We all want the best for our kids. We want them to grow up strong, confident and kind young adults, so we hope that the way we parent will help them stay on the right path from childhood to their the teen years.
Still, no parent is perfect, and some seemingly innocuous parenting practices can actually do more harm than good.
Bad parenting habits can be hard to break ― worse, these are often passed from one generation to the next. How often have you found yourself uttering phrases to your child once made by your own parent that you had vowed never to use?
So, it’s always a good idea to keep your parenting techniques in check. Start by taking a look below to check if you’re guilty of any of these.
Bad parenting habit #1: Overreacting
Your tot spills half the bottle of chocolate milk on the kitchen counter and you immediately fly into a rage. What this does is to make your child feel guilty, so they burst into tears, which aggravates you even more.
On the other hand, if you respond calmly, saying, “Oops, but looks like you’re okay, right? Come let’s clean up the mess together,” your little one will likely respond in kind, and probably skip wailing altogether.
Bad parenting habit #2: Criticising all the time
We often use criticism as a way to try to improve our kids ― or so we think. Frequent criticism can lead to defiance and being secretive. Worse, junior might withdraw, which will certainly damage your relationship with him or her.
If you’ve experienced the negative effects of frequent criticism at the workplace or even in your friendships, then you’d know how demoralising and helpless you can feel.
Consider how a young child would feel if you constantly pick on their faults instead of focusing on their accomplishments. Instead of zooming in on “why did you get so many questions wrong?” in junior’s last exam, spend more time celebrating the difficult ones that they got right, instead.
Bad parenting habit #3: Complaining
Sure, parenting isn’t easy. Ever since you became a mum, you might have griped about how tired you are, how you don’t have any more free time, or how expensive it is to raise kids.
A parent who complains constantly creates an unhealthy environment to grow up in. Speaking negatively in front of your kids can cause them to feel stress and anxiety, even if they weren’t before. It can even lead them to wonder if they are the reason why you’re so tired, and if you feel you’re better off without them.
Bad parenting habit #4: Breaking promises
Trust is key in every parent-child relationship. You want your toddler to be able to trust you when you tell him that the persimmons are delicious ― you also want your child to trust you when you assure him that you’ve got his back when he encounters school bullies.
Kids naturally trust that their parents have their back ― start by keeping those little promises you make to them. If you promised him a trip to the zoo next weekend, make sure you keep that promise. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and don’t break the ones you make. Otherwise, you’ll soon lose their trust.
Speaking negatively in front of your kids can cause them to feel stress and anxiety, even if they weren’t before.
Bad parenting habit #5: Speaking ill of others
Badmouthing your spouse, in-laws or even your boss in front of the kids is never a good idea. The way you speak about others can easily alter his perception of that person. Even if you think the comment is harmless (“Aunty Lynn’s house is such a mess!”) ― he may start to question that person’s character, which can damage his relationship with her.
Bad parenting habit #6: Hovering too much
Do you do your child’s homework? Do you tick off the list of friends he’s allowed to play with? Parents can be guilty of hovering too much ― or what is known as “helicopter parenting”. They fret over possible negative outcomes because they don’t want their kids to experience failure.
Bad parenting habit #7: Overscheduling
You might think that packing junior’s day with activities and classes will stand him in good stead for the world ahead of him. But overscheduling won’t benefit him. Besides feeling pressured and exhausted, your little one may start to feel stress and anxiety, well before he is able to cope with it.
Giving junior adequate downtime is important as he learns to deal with boredom, exercise his creativity, and learn to manage frustration. It also provides more windows of opportunity for you to bond with your child, and get to know him better.
Giving junior adequate downtime is important as he learns to deal with boredom, exercise his creativity, and learn to manage frustration.
Bad parenting habit #8: Not setting rules
Involve your children in making the rules, and agree on the consequences if they don’t follow these guidelines. Make sure that you’re consistent in enforcing those consequences.
Bad parenting habit #9: Comparing
As tempting as it is to compare your child with her siblings or her best friend, don’t. It can cause stress, as well as a low esteem. When your child loses confidence, he can become withdrawn or shy, as he feels that he has nothing to be proud of.
Bad parenting habit #10: Over-pampering
As much as you want to give your child the world, and more, indulging a child excessively can cause adverse effects. Giving a child whatever he wants, whenever he wants can give your child a sense of entitlement.
He’ll have a tendency to take everything for granted, doesn’t make the effort to do anything on his own, and is obstinate when he doesn’t get something he wants. You’ll also find that he has a shorter attention span ― for instance, even when he has the entire Transformers toy collection, he would lose interest in them shortly after playing with them.
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