We all have a common goal to raise respectful, kind, confident, and thriving individuals. I am far from being a perfect parent, and I make mistakes that leave me disappointed at times. However, as parents, we try to prepare our kids by providing the right tools and teaching them good habits to help navigate them through life. Ideally, our goal is for our children to become independent, resilient, and strong-willed. Yet, to do that, requires teaching our kids good practices, by acknowledging our bad behaviors and committing to making changes. Displaying good habits encourages positive behaviors and helps us become better role models for our kids. Here are 7 Parenting Habits to Avoid.
A habit is something you repeatedly do, voluntarily and involuntarily.
7 Parenting Habits To Avoid.
1. Self Deprecating. What is self Deprecating? It is when you undervalue and belittle yourself jokingly or in frustration. Often, parents would speak harshly about their self-image, weight, and abilities by pointing out their flaws. We all experience bad days when we feel down or frustrated and say things we don't mean; "I'm so fat," "OMG, I'm such a bad parent." Speaking negatively about ourselves shows a lack of confidence and unintentionally gets shifted over to our kids. Instead of knocking ourselves down, we can focus on reframing our minds and using more positives words to encourage and uplift our spirit. Make it a habit to speak positively about yourself in front of your kids. It helps them develop positive attitudes and beliefs about their parents and selves.
2. Stop calling your kids negative names that are insulting or demeaning to their character. Putting a negative label on your child diminishes their self-esteem and ruins the parent-child relationship, causing them to withdraw. We often think of name-calling being these specific words such as "you're stupid," "you're dumb," and "don't be a loser," etc. Defamation can be simple as "you're lazy," you're a slob," or even calling your child "clumsy" and "ugly." We must be careful about the words we use to describe our kids. When you don't think they can hear, they listen, and their feelings hurt most of the time. Words are hurtful and can do extreme damage to a child. Try describing your kids using positive and uplifting words. Use positive labeling when talking to others about your child. Set a high standard and prepare them for the world by building their confidence and develop their self-worth.
3. Stop comparing your kids to their siblings or others. There is a lot of damage when you compare siblings or your kids to their peers. They always feel the need to live up to certain expectations and develop feelings of dislike/hate. Sibling comparison pins kids against each other, causing sibling rivalry. Comparing kids to their peers can put a lot of pressure on the child and trigger anxiety and stress. Instead, focus on your child's strengths and encourage them to be true to themselves and their abilities.
4. Avoid intentionally shaming or embarrassing your kids. We mean well when we share funny stories about our kids. However, what's funny to us as adults isn't necessarily funny to them. How often have you been in a situation where someone tells an embarrassing story about you that made you cringe in your seat, hoping it would end? That is how your child feels when embarrassing stories or pictures are shared, especially in front of their friends. It is more embarrassing to your teenage child than funny. Respect your kid's feelings of not wanting their life experiences shared. Young adolescence fears the judgments of their peers or being made fun of. Although we mean no hard, to our kids, it's doing more damage than good.
5. Watch age-appropriate shows. Movies that are considered inappropriate displays; violence, sex, bad behaviors, and offensive languages, which can negatively impact our kids. We often don't understand the negative impact a movie can have on a child, especially toddlers who are not exposed entirely to the real world. It can even be a family movie that is perceived as innocent and harmless, however not age-appropriate. I remember watching a children's movie with my son, and when a character died in the film, he had an unpleasant feeling. I asked him if he wanted to continue, and he said "no." I realized it was difficult for him to process the death and so I respected his request and changed the movie. Make it a habit to watch age-appropriate shows. Remember, our kids are still learning and sometimes find it challenging to process specific incidents. Save the adult movies for nighttime, when they are sound asleep.
6. Use the word "No" less. How often do you repeat the word no to your kids? For me, I used it a lot until I realized the language could negatively affect my child. My son would repeat "no" for almost everything, making it challenging to communicate. A little no isn't wrong as it prepares your kids for the outside world. Excessively saying no to every request is a habit that needs to be adjusted. Allow your kids the opportunity to be independent and explore so they can have learned experiences. After extensive reading and parenting webinars, I discovered that it became a lot easier once I lessen the use of the word “no”. Instead of saying "No" for every little thing, such as when my son wants to play while I am busy, I would say, "can we do it later..." or As soon as mommy is finish, we can play." By simply adjusting your language and responding differently, you can develop better communication making it a lot less stressful for both yourself and your child.
7. Stop not apologizing when you're wrong. Yes, avoiding apologizing is a habit that can pass on to your child. Some parents want to maintain the superiority status and believe it makes them look inferior and weak when they say sorry. Apologizing to your kids shows that parents are not too big to take responsibility for their own actions. Mistakes are standard errors committed by everyone. So don't be afraid to apologize. Apologizing teaches kids to take ownership and accountability. Make apologizing normal and build a stronger bond and a better family dynamic.