7 Damaging Parenting Habits

Written by Yinka Bakare

7 Damaging parenting habits that keeps children from growing into fully equipped adults.

1, we don't let our children experience low level risk. We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The safety first is the  name of the game, so we do everything we can to protect them. It is our job after all,but when we insulate them from healthy risk taking behaviour it has an adverse effect. If a child does not play outside and is never allowed to experience falling off a bike or being hit by a snow ball,they can have phobias as adults. Our kids need to fall a few times to learn its normal, and to learn good methods of how to get back up. Teenagers will also need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend in order to get to understand emotional discomfort. These are the steps that lead to the maturity needed for lasting relationships.

If parents remove to much risk from a child's life then the is likely to be an arrogant adult at the end of the line with a low self esteem, as an adult.  

2, we rescue too quickly, young people today have not been able to develop some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago, because parents swoop in and take care of problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and over indulge our children with too much assistance, we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and learn to problem solve on their own. This is parenting for the short term and it misses the point, of the trial and error of life to equip our young people to do things with out our help.  

Sooner or later kids get used to someone rescuing them so if and when they fall short, we will be there to smooth things over and remove any consequences for their misconduct.  

In reality this isn't remotely close to how the world works and therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.  

3, we rave too easily, the self esteem movement has been around since the baby boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. Attend any junior football game and you'll see that everyone is a winner. Everyone gets a trophy, this might make our kids feel special,but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences. Kids eventually observe that mum and dad are the only ones that think they are awesome when no one else is saying it. If it is not evidence based kids begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents. It feels good in the moment but it's not connected to reality. So when we rave so easily and disregard poor behaviour, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie to avoid a difficult reality, they have not been condtioned to face.  

4, we let guilt get in the way of leading well.  

Our children don't have to love every minute, with a little help kids will get over disappointment, but they won't get over the effects of being spoilt.  

So tell them no or not  now, so they can learn to fight for what they really value and need.  As parents we tend to give them what they want when rewarding our children, especially if the is a divorce, single parent or a  weekend parent or with multiple kids. When one of our kids does well in something, we feel it's unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses an opportunity to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent upon our own actions and good deeds. If we allow our relationships to be based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.  

5, we don't share our past mistakes.  

This is quite a big one and I fully understand the challenges associated with revelling our own mistakes to our kids, but this would not happen until they are in their teens, and we can select which ones we give.  

Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they will need to try things on their own. We as adults must let them, but that doesn't mean we can't help them navigate these waters. We can share with them the relevant mistakes we made, when we were their age. In any way that helps them learn to make good choices. 

Kids must prepare to encounter slip ups and face the consequences of their decisions. We can share how we felt when we faced a similar experience, what where our actions, and the resulting lessons learned.  Here is a major point that we must not forget, we are not the only influence on our kids, but we must be the best influence.  

6, we mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity.  

Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child's maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That is not always the case, some professional athletes and Hollywood starlets for example possess unimaginable talent but still get caught in a public scandal. 

Just because giftedness is present in one aspect of a child's life don't assume it pervades in all areas. There is no magic age of responsibility or a proven guide as to when a child should be given specific freedoms, but a good rule of thumb is to observe other children the same age as yours. If you notice that they are doing more themselves then your child does, you may be delaying your child's independence.  

7, we don't practice what we preach  .

To help them lead a life of character and become dependable and accountable for their words and actions. As the leaders of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words, the so called white lies will surface and slowly erode character it would be better to say nothing than a lie. Watch yourself in the little ethical choices that others might notice, because your kids will notice too. If you don't cut corners, for example they will know it's not acceptable for them either. Show your kids what it means to give unselfishly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or with a community group. If you can leave people and places better than you found them, your kids may well take note and do the same.  

 Thank you for reading this, so until next time take care.