: life is short, live it!

Recently, my daughter Eden sent me this clip that demonstrate time as our most precious asset using jellybeans as a metaphor. It was beautiful and the message is clear and simple. Here it is. I hope you like it too.

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Start Your Happiness Journey

Happiness sign on the beach

My dad always said that the process of anything in life depends highly on how your start it. A good start will set us up for a nice and easy process, while challenging starts will set the tone for struggle. I think happiness is a lifelong quest. I chose to adopt my dad’s philosophy and tried to instill this belief in my children.

Here are my A to Z rules for having good starts and continuing the happiness journey. I hope you will find them successful and encouraging.

Act on your goals rather than waiting for things to happen to you. If you want to start feeling happy, make it happen. Act on it. Waiting for that “one day” when your life will be they way you want it to be will only reinforce the fact that you are far away from it. Moving slowly, by taking action, towards your goal, will make you feel like you are just that tiny bit closer.

This post is part 6 of 6 in the series A-to-Z Guides

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How to Have a Happy Life

The happy Baras family

I have dedicated my life to promoting happy living. I have watched many people living the life they want and, unfortunately, too many people who have no clue about bringing happiness into their lives.

I suggest to all my clients that they come up with an A to Z list of living a happy life. Below is just one version of what they have come up with. I hope it will encourage you to come up with your own.

Appreciate yourself and others. Accept everything as it is. Appreciation is the ability to see good in yourself and others. It does not change who you are but how you perceive things.

Be yourself! This is the main goal in life. Do not try to be someone else. It is draining. You are unique, special and perfect, just the way you are. Cherish it!

This post is part 4 of 6 in the series A-to-Z Guides

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