Unlike fixing a computer, how to parent your child doesn’t come with a user manual and parents are certain to make mistakes without even realising it. Here are some of the common mistakes of parenthood and how to correct them.
WORDS SAMANTHA TAN
Parenting is hard, period. No matter how many children you have, the intention to be the best parent ever never goes away. However, it is important for all parents to be aware of common pitfalls in parenting so that you can learn and grow on your parenting journey. Here goes!
1. Living vicariously through our children
All of us have something that we have always wanted to do and never did or never could, like a missed opportunity or a childhood dream. As young and impressionable children are, it is easy for parents to project their own hopes and aspirations onto our children and sign them up for various classes in the hopes that they will succeed at it. While is it great to expose your children to the many activities, try not to pressure them too much and instead ask them if they are happy.
2. Acknowledging that there is no perfect child
As parents, we love to hear good things about our children and preen proudly when it happens. However, what about when the feedback is negative? Parents often respond badly to anything negative about their children and tend to attack or blame the messenger, even when the intention is coming from a place of concern.
The truth can hurt but if we keep an open mind and listen
to other’s advice, we stand to benefit.
Intervention is always more effective when done in the early stages and it is easier to deal with a troubled child than repair a broken adult.
3. Wanting to be our child’s BFF
All parents want their children’s affection and love and so it is easy to give in to their child’s demands. But being a parent also means stepping up to the plate and doing hard things for the good of your children, for example, saying no to a new toy or taking away dessert until your child finishes his veggies. Seeking to be your child’s BFF will only lead to permissiveness and perhaps disrespect and dismissiveness from them in the future. Remember – you are a parent, not a friend.
4. Forgetting that action speaks louder than words
As your child is growing up and learning about the world around them, parents are often the one they look to for guidance on how to behave and respond. Hence, be the good example for your child as actions speak louder than words and don’t break your own rules.
5. Being an over-protective parent
By being overprotective, you sometimes prevent your child from making mistakes – that if handled well – provide valuable opportunities for learning and growing. Allowing your children to make mistakes and learn from them will give them the opportunity to mature and take responsibility for their actions. They will then realise that every action has a consequence and know not to make the same mistakes in the future. Letting them face challenges will also prepare them for the future in the real world where things do not always turn out as expected. They will learn how to handle their emotions and be more prepared to face adversity.
6. Being a tiger mum
Tiger parents are often pushy and focus heavily on achievements, academic or otherwise. While some children may flourish with this style of parenting, others may be heavily pressured and this will affect them for the rest of their lives. Research has shown that this can lead to severe anxiety in some children and they end up unhappy and rebellious.
7. Engaging in competitive parenting
In today’s fast-paced society, parents fear that their children will get left behind if they do not pull out every stop and help them to excel early. This is made worse when parents see other parents giving his child an advantage.
Do not engage in competitive parenting with others as
every child is different. What works for one child might not work for
another. Instead, listen to your child and focus on what he
needs, not what others are doing.
8. Disciplining your child when you are angry
If you want your child to grow up to be well adjusted and confident, discipline is necessary. However, avoid disciplining them while at the height of your anger. If you discipline your children when you are angry, the punishments that you mete out might be unreasonable or you might use excessive force. This will lead to resentment and bitterness from your children in the long run. Instead, if you have lost your temper or feel like you are on the verge of losing your cool, walk away and regain your composure before returning to your children to discipline them. This way, you will be able to see the situation more clearly and give out fairer punishments.