“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.” —P.J. O’Rourke
Being a parent comes with a package of happiness and surprises along with stress, confusions, and tensions. But isn’t it also the most exciting part of it? We all think parenting is something that comes naturally and we are seeing it happening in the case of all the other organisms except humans. At first, we try all the tricks and tips inherited from our elders. And when we fail miserably we turn to friends or co-workers for expert advice and start taking all the WhatsApp forwards seriously without checking for its authenticity, hoping that it will maximize our chances of raising happy and confident children. When we finally realize the mistakes that we made, the effects caused by our ‘experimental parenting’ would have already become irreversible. You are lucky if you are reading this article as you are going to save a lot of trouble in the future. So, let’s consider some common parenting mistakes and some ways to avoid them.
Appreciating your kids for their achievements, big or small, will definitely have a positive impact on them. People generally find no harm in giving kids praise every now and then. But remember that it is not always beneficial in improving their behavior, motivation or self-esteem. In fact, overpraising will make them self-centered, praise-dependent and over-competitive. The best way to avoid this is to understand what your kid likes to do and support them in a realistic and positive manner. Praise your children for their qualities and good efforts over which they can exercise control rather than for their achievements. Words do matter and they create a positive impact only when used appropriately.
It is a natural instinct for a parent to keep their children safe. But, sometimes it is possible for parents to get anxious and be over-protective thus making kids struggle to do things for themselves. Allow them to learn from their mistakes and most importantly allow them to follow their instincts and make mistakes. We should also allow them to take risks, handle complex emotions such as anger and disappointment and also to become responsible for their own actions. This will make them mentally stronger and emotionally stable to face real-world problems.
Anger is a normal human emotion and it is normal for parents to get angry towards their children. But when the intensity of anger increases and causes physical or mental pain to the children, it will leave a negative mark on them. Verbal abuses often leave children in a ‘fight or flight’ mode. It may even damage the connection you have with them in the long-term. You need to understand that your child doesn’t act out deliberately to make life difficult for you and you don’t want to do something stupid as you get blind by your anger that will make them feel more miserable. Be patient and be consistent while dealing with your little troublemakers.
Dreaming for Children instead of letting them Dream
It is quite common in our culture to expect children to accomplish the dreams of their parents. We use epics and historical stories to remind them that the ultimate aim of their life is to make their parents proud and happy. Each child is unique and we are being unfair when we hope them to fulfill our expectations. We need to make children understand and embrace themselves. Let them identify their passions and chase independently towards them.
Lack of empathy
Some parents show sympathy to their kids when they are hurt physically and when they are hurt emotionally. Parents need to understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. Empathy is about listening with an understanding of other’s feelings and experience. Parents can use empathy effectively, showing your child he’s loved for who he is. This could boost self-esteem in your child, making them more confident to face challenges in a long term.
You might be thinking that all humans would have these issues. Yes, no one is perfect and no one is an expert. As a parent, we should also learn from our mistakes. Even though we embrace learning from our mistakes, keep in mind that even the smallest mistake from your side can possibly affect your child in a very serious manner. So, be a quick learner when it comes to parenting. Be a model for them. Since each child is unique and special in their own way, they require a more balanced and consistent parenting approach. Understanding this and incorporating it into your parenting, can yield long-term effects making your kids self-reliant and responsible individuals, who will make you proud without you demanding it.
First Published at Creative Moms Hub