When it comes to parenting, you can often feel like you’re living in the amazing world of bad parenting. The good news is that we’re not talking about one or two innocent slip-ups. There are so many bad parenting memes and quotes and jokes out there. But what actually is bad parenting? And what are the signs you should look out for? Top 10 tips for common mistakes that parents make, and how you can remedy them now.
1. Not giving your children enough time
We know that life is hectic. From juggling work, housework, keeping up with your friends and family, negotiating school vacations, trips, and after school activities, it’s easy to spend all day rushing. But this is the number one most common parenting mistake people make.
Children need to have at least 15 minutes a day where they know you will talk to them and they’re your only priority. They need to know they can talk to you, that you will play with them, and that you’re there for them.
2. Not expecting children to help around the home
It’s easy to assume that you have to do everything for your children – but the truth is that as they get older, children are more capable of helping out with chores and daily tasks. If you shield them too much from doing things around the house, you’re unfortunately going to end up with entitled children who expect everything to be done for them.
This might feel like you’re being mean, but actually encouraging your children to help out around the home will allow them to grow into self-sufficient and capable adults.
3. Not doing things together as a family
It’s important for children to feel like they’re part of something greater – whether you’re a single parent family. Children learn a vast amount from how people interact. So showing them how you operate as a family, and how they have a place there, is a great way to show them more about how the world works.
4. Not spending time for themselves
If you want your children to understand how to grow into healthy and happy adults, it’s important that you demonstrate that “good parents” means taking care of the needs of the adult too.
Make time for yourself so that you can be 100% committed to the time you spend parenting. This doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time, but allowing yourself to be the fullness of all your interests – and not just a parent is a crucial life lesson to pass onto your children.
5. Not spending time with your partner
This could come under taking care of yourself, but it’s so important we thought it worth restating. While you might think that being a 100% devoted parent is the best way to avoid being a bad parent, the opposite is actually true.
It’s important to make time for your romantic partner if you have one. Give yourself the opportunity to have a life outside of your children – it’s a key way to ensure that you can enjoy your life as a parent and a person.
6. Not setting boundaries
A fundamentally tricky thing to negotiate as a parent is to make sure that you have established boundaries and then sticking to them. You might have some reticence to set rules in place – particularly if you had a challenging relationship with them when you were a child.
But children appreciate knowing that there are rules and boundaries in place so that they know what’s expected of them and how to do well.
7. Not giving children the right kind of attention
It can be easy as a parent to fall into the trap of being a nag. When you want to correct a child’s behavior, however, it’s just as essential to highlight the things that your child has done well and to praise them for it!
In most cases, a child is hoping only to please the adults around them, so by encouraging and supporting them when they behave well, you’re likely to increase the child’s interest in performing well, rather than highlighting their misbehaviors.
8. Not teaching children to deal with their emotions
Learning how to have feelings isn’t just something that we’re born with. Good parents help their children to talk openly about the full range of their emotions and help their kids to know what to do with them.
When it comes to the lesser socially acceptable emotions – and particularly anger – it’s crucial that you allow them the opportunity to discuss it with you and know that you’re on their side. Remember: this isn’t about problem solving for your kids, but simply being a compassionate ear.
9. Not being good role models
You’ll often find that children are what they see – which means that you need to present a role model of an adult for your kids. No pressure! Jokes aside, it’s important to know that it isn’t just in the moment that children will mimic your behaviors. In fact, you’re likely to pass on behaviors and attitudes that your children will absorb like a sponge – and then repeat in ten, twenty, or fifty years time.
A positive role model, like being good parents, isn’t about being perfect. Instead it’s about facilitating the necessary behaviors to help them develop into mature and responsible adults.
10. Allowing poor habits to develop
It’s always much easier to prevent a habit from developing than it is to change a habit once it’s there. To sidestep chaos, it’s a good idea to nip bad habits in the bud early so that your children know that certain behaviors and attitudes aren’t acceptable.
Whether that means getting them in the habit of making their beds in the morning, or of having a nighttime routine that they do every day, helping them with habits and routines now isn’t only a way to ensure a happy childhood. Instead, it will allow them to focus on the things that matter most to them, and grow into successful and well-adjusted adults.