We all want a happy family. The truth of the matter is that none of us are perfect parents. Life happens. We are all only human and therefore we are bound to make mistakes. I don’t believe that any mistake that we make bothers us more, causes us to lose more sleep then a mistake we make with our children. It is important to realize and understand that making a mistake or two doesn’t make you a bad parent. We all parent with our best intentions trying to keep in the forefront of our minds what is in the best interest of our children, sometimes we slip up.
Here is a list of some of the most common parenting pitfalls. This list is to prove to you that you are not the only parent in the world that has done this, to make you aware if you are doing it and to help you stop it. I am guilty myself of all these pitfalls, but knowledge and awareness helps me correct myself and to better communicate with my children.
Pitfall #1: Being your child’s friend and not their parent.
This pitfall I believe in large part is due to the society that we live in. All to often parents want to be the cool parent. They want their children to talk to them, confide in them, feel as though they are so cool it is alright to be seen in public with them. Guess what, your child has enough friends, their own age. What they need from you is guidance, rules, restrictions. They need to learn the difference between right and wrong. Be not only the adult, but be the parent. Your child will appreciate that so much more.
Pitfall #2: Lack of quality time.
Notice that the key word there is quality. We as parents are very busy working trying to make sure that we are providing our children with everything they need. There is nothing wrong with that, but in our efforts to meet materialistic needs we overlook their need to have time with us.
This is why I am firm believer in family dinner. The entire family sitting together and sharing the last meal of the day gives everyone a chance to talk, enjoy good food and enjoy time with one another. Making your children the focus of the dinner table, talking about their day, school, friends. This helps build a good line of communication and helps the children know that they are important to you.
Pitfall #3: Inconsistency with rules and punishments
Do what you say you are going to do. If they break curfew and you have told them that there was a punishment for that, then when they break curfew enforce that punishment.
If you have more then one child, make the rules the same. If it isn’t okay for your 12 year old to sit on the couch with their feet in it, then it isn’t okay for the 9 year old either.
Don’t just tell them that they are going to lose a privilege or be grounded… take away the privilege or ground them. If you were to talk to my son, he can still tell you about loosing his game cube for three weeks for not brining home good grades. We haven’t had a bad report card since.
Pitfall #4: Over talking your Child
Unfortunately we parents, as adults feel that we have all the answers to what is going on in our children’s lives. Well, we have “been there, done that and got the t-shirt,” is important that we remember that our children are people to. They need the same respect we ask of them. If your child is trying to talk to you, let them talk.. Let them say what it is they need to say without you interrupting and finishing the sentence for them or worse dismiss what they have to say as unimportant. If you want your child to listen to you, then you do need to listen to them.