10 bad-parenting habits — are you guilty?

Stop committing these simple but bad parenting mistakes and make being a happy parent your way of life.

Ever looked in the mirror and wondered what’s happened to your once-fun-loving, jovial, carefree self? You aren’t alone. Parenting can be so challenging and draining that it’s sometimes necessary to bury our former fun selves and unleash a nagging, stricter persona. 

If parenting feels joyless and you’re feeling overwhelmed and disappointed with how things are going more often than you’d like to admit, it’s time to make some changes. 

At the end of the day, what every parent wants is to see smiles on their children’s faces. But in order for that to happen, mum and dad need to first find happiness within the turmoil that is parenting. You’re 10 steps closer to making this a reality when you ditch these bad habits. So, today, stop:

1) Needing to always be perfect

We live in an age where making your child breakfast deserves a picture and a social-media post, so that you’ll get a pat on the back for being an attentive parent from 400 of your “closest friends”. This makes parents who are juggling long office hours, a cranky kid and a house that resembles a war zone feel even worse about themselves.
"Learn to embrace your parenting mistakes as genuine paths to growth. Enjoy the effort you are putting into raising happy children and becoming a happier person yourself.”
Remember that parenting should not be a contest to decide who is more perfect. The kids don’t have wear colour-coordinated clothes daily or eat organic at every meal, just so that you can feel like you’re a good parent. All they really need is your unconditional love and attention. 

By the way, don’t feel like you’ve got to nail being a great parent every moment, either. If you didn’t get it right today, tomorrow is a brand-new day to try again. To quote sociologist and happiness expert Dr Christine Carter, who wrote Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, “Learn to embrace your parenting mistakes as genuine paths to growth. Enjoy the effort you are putting into raising happy children and becoming a happier person yourself.”

2) Having no limits

Everyone relies on mum at home as most mothers keep the household ticking smoothly even while they work full-time — by staying on top of school tasks and events, planning meals and organising play dates, notes marriage and family therapist Dr Hana Ra Adams.

While you may look like you can have it all, at some point, you will run yourself ragged, fall ill and become easily frustrated by the little things and project that onto the people around you.

Psychologist and family therapist Anoushka Beh, who runs her own practice, advises mothers to look after themselves as this will help them care better for their families in the long run. And don’t be afraid to ask for help — it doesn’t make you less of a mother.

3) Unhealthy self-sacrifice and guilt

“Mum guilt” is a real thing as you feel like you should dedicate every minute to your brood. Even when you get a chance to enjoy some “me time”, your first instinct is to do something to benefit the family, such as trying a new recipe or catching up with laundry.

“It’s really important to find the right balance between being a mum, the other roles you’re playing and also find time for yourself,” Beh notes. “You need to keep your own ‘well’ as full as it can be if you want to keep nourishing your ‘village’.” 

4) Keeping score

If you and the hubs have an imaginary score sheet to keep tabs on who is doing what, tear it up now. It can hurt your marriage as it will make you two adversaries instead of team players.

Instead, Beh encourages you to think about how much you’re banking as a team. “In a partnership, there will always be a multitude of ways in which partners are contributing to the family — some of which are less obvious than others,” she explains. Stay focused on what unites you and all the things that you’re both doing for your family.

Six more bad parenting habits to stop right now!