There is no such thing as the perfect parent. No matter how much we want to believe we are doing our best, even the most insightful and dedicated parents are bound to make mistakes when it comes to raising children. Even people who consider themselves parenting professionals admit that they have experienced moments they wish they could erase.
Children are resilient though and while you can’t fully erase your worst parenting mistakes, you can avoid repeating them or even making them all together.
The Worst Parenting Mistakes
You Yell A lot
If you are the kind of parent that ends up yelling and screaming at your children, this part is for you. This behaviour generally stems from exhaustion, frustration and intense feelings of being overwhelmed. While your feelings are understandable, when you lose your cool, you aren’t doing any favours to your kids. In fact, the chances that screaming and yelling will result in a positive change in behaviour are slim to none. When you resort to constantly raising your voice, you are sending your children a direct message that clearly states that you aren’t in control, thus, taking away any authority that you may have.
How to avoid yelling
In order to avoid yelling, you need to learn more effective ways to handle your own emotions. While many of us find ourselves overwhelmed sometimes, this is no excuse for yelling and screaming. Learn effective strategies to avoid screaming, find an outlet and simply stop reacting in such a manner.
You are a Perfectionist Parent
A perfectionist parent sees everything their child does as not quite good enough. When you are stuck in this ineffective parenting cycle you know that your children have positive attributes and fantastic talents, you just want them to work harder at them. This is ineffective because this only teaches your children that you expect failure as they will never measure up to your high standards. They will start to wonder why they should even try. When a child is successful, perfectionist parents will often raise the bar insisting that their child can do even better in the future, rather than focus on their current achievements.
How to stop this cycle
To stop the perfectionist parent cycle, it is important that you create some distance between your expectations and your little one’s interests. Avoid putting negative pressure on them, stop scolding and hold back the criticism. None of these things will encourage your kids to do better. Adopting a positive attitude allowing your kids the freedom to explore their interests creates a much better atmosphere, conductive to higher self esteem.
You Behave Like a Martyr
Parenting from the stand point of a martyr is a terrible mistake. Parents who behave this way never want their children to feel distress or fail. This is the opposite of a perfectionist parent. If you work tirelessly to protect your little one from difficult emotions, you may find yourself doing their homework for them and getting into battles over their behaviour with their school. When you try to pave a pretty path for your children, you are sending the message that you don’t believe they are able to handle situations on their own. You are robbing them of their power. Children learn how to solve problems when they are given the space to fail. These experiences help them learn how to handle feelings of frustration and build resiliency. Making their life too easy, tackling all their experiences for them never allows your kids to build their own strength.
How to stop being the martyr
If you are a martyr, stop working so hard for your children. Allow them to feel frustration or unhappiness. Guide them on how to manage and deal with the feelings of failure but don’t completely shield them from these experiences. Give them space to build resiliency.
Being the parent that yells a lot, expects perfection or acts like a martyr are not paths you want to take as a parent. In fact, these are some of the biggest parenting mistakes you can make as they are all ineffective and prevent your children from truly flourishing. Make sure you learn to avoid these things and help them to grow in their own way.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!