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.
Common Parenting Mistakes You Want to Avoid
Parenting Mistake #1: Wanting your kids to grow up!
If you say, “I wish you would grow up” you give them the feeling that there is something wrong with being a child. To them, this means that you see childhood as a problem, as if they are inferior to adults. This can creates feelings of inadequacy that clutters their lives for a long time to come.
Parenting Mistake #2: Talking too much!
Some parents think that education is delivered though lectures and speeches. They do not understand that their example is stronger than any words. When Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see”, he meant exactly that.
Parenting Mistake #3: Being judgmental
Your role is not to judge or criticize. If you think your job is to assess your kids’ behavior in order to direct them to good behavior, you are on your way to losing them to others, who will be kinder. Parents are not judges! They are not there to sentence. They need to guide.
Parenting Mistake #4: Trying to be cool
It is not part of your job description so don’t waste your energy on it. “Cool” parents are easier to manipulate because they sometimes sacrifice certain parenting responsibilities in order to stay “cool” in the eyes of others. Truly cool parents are those who stand up for their parental role. If you are trying to be cool, you are more subject to peer pressure, and showing your own kids and teens what that looks like.
Parenting Mistake #5: Trying to save your kids from heartache and pain
It is only natural that parents do not want their kids to suffer. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how much you can protect your children from pain before you start to cripple them. There is learning and growth in pain. If you take away this learning opportunity, you may paralyze them.
Parenting Mistake #6: Telling your kids they need to make you proud
You kids are not an extension of you. They are independent beings and they do not need to do things to please you. One day, they will need to make decisions without you. They need to please themselves so they can use their own feeling as a compass. That does not mean they can’t make you proud, it only means that making you proud is not the only reason for doing things.
Parenting Mistake #7: Living life through your kids
You need to have things that are just for you. Your own hobbies, and interests, dedicating time to yourself and what makes you happy. Giving your kids all the attention in the world, as if you were a “service provider” and not an entity of your own, is not doing anyone any favors. This raises self-centered kids who will not survive in the big wide world.
Parenting Mistake #8: Using pain as an educational tool
Reward is a far greater motivator than punishment. Punishment creates a situation where pain is associated with you (the one who caused the pain). If you educate your children through fear, it will be no surprise if they choose to distance themselves from you in their adult lives. You will be carved in their brains as a source of pain.
Parenting Mistake #9: Thinking that money is the most important thing
Parents who think this often dedicate all their energy to making money in order to provide for their families. This is a big job, and an important one. Yet happy families do not necessarily have to have money. There is happiness and bonding in singing, dancing, optimism, doing simple art, going for walks, playing a game together, laughing and cooking together. These things requires little to no money at all. Do not be trapped in this belief. Your kids want your presence more than your presents. Make sure you strike a balance in this area.
Parenting Mistake #10: Being threatened by your kids’ social group
Parents can often fear the things their children learn from other kids. They want their children to stay at home and not trust anyone beyond the four walls of the house. These kids grow up to be suspicious and they often lack good social skills. They tend to grow up isolated and miserable.
Parenting Mistake #12: Teaching kids to be competitive and/or promoting perfectionism
Perfectionism is a disease that is very hard to cure. That is because perfection is constantly strived for and never achieved. It is the anti-happiness behavior. It will ensure your kids will be miserable all their lives. Nobody can be perfect. Similarly, there is always somebody better, so being competitive is another recipe for misery.
Parenting Mistake #13: Putting conditions on your love
Love is unconditional (well, it should be!); you are supposed to love your kids even if they are stupid, unfriendly, doing drugs, or becoming a prostitute. You should be the one person who is always there for them. They were born tied to you with an emotional umbilical cord. They will need you for many years to come, especially when they make mistakes.
Parenting Mistake #14: Pretending to be smart, all-knowing and almighty
Kids need to learn that no one is perfect and that parents are just humans who can also make mistakes. If you pretend to be a person that you are not (because you are not all knowing and all powerful), they cannot trust you to be real and authentic. No one is all knowing and all mighty. If you pretend to be so, whenever they feel challenged, they will be convinced something is wrong with them.
Parenting Mistake #15: Comparing your kids in hope this will motivate them to “be better”
Comparing is a sign of judgment that will do the opposite of give your child motivation. Motivating kids is an art that needs to be mastered. Comparing is the anti-motivation tool that makes kids feel inadequate.
Think about the way you interact with your kids. Do you ever find yourself thinking this way? If you make these parenting mistakes, remember that it is never too late to make positive changes! Every change you make will help your kids develop good self-esteem and prepare them for their future. A future with you in it.