7 Parenting Behaviors That Stop Kids From Growing Into Happier Adults
A loving parent can hardly do anything to hurt their child intentionally, but sometimes the “innocent” things parents do can turn out to be harmful to their daughters and sons. It may feel so rewarding when you can buy any toy your kid wants at the store, or when you suddenly let them stay up late at night to watch another episode of their favorite show. It’s so tempting to be the “good parent,” but these are traps we shouldn’t fall into.
We at Bright Side tried to find out which common parenting behaviors could poorly affect our kids’ lives, and here are 7 of them explained by the experts.
Always trying to save our kids from failure and risk
For many parents, seeing their kids trying to tackle a problem can be a real challenge, especially when they know they can easily solve this problem for them. But if you keep trying to keep your kid’s life free from struggles, challenges, failures, and risks, how will they ever learn how to deal with this (absolutely normal!) side of life on their own? The tough and risky situations we are trying to save them from actually teach our kids crucial problem-solving skills, and, what is also important, kids learn how to get back on their feet after they fall.
Living our lives through them and ignoring their own potential
Our kids have so many more opportunities than we had when we were their age, and it makes it so tempting to try and live the precious moments of our childhood again, through our children. In fact, many parents fall into this mind trap and they vicariously live out their dreams through their kids, trying to bring back their own missed chances. This behavior can undermine the dreams and wishes of the child, not letting them fulfill their own potential and grow into successful and happy adults.
So, is it your daughter who wants to become a professional singer, or is it... you?
Sometimes it can be so tempting to buy your kids all the things you, as a child, didn’t have. Today we can give our kids so much: piles of fancy clothes and toys, loads of gadgets, lavish parties, and vacations. It may sound like the perfect childhood, but it’s just an illusion. According to parenting experts, there can be several reasons why parents may want to overindulge their kids:
- They feel guilty, because they can’t spend much time with their kids, and they try to compensate for this lost time together by buying gifts.
- They are afraid to “upset” their kids and become a “bad parent” by saying, “No.”
- They don’t know how to deal with kids’ tantrums and try to solve this problem by buying things.
So why is it bad for kids? Overindulging can make kids think that material things are crucial for being happy, and as adults, they may start to feel that they simply can’t go without the latest gadget or the fanciest car. Material possessions can become their symbol of social status. What is more, when kids get piles of gadgets, toys, and clothes, they usually don’t take very good care of them when they get broken or torn, and it makes them value things less.
Breaking our own rules
Setting rules, but then changing your mind and breaking them can turn you into an inconsistent parent that shows weak leadership. According to experts, this inconsistent behavior can lead to kids growing into adults with “unstable core selves and weak identities.” In the future, they may have difficulties defining who they are and they may feel insecure. So, being a consistent parent who knows how to take a stand is crucial for growing a happier child.
Being a “bad role model”
Parents who don’t practice what they preach are being “bad role models” for their kids. When you teach your child how to behave and then do just the opposite, blaming them for not following your rules turns into blaming your reflection in the mirror. It’s not just our words, but also our behaviors that teach our kids what is right and what is wrong and we need to be consistent and behave the way we want our kids to behave.
Underestimating their learning difficulties
When your child spends too much time solving a mathematical problem, don’t rush to label them as lazy or unmotivated. Sometimes our kids may experience learning difficulties that do not depend on their effort and motivation. These can be difficulties with the speed of processing information or memorizing things, for example, and they can turn learning into torture for your child. If you notice that your child is struggling while learning, asking an expert for help can be a good idea.
Competing with our partner to be “the best parent”
You’ll have a lot of chances to win the parenting game when you and your partner are working as a team. Unfortunately, sometimes parents start to compete to be the best parent for their child, and this is a road to nowhere. When one parent is constantly trying to outshine the other parent, it can eventually hurt their relationship and negatively affect their kids’ lives.
Another issue that often happens between the parents is overcompensating for each other. When one parent is strict most of the time, the other parent shows more relaxed parenting behavior to balance out the situation. Eventually, this “good parent” vs. “bad parent” game can make children want to manipulate their parents, and it can make your parenting style inconsistent.
Do you practice any of these behaviors with your kids? Can you add any other points to our list? What is your secret to being a good parent?