Friday, June 10, 2011

Top 10 Common Mistakes Parents Make

1. Too much junk food.

Junk food is convenient. It can be used to pacify an irritable child and is used as a reward for good behavior. As adults, many of us self-medicate with food. Often, we teach our children these same behavior patterns and reward with treats. To break this habit, start rewarding yourself and your child in other ways.

2. Not reading to your child often enough.

Reading is one of the easiest ways to spend quality time with your child. It is free, teaches valuable lessons about a wide range of topics, and fosters a strong imagination. Reading to children should be a daily habit. Begin reading to your child from birth and continue into the teen years.

3. Formula feeding.

Infants need breast milk, not formula. In the rare instances that a woman cannot breastfeed, formula is available. But, for most women, there is no physical limitation to breastfeeding. Ear infections, infant hospitalizations, and many other things could be decreased significantly in our society if more women chose to breastfeed for longer. Why start your child off on what is second best nutrition? Give them the best from the start and you will see the benefits immediately as well as long term.

4. Being too strict.

Children need guidance and need to know that the adults are providing them with security and love. They do not need drill sergeants. Too many limits and too much control will build resentment in children, which will often boil over in the teen years. Lighten up and give your child some age appropriate control over their own life.

5. Being too permissive.

The flip side of the overly strict parent is the overly permissive parent. A parent's job is to provide structure. No structure is a recipe for disaster. Children need limits in order to feel secure. Letting your child call all the shots puts too much responsibility on the young person's shoulders and not enough on your own.

7. Too much pressure.

From potty training, to school work and sports, kids feel the pressure to perform from their parents constantly. Take the focus off the end result and teach your child to enjoy the process. Learning can be fun if the focus is not on getting the highest grades in the class. Likewise, sports are great for children, as long as the parent isn't focused on creating a little super star.

8. Not teaching responsibility for one's actions.

So many parents swoop in to clean up their child's messes. Whether that mess is toys all over the floor or a difficult homework assignment that didn't get completed, parents can do more harm than good by trying to fix everything. Children need to learn how to take responsibility and take steps to correct their own mistakes. If a young child wets his pants, he should be responsible for clean up. Even toddlers who are in the middle of potty training can remove their own wet pants and redress themselves. Older children should learn how to admit their mistakes, make amends if they have to, and move on.

9. Talking negatively about a child when he can hear you.

A parent should never say anything negative about their own child when that child is within earshot. If you have had a rough day because your kids were being kids and you need to vent to someone, do it when you know they can't hear you. If a child hears the parent's negative comment, he will internalize it and believe that about himself for a very long time.

10. Forgetting to tell your children that you love them.

This one seems like common sense, but it really is not for a lot of people. Parents should never stop telling their children they love them. Kids that don't hear this growing up will have doubts, especially when they hit rough patches in their lives. Say it every day. Say it more than once a day and give them a hug while you're at it.

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Published by Lucy John
Lucy is thrilled to be realizing her dream of freelance writing. She got her start at AC, has branched out into a few other content writing sites and has now started to expand into print media.   View profile


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