We all throw our hats into the parenting ring oozing with great intentions. We roll our sleeves and vow to raise phenomenal kids. Responsible members of society. Salt of the earth kids.
But we soon realize that parenting is a maze. The twist and turns spring up unexpectedly. Parenting changes us. We love our parents more fiercely.
We ease our feet off the judgemental pedal and dish out forgiveness more readily. We empathize with others at the drop of a hat.
And while most of the parenting mistakes we make are soon obvious to us, some camouflage as gospel truth. We go on without the slightest clue that we are missing the mark.
Here are 8 innocent mistakes that parents make yet have far-reaching effects on their kids.
Mistake#1. Settling Scores Before Your Kids
Let’s be honest, conflict between parents is inevitable. It’s as predictable as the sunrise. Granted, it’s okay for children to see their parents at odds.
But they should also see them resolve conflict amicably.This helps them scoop some much-needed conflict resolution skills.
What damages their fragile hearts is if the conflict gets hostile. It’s devastating for kids to watch their parents getting embroiled in verbal or physical aggression.
It’s harrowing for kids to see their parents give each other the silent treatment.
Research shows that children who witness aggressive conflict between their parents are prone to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, misbehavior, low self-esteem, guilt, physical aggression, self-harm, stress, and various phobias.
Mistake #2. Snuffing Out Affection When Your Kids are Around
Should parents get cozy in the presence of their kids? Is it an abomination? Studies show that children whose parents openly expressed appropriate affection towards each other felt more secure and loved.
Such children sense the love and bond between their parents and can’t help but revel in it.
Parents should however be careful not to go overboard with this. If it’s something you can’t do or say in front of your mother-in-law, you bet your kids can’t take it as well.
Subtle and healthy ways of displaying affection when your kids are watching include:
- Saying ‘I love You’ and other appreciative remarks
- Holding hands
- Pecks/quick kisses
Furthermore, it has been rightfully noted that kids are like sponges. They eagerly absorb the behavior of those around them and replicate them to a T.
When your kids see you modeling a healthy loving relationship, they tuck it away in the hinterland of their hearts. It sets the stage for how they will approach their relationships yonks later.
Mistake #3: Obliterating All Obstacles in Your Child’s Path
We all dream of giving our kids the best childhood possible under the sun. A slick childhood that will make our own fade in comparison.
But sometimes in an effort to enthuse them, we mollycoddle them a tad too much. They get out of our nest with a limp. Half-baked kids who are incapable of coping with life’s twists and turns.
Attending to all of your kids’ whims and demands may turn them into little dictators and manipulators. They may wind up with no regard for hard work.
They may grow up oblivious of the concept of cause and effect. Their mental strength may be as frail as dry leaves making them incapable of handling tough situations or failure.
They may become puffed up and entitled. You don’t want that with your kids, do you?
Parents should be careful not to be at their kids’ beck and call. Children should learn that they don’t always get what they want.
They should be able to handle chores and responsibilities. They should be allowed to face the consequences of their actions.
Mistake#4: Not Tethering Your Kids to a Regular Sleep Schedule
No one can throw a hissy fit better than a sleep-deprived child. A sleep-deprived child (and adult) walks around with a thick impenetrable fog over their head.
They are more prone to physical injuries as they waddle around. They are moody, cranky, and irrational. Their brain has lost its luster.
But there’s much more at stake when your kids don’t catch enough z’s. Here are some of the unsavory effects that sleep deprivation has on children:
- Affects their growth
- May lead to obesity
- Inability to fight diseases and infections
- Poor focus, memory, and concentration
- Difficulty in learning
- Foul Mood
Granted, kids are different. Some need more sack time than others. The amount of sleep kids need is dependent on their ages. If you are not sure how much sleep your child needs, take a peek here.
Mistake #5: Trying to Change Your Kids
We seem to possess a winding checklist that displays the kind of kids we think we deserve.
We bear introverts and spend every waking moment nudging them to become extroverts (like ourselves). We bear kids who do not fancy music but sign them up for music lessons anyway.
Children have different temperaments, gifts, and talents. Some kids need gentle parenting methods while others require you to be more assertive.
We need to accept our kids as they are, nurture their talents, and allow them to bloom at their own pace.
Mistake #6: Not Savoring Each Parenting Moment
You have probably heard older parents dish out this advice. That you should enjoy the fleeting young years of your kids. That old tired piece of advice probably makes you prickly.
What’s to enjoy about sleepless nights, colic, postpartum depression, middle of the night fevers, non-existent date nights, toddler tantrums among others?
The truth however is that each parenting stage has its set of hurdles. When you for instance wiggle out of the breastfeeding stage, you may be quickly ushered into a picky eater season.
When you finally send your child to preschool you may have endless bouts of colds and coughs to contend with.
When you put the flags out because your kids have finally dipped their feet in teenage, their mood shifts may keep you tossing in bed at night.
There is no perfect time for parents to start relishing the parenting journey. Parents may need to make peace with the fact that parenting calls for many sacrifices. But ultimately, all the tough seasons are worth it.
Mistake #7: Not Modelling the Right Behavior
Has your child ever caught you saying or doing the exact thing you forbade them to? How does the runny egg on your face feel as they catch you preaching water while chugging down wine? Downright embarrassing.
Kids mimic the behavior of those around them. But we often think that we can get away with occasional spurts of misbehavior and leave our kids unscathed. Nothing could be further from the truth!
You may for instance be drumming in their ears the dangers of unregulated screen time and yet you are always hunched over your phone.
You may be hell-bent on teaching them to respect others and yet they often hear you spewing disparaging remarks to other motorists.
Your kids will do what you do not what you say. Do not underestimate them.
We are all flawed and there are neither perfect parents nor kids. Parents mostly learn on the job in their quest to raise awe-inspiring kids.
But once in a while, it is important to pause and take a long scrutiny at our parenting tactics.
If we squint and look long enough, we may be able to spot the innocent mistakes that may have slipped through the cracks.
Do you have any innocent parenting mistakes that you uncovered along the way? Indulge us in the comments section.