As parents, we all wonder if we are doing things right or if we are messing up our kids. At least I hope we all think that and it is not just me. But seriously, we try our hardest, pray lots, and cross our fingers that our children will actually grow up to be God honoring adults with above average character.
With this ever increasing thought of failure, I have done my best to talk to the most successful parents I know, to bring some mistakes that will cost you further down the road. Some are no brainers and some are pretty eye opening, not because we don't know if we think about it, but because some of these mistakes are so easy to make. Some of these mistakes honestly go against what we consider good parenting because we want happy, healthy kids right?
Well yes and no. We, most parents, do want happy kids, but sometimes, we have to be willing to sacrifice our child's happiness for their future well being. Not sure what I mean, well let's ger to the point of this post and discuss these parenting mistakes.
Take Up for Them
I know this really goes against our mommy grain, because truly what mom wants to see her little ones suffer injustice? Not any mom that I know, but before we morph into mamma bear, we need to stop and consider. Will allowing my child to suffer this injustice hurt them permanently? Of course, I am not talking about abuse or anything in that context, but rather in the fact of your child getting looked over for first chair in the band, not getting the absolute adoration that your child just deserves.
Maybe the injustice is dealing with a teacher who really doesn't like them. Instead of taking offense and giving that teacher or child a talking to, why not take the time to teach your child how to respond correctly to injustice? Teach your child to forgive, pray for the person that doesn't like them, and learn to reciprocate good for evil.
This is a very difficult lesson to learn at any stage of life, but it is so necessary! What one of us can truly say that we in the adult world have never dealt with mean people and unfair circumstances? None of us can say that because life truly is not fair, and you are doing your child a great injustice to teach them that it is or to always make things perfect for them.
One day, you will not be around and they will need to be able to deal with injustice and unfair treatment in a Christian manner. So instead of Mamma bear on the rampage, become a mamma bear diligent in teaching your little ones how to deal with life.
Give Them Everything They Want
This is another hard one because it is in our nature to want to give our children everything they want. We want to give them the latest thing they desire just to see the smile that comes across their faces. Or maybe it is just me, but I love giving my little ones things they love just to see them smile. But I have to learn to curve that desire because this tendency will produce a spoiled, entitled child.
So instead of giving them all their hearts' desires, teach them to work for what they want. Give them different ways to earn extra money so that they can buy what they want. This not only teaches a good work ethic, but it will also make them appreciate things more because they realize what it cost. Children who have to work for what they have, take better care of what they have and are more thankful when they do receive something special.
Giving In Because They are Tired
Sometimes, we are parents feel badly for our children because they have had a really long day and are tired, so we let things slip. Oh they are tired, so the evening chores got missed or I;m going to let them sleep in and do their chores for them because they have had a long week. This is really nice sometimes and much appreciated by the child.
The problem lies when this becomes the norm. When you let everything slip because they are tired or you allow them to have a bad spirit because they are tired. I hate to mention this, but as adults we are tired a lot! Especially if you are in the middle of the little years taking care of babies and toddlers, but this doesn't mean that I can talk to my babies or toddlers ugly because they woke me up. No, I have to control my spirit and fulfill whatever need they may have.
So as a parent, raising children who can handle life, you want to make sure that you are teaching your children to work through tiredness and control their spirits. Tiredness is never an excuse to shirk our duties or be ugly in our speech.
Make Them Do Difficult Things
In life, there are a lot of difficult things that challenge our abilities. We want to teach our children that the best things are worth working for. Teach them to be diligent and persevere until a job is accomplished. Yes, it may be a difficult job, they may need to learn a new skill, but teach them to not stop until the job is done, and it is done right.
If you think about it, you want your child to be successful in the business world. If you teach your child to be consistently diligent and persevere when things are difficult, you are giving them a life skill that will make them very successful with whatever vocation they choose.
Instead of quitting when things are difficult or just not fun anymore, they will figure out what they need to learn to get the job done. They will then lean it and do the job excellently. What boss wouldn't hire and advance a worker like that, knowing that whatever is thrown at them, they will perform it with excellence.
Let Them Go Into Debt
I know this sounds crazy, but just bear with me. So let's say, you do make your child earn their own money for wants, but they want something really bad, and they want it right now! So instead of just saying no, advance them the money with interest and don't make it easy for them!
Teach them how difficult it can be when you allow what you want to control you and how it can cause you to make very bad decisions. Being in debt to a parent isn't damaging to their future, but giving a child a credit card without any prior training can be devastating. So way before, you get to that stage, teach your child how to save, give, and spend money. Teach them the consequences of hasty choices. Teach them to learn to wait for things they want.
I mean truly, isn't that what most debt is, not all, but most debt is purchases that we just couldn't wait to have. We couldn't possibly sit on the floor and wait three months to save up for the living room set we want. We want it now, and we end up living pay check to pay check strapped by our bad choices.
Teach your child to go beyond that and give them the freedom that they will have by learning to wait and be patient.
Do Everything for Them
This is actually the only parenting mistake that I do not make on a daily basis because I do not want to have to pick up after four people by myself. I would much rather train my little ones to be responsible for their own messes. You can read this article on how to teach your children responsibility without all the nagging.
As your children get older, they should be gaining more and more responsibility. There should come a day before they turn 18 that they can solely run a household. They should know how to cook, clean, iron, do laundry, and take care of basic house maintenance, yes even if they are boys.
You definitely don't want to raise a boy who can't do anything for themselves because number one what if they never get married. I would hate to see that house and you can only survive on Ramon noodles so long, if you know what I mean. Also, your future daughter in law will thank you that you taught your son how to do pretty much take care of everything.
There are real situations like sickness and recovering from child birth that your son will probably have to step in and do most of the cooking and housework by himself, so you might as well prepare him for it.
Shield Them from Consequences
This one can be especially hard, because as parents we don't want our children to suffer, but this is vital to their growing up. They need to learn that every action they do has a consequence some good and some bad. You want to teach them to learn to think through these consequences before they decide on an action.
Some things that help with teaching them this is to use natural consequences. For example, you have a little one that plays very rough with their toys and they break one. Instead of you rushing to replace the broken toy, you tell them that you are sorry but that is the consequence for being so careless with their toys and don't buy them another one.
Another example would be always bringing them things that they forget. If they are constantly forgetting their lunch, let them go without lunch for a day. If they did their homework in unacceptable penmanship, make them take the time to redo it, even if it means that they don't get to do something else more fun.
Figure out Everything for Them
This is another difficult one because it is hard to see your little ones struggling to do things. Instead I want to tell them exactly what they need to do and how to process a problem. In the beginning, this training is quite necessary, but as they get older, you also need to take a step back too.
Instead of constantly telling them what to do or think, ask them questions that will lead them to the right conclusion. Not only will this help them to learn to properly analyze and think things through, it will also give you insight into how much moral knowledge they have stored in their memory. By things that they say, you will begin to notice different areas you need to give them more knowledge.
My favorite parenting book series, On Becoming Childwise, has several chapters dedicated to helping you give your child moral knowledge and how to process if they are actually getting what you are teaching them.
So in conclusion, we all make mistakes, and we will probably even make some of the mistakes listed above, which is okay. But I want to encourage you to continue to walk with God and allow Him to teach you how to become the parent He wants you to be!