The Top Parenting Fails And How To Avoid Them

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated July 12, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC

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 for the parents out there.

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Empty Threats

You've probably seen it in a store. A kid is misbehaving, and the parent responds by giving them empty threats. "I'm gonna 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 threat. Don't threaten to ground them. Ground them.

Living Through Your Kids

We all make mistakes growing up. Maybe you didn't go to college, and now you regret it. Perhaps you wanted to join a sports team, but you never got a chance to. 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's 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's 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 housemaids, 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, teaches them valuable life skills.

Don't let your child grow up to be that person. Show them how to make a sparkling clean dish. Teach them how to cook and help out in the kitchen. Make it fun, too.

Letting The Screen 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 please. 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 saw something that wasn't appropriate for them, and then the parent gets mad at the program instead of at themselves for not watching them.

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 problems, and other troubles to deal with as well, it 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're 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, point at them, and even be violent with 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 someone who can direct in a cool, calm manner.

Being Overprotective

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 protective is not good at all. Children of overprotective parents will go into the adult world with no life skills, or they'll be so rebellious that they'll take so many risks that it ruins their lives.

So what's 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.

Being 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, do it in private. And we mean private, not lock yourself in another room where you're still in earshot in front of your child.

Picking Favorites

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 is damaging. They may grow up feeling inferior and may resent their sibling for being a favorite. Instead, please 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.

Not Using Positive Reinforcement

Humans love 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's not something you should do. When your child does something desirable, reward 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.

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Spoiling The Kid Rotten, As Well As Being Stingy

Again, parenting requires balance, and here is a case where two extremes can be bad 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 a good way to parent. The child will grow up unprepared for the real world and may depend 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 finance. Explain to them that you can't buy them everything they want because of money. Don't be afraid to talk to your kids about the real world at times.

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.

A person's childhood is a big influence on how they'll be as an adult. By raising your child properly, you can help them succeed.

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