Families are nature’s solution to the expensive, frustrating and exhausting job of transforming helpless children into independent adults. Though we all like to think of ourselves as good parents, some do this better than others. Here are some parenting tips for what great parents avoid:
I am Not My Parent
The best parents break cycles of unthinking parenting by consciously avoiding their own parents’ mistakes. Ruby Natale, professor of clinical pediatrics, points out the risk of mimicking an outdated parenting style: "Many people use the same tactics their own parents used, and a lot of times that meant using really harsh discipline."
That is Not My Problem
Great parents allow their children to face and overcome adversity and disappointment. Researchers in Social Development noted parents in many cultures letting their children struggle to gain autonomy and improve self-esteem. The best parents don't leap in to solve a child’s problems at every turn.
I am Not Your Friend
Parents often feel they must be their child’s best friend, when what the child needs is someone to set firm rules and apply rules consistently. The Parenting Assistance Line (PAL) states, “Consistency makes the child’s world predictable and less confusing. It frees their minds of worry about what might happen and teaches them accountability for their actions.”
I Will Not Choose For You
When reasonable, great parents compel children to make choices large and small. Children should learn to make decisions (clothes, food, toys) and enjoy the benefits or suffer the consequences of their choices. Sue Grossman, PhD, says this explicitly: “All human beings need to feel as if they have control over themselves and their lives...Children who do not develop autonomy are liable to remain dependent on adults or to be overly influenced by peers.”
The best parents respect their children as individuals, and take time to talk, cuddle and interact with them. To gain their respect, respect them. Ask their opinions. Never hit. Avoid talking down to them.
Do you have parenting tips for what to deliberately avoid doing with your child? Please share them with Kids Connect below.