The Top Parenting Fails And How To Avoid Them
Parenting is something you'd imagine humans would be more evolved to do. We've spent billions of years raising our children, and yet we make mistakes all the time. Perhaps it's because our instincts aren't tailored to the modern world. Whatever the case, we make mistakes. Our hormones and emotions override the logical way to raise our kids. It happens. Here are some of the worst mistakes, failures, and examples of what not to do as a parent.
Making Empty Threats
You have probably seen it in a store. A kid is misbehaving, and the parent responds by giving them empty threats. "I'm going to count to three; you better stop it before I reach three. One…. Two…" and then nothing. There is never a three.
If you keep giving a child empty threats, they're not going to take them seriously. We all know that person in real life who is all talk, no action. You laugh every time they threaten something because they don't follow through.
Your child will listen more if you follow through on your directives. Do not threaten to ground them. Ground them.
Living Through Your Kids
We all make mistakes growing up. Maybe you did not go to college, and now you regret it. Perhaps you wanted to join a sports team, but you never had the encouragement. For some parents, having a child is a way to have another chance at life. Your kid can experience things you never got to do, and it's a way to bring closure.
But there is a limit to it. Your child isn't a clone of you; they have their interests, too. If you get upset because your child doesn't want to choose the same career or do the same hobbies as you, don't let it. Instead, try to fill the holes your way. It is never too late.
Not Letting Them Do Chores
There are a lot of young adults who are inept at doing chores. They are unable to do basic tasks such as laundry, cooking, or washing dishes. One of the reasons this may be is because their parents never asked them to do chores.
Perhaps it's because when the parents were kids, their parents treated them like miniature servants, and they don't want their kids to live like that. But there is a balance you can achieve. You shouldn't make your child work like a dog around the house, but making them do chores on occasion, as well as letting them clean their room, can teach them valuable life skills.
Don't let your child grow up to be that person who can’t take care of their surroundings. Show them how to clean the kitchen after they are done cooking. Teach them how to fold their clothes and organize them. Make it fun, too!
Allowing The Screen To Raise Them
When television became mainstream, it was almost a godsend for parents. TV shows can keep children entertained, letting the parents do whatever they need to do. The same applies to the video game console, the computer, the tablet, and so on.
There's nothing wrong with your child watching a few shows or playing a few games. The problem is letting them do it all the time and making the screen more of a parent than you are. We all know the story of a parent who let the screen raise the child unsupervised, the child who saw something that wasn't appropriate for them, and then the parent that got mad at the program instead of at themselves for not watching the kid.
You don't have to supervise your child 24/7, but have a good idea what they're watching, and have a conversation with them about it too if they see something inappropriate.
Losing Control Of Your Emotions
Parenting is stressful, especially if there are other factors in your life. If your kid is annoying you, and you have bills, job concerns, and other troubles to manage, as well, the stress and frustration can build up. You can't take your anger out on your boss or the electric guy for charging too much, but you can take your anger out on your child, right?
Don't. Being intimidating or yelling at your child is a sign you are not in control as a parent. Worst of all, it can negatively impact your child's life. It may sound therapeutic to yell at your child, blame them, and punish them, but it's not something you should do. They may get anger issues as a result or become intimidating as well.
When you feel the anger rising, stop, take a deep breath, and find a way to calm yourself down. A good authority figure will not be shouting at you to do something, but instead will give directions in a cool, calm manner.
Being A Helicopter Parent
The hardest part about parenting is that it requires a balance. You shouldn't let your child run around and do whatever they want without any supervision, but at the same time, being too restricted is not good at all. Children of helicopter parents may go into the adult world with no life skills, or they might be so rebellious that they'll take so many risks and potentially ruin something great.
So, what is the balance? When should you let a kid play outside without you hovering around them to make sure they don't get a scrape? When should you let a teen be a teen, and when should you make them come home before curfew? We could write an entire article on this subject alone. If you feel like you're too overbearing, let your kid make a few risky decisions within reason. Obviously, they shouldn't venture into the woods unsupervised, but let them play with their friends outside for a while.
Setting A Bad Example
We all know of hypocritical parents. We've seen the mom who lights up a cigarette in front of their child and says, "Don't do this." We all know of parents who fight in front of their children. Everyone has their bad habits, but when a child sees the parent doing them, they will want to repeat it, regardless of if a parent tries to discourage them. If you smoke, hide it from your kids, or quit altogether. When you fight, don’t lock yourself in another room where you're still in earshot in front of your child. Consider what unappealing behaviors you engage in and how to keep your child from replicating them, to the best of your abilities.
If you have multiple kids or your friend has a child whose behavior is better, it's hard to resist comparing your child's sibling or friend to them. "Why can't you be more like your brother?" Adding competition to your child's life can be damaging. They may grow up feeling inferior and may resent their sibling for being a favorite. Instead, point out the good traits in all of them. Life may be competitive, but you should teach your child to strive for success, not put them down for being inferior (according to your own standards).
Not Using Positive Reinforcement
Humans tend to showcase the negative and avoid the positive. When your child is misbehaving, you punish them. However, when your child does a good deed, you shrug it off. That is not something you should do. When your child does something desirable, reinforce that behavior, possibly by praising or rewarding them. Don't spoil them and buy them a toy every time, but give them a hug, a high-five, or something else they enjoy. Finding the good in life is a great lesson to teach your child.
Spoiling Your Children (Or Being Stingy With Money)
Again, parenting requires balance, and here is a case where two extremes can be detrimental for the child. We all know of the spoiled child. The one who cries for something, and they get their way instantly. This is obviously not an effective way to parent. The child may grow up unprepared for the real world and overly dependent on others.
However, never letting your child have a treat isn't that good either. Your child may grow up to be stingy themselves and never show compassion for another person. Reaching the balance is hard. Another thing you should teach your child is financial literacy. Explain to them that you cannot buy them everything they want because of money. Do not be afraid to talk to your kids about the real world and the differences between wants and needs.
Not Seeking Family Therapy
For some parents, the idea of having a therapist handle a parenting situation is a sign of failure. However, you have to understand that it does take more than one or two people to raise a child, and a child psychologist or a family therapist will know more about how the child's mind works than you may and can provide solutions to help both the parent and child. And as we said, parenting is a balance, and a therapist can help you achieve said balance.
For busy families, online therapy may be an excellent resource. Online therapy platforms like Regain enable users to schedule appointments with a counselor at convenient times, and they can meet from any preferred location with a secure internet connection. This means that parents seeking therapy for parenting-related issues can do so discreetly, without having to take time off of work or parenting itself. If you’re struggling to be a reasonable parent in the moment, you can even text your therapist directly for advice or reminders.
Online parenting therapy has helped many people improve their parenting skills. In one recent trial, 12 parents participated in an online intervention designed to improve their mood and coping skills when taking part in parenting activities. By the end of the online therapy intervention, parents experienced increased psychological flexibility, emotional regulation, and coping skills.
A person's childhood is a substantial influence on how they will be as an adult. There will likely be times when you catch yourself engaging in parenting behavior that you don’t support or that is not reflective of your values, and that is understandable. The key takeaway here is to do your best with what you’ve got. By raising your child properly, you can help them succeed, and when you’re ready to invite a caring, professional online therapist into your support network, you can reach out to Regain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Signs Of Bad Parenting?
It is never too late to change one’s behavior with their children. People are not perfect, and first-time parents especially may not be well-versed in fulfilling their child’s every need while still punishing them when appropriate. Parenting fails do not mean that parents should give up on their responsibilities.
While certain funny parenting fails do exist, parents should understand the real importance of caring for their children. Whether you want to educate yourself, know a parent, or are a parent, here are a few possible signs of bad parenting and some parenting tips to go along with them:
One of the worst signs of bad parenting is when an authoritative figure ignores their child’s desire for attention. A child wants constant love and acknowledgment from guardians. If parents neglect their children, the child may feel that the fault lies within them. As a result, they could lack self-confidence in their adulthood years. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that their child is getting the proper care they deserve.
Alternatively, by always making decisions for a child, the child may not learn how to become independent. It is natural for parents to want to ensure their child is safe. However, hypervigilance can result in a parenting fail, such as parents overly embarrassing their kids. While this parenting failure could be considered hilarious parenting, it is also important for parents to allow their children to handle certain situations independently. There should be trust between parent and child. If the parent cannot trust their child to resolve their issues, they may not trust themselves to become independent and rely on their parents too much.
Lack of rules
Parents may also consider disciplining their children when they are exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Without taking disciplinary measures, children may believe that they can do anything without consequences. Parents may need to establish firm, enforced rules for their children to follow to learn appropriate behavior.
Is It Too Late To Fix Parenting Mistakes?
It is probably never too late to fix parenting mistakes. Every parent has likely felt a tinge of regret about some way in which they raised their child. Some may have thought about how they wished they spent more time with them instead of working, while other parents may recall fails funny parenting that they feel were embarrassing to their children. Hopefully, these parenting fails funny moments can instead eventually be viewed as good memories with one’s children. However, parenting does not end when a child goes off to college or moves out for the first time. Parenting is a lifetime commitment that neither child nor parent will forget.
Children may remember when their parents got into fights often or engaged in risky behavior, like belligerent drinking or aggressive driving. Some individuals may believe that their parents cannot change and think they want to face life without parental support. But many people are capable of recognizing their faults and changing their attitude in response. There may be some hilarious parenting moments that could also be interpreted as serious parenting failures.
Furthermore, it is important not to forget about true epic fails. Epic fails, such as a throwback to holiday parent moments in which children may have felt neglected, are important to acknowledge. By learning more about holiday parenting fails, and other parent fail moments, a parent can show their child that they care for them in the present moment and acknowledge past mistakes while atoning for them.
Before anyone can move on from their parenting mistakes, they may need to forgive themselves. If you genuinely believe that you can still be a good part of your child’s life, or if a child thinks that their parents are redeemable, then try to forgive them and yourself. Many people advise that life is too short to hold onto regrets. Both parents and their children can look back to holiday parent parenting fails and funny moments or reminisce about when they were both innocent and maybe a little misguided.
How Do You Recover From Parenting Mistakes?
The first step in recovering from parenting mistakes is acknowledging the past problems and using the knowledge to look toward trying harder in the future. Holding yourself to an impossibly high, perfect standard can make it much harder to find ways to move on with life.
Parents may have to move on from both a serious parent fail to hilarious parenting moments. It is okay to look back on the past and remember who you were before, as long as you move on with your life in the present. Remembering that children are still people, who deserve apologies, amends, and time to accept or reject new attempts to be in their lives, gives them the agency they deserve.
Parents may have made mistakes raising their children because they did not have good role models as parents themselves. Children in dysfunctional families are not often taught healthy coping mechanisms that result in emotion control. As such, parents may feel shame for the issues that their adult children are experiencing, even though these unhealthy patterns are often cyclical and buried deep in subconscious habits. However, there is a chance that the parent may have had failed funny parenting moments that did not affect their child’s growth.
If a parent truly feels they did their best, they should also give themselves a break. A parent whose child feels stressed can consider helping their children by learning to forgive themselves, which may help the parent openly discuss their past, take responsibility, and make apologies. Parents can also ask others for help and receive advice that explains how they can support their adult children.
What Should You Not Do When Parenting?
Parenting involves more than what’s advised from self-help books and blogs. However, there are some types of negative behavior that you can try avoiding during parenting moments. Be wary of the following negative behaviors and warnings of what you could be doing wrong or forgetting:
- You are not rewarding your child for good deeds: When your child does something good, acknowledge their behavior and provide a reward. While it is good to point out your child’s mistakes, if that is all you do, then they may feel that they cannot be good enough for you. By acknowledging both their mistakes and good behavior, they may respond by improving their faults and focusing on better behavior.
- You show restlessness or excessive anger in front of your children: While parents are allowed to rant about their day, they should not complain or express too much displeasure in front of their kids. Children are always watching their parents. If their parents are feeling negative, then children could emulate the behavior. No matter how you feel on any given day, try to show your child the importance of focusing on the positives in life even when you are at a low point.
- You always side with your children: Parents want the best for their children. They want to root for them when they succeed. But they should also criticize children for inappropriate behavior. If a teacher criticizes your child’s behavior, but your child disagrees, and you support your child, then they may feel that it is okay to be rude to somebody. If you support your child no matter the circumstance, they may act out by pushing boundaries and expect to perform inappropriate behavior without consequence. You should explain to your child when they are in the wrong and why it is not okay to disrespect someone.
What Is The Most Psychologically Damaging Thing You Can Say To Your Child?
When taking care of a child, these examples of psychologically damaging things are major parenting fails:
Do not lie to your children: When raising a child, a common rule to follow is to not lie to children. Parents should try to be forward with their children about as much as they can. This not only helps build trust between parent and child, but the child will gradually learn more about the world’s joys and tragedies.
For example, if the family pet passes away, instead of telling the child that the pet went to an upstate farm, explain that the pet is no longer alive, if appropriate; an explanation of the truth can depend on the child’s age. If the child is young, then simplify the reasoning. If their grandparent passed away, then a parent can explain that she had an illness that could not be cured or take the opportunity to ease the child into the concept of death.
Furthermore, always acknowledge your child’s feelings. If your child admits to you that they fear something, then do not wave away their emotions as if it were nothing to worry about. Instead, reaffirm your child’s feelings and show them that you will always be there for them.
Never threaten to abandon your children: One terrible way to lose your children’s trust is by threatening them with abandonment, even if you do not intend to leave them. Threatening your child with the prospect of leaving them may make them think that there is a chance that you will not be there to them. Some parents may act as though they would leave a child when the child throws a tantrum about wishing to stay where they are, but this could backfire into separation anxiety and fear of abandonment.
What Is A Toxic Mom?
A toxic mom could exhibit behavior that makes children feel guilt or a sense of obligation for their parents during a holiday parent failure or other parenting moments. These behaviors could range from acting overly self-centered to deliberately manipulating the people around them. Since a child’s family has such a significant impact, the child may incur lasting side effects from toxic parenting.
Adult children may have internalized their parents' treatment of them as normal because they thought their parents were doing what was best for them during parenting moments. Some children learn to rationalize physical or emotional abuse (of themselves or between domestic partners) as deserving it, and this is never okay. If you suspect that you or a loved one could be living in an abusive situation, consider calling the domestic violence hotline 1.800.799.SAFE.
The behaviors of toxic parents can deeply harm young children. While it should not be on the child to feel responsible for a parent's behavior, older children who may be coping with toxic parents can try to set boundaries with them. If you are a child trying to live with potentially toxic parents, consider trying resources at teencounseling.com.
If a parent suspects that their child mistrusts them, they could take the opportunity to evaluate themselves and make better decisions that can benefit their kid in the long run. Hearing a phrase like toxic applied to parenting could be a wake-up call. If you fear turning into a toxic parent, consider listing attitudes you want to improve on your own or consider seeking therapy from a licensed professional.
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