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10 Bad Parenting Habits That Need to Stop

By Life, Family Fun Team


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Bad parenting habits can have harmful effects on the emotional well-being and development of children. Such habits may hinder a child’s ability to thrive in life, so it is crucial for parents to understand and address these patterns. Breaking away from the parenting habits that have lasting negative impacts can encourage positive interactions and help empower children to live up to their full potential.

10 Bad Parenting Habits That Need to Stop

10 Damaging Parenting Habits to Avoid

1. Not Really Listening

Parenting is challenging, especially when both parents are part of the workforce. Although it’s difficult, avoid the habit of tuning your kids out as they talk.

Giving responses like “That’s nice” or “Wow, interesting” when you aren’t really listening leaves a child feeling unheard and cause an increase in negative behaviors.Instead, take a moment to stop and really listen to what they are saying.

2. Waking Up When the Kids Wake Up

Unless your children are toddlers, there is no reason to get up at the same time they do. Depending on your lifestyle, plan to get up early and get things accomplished before the kids wake up or sleep in on weekends while your kids learn to manage themselves independently for an hour.

Believe it or not, kids as young as four can accomplish many of the following tasks themselves in the morning:

  • Using the bathroom
  • Getting a snack to hold them over until breakfast (such as a granola bar or piece of pre-peeled fruit from the fridge)
  • Turning on the TV or playing quietly to entertain themselves.

Not only do parents get an extra hour of sleep using this method, but it can also help the child learn to be partially independent and respectful of others—even if it is just for an hour.

3. Breaking Promises

The biggest parenting no-no is breaking promises. Not only does this teach children that they too, can break promises, but it may cause your kids to lose their trust in you.

4. Giving In to All Demands

While it might seem like bad parenting to deny your child anything, the opposite is true. Children need to learn that they aren’t the center of the universe and how to compromise with others from an early age. It is okay to say no when they want something outrageous and okay to tell them that they need to wait until a later date for a certain demand.

5. Shielding Kids from All Hardships

All parents want their kids to have a happy and carefree childhood, and while it’s irresponsible to expose them to every hardship, it is okay to expose them to some. Small hardships can help the child learn empathy and prepare them for adult life.

Some Hardships to Introduce to Your Child

  • Mentioning that you don’t have the money to buy something they want.
  • Explaining to your child that you work hard for the money you earn.
  • Letting them know that other families may not have the resources they are blessed with.
  • Discussing that some people in your lives may not always be there, such as grandparents, and that the time they have with them should be valuable.

6. Pushing Kids to the Max

It’s okay to expect your child to learn and grow, but it’s important that they aren’t pushed too hard. Trying to force a child to succeed at everything can leave them feeling lost, confused, or as if they aren’t good enough for their family. Take the time to set realistic goals with your child, and ensure they understand realistic expectations, both of themselves and others.

7. Giving Kids Too Many Choices

From a young age, a child needs to learn to make decisions. The issue, however, is giving them too many options can be overwhelming, and this can teach a child to fear decisions.

It is recommended that children be given just two choices until they are four or five years old. Giving them the option between these two items helps them feel in control of their lives without overwhelming them.

Basic Choices Children Can Make for Themselves

  • “Do you want to wear the purple or the blue shirt?”
  • “Do you want apple juice or water with dinner?”
  • “Do you want cereal or eggs for breakfast?”
  • “Do you want to watch TV or play on the iPad?”

8. Not Letting Kids Make Mistakes

Children often make bad decisions, but unless they are making a decision that will cause them physical harm, allow them to do so. Making bad decisions is part of life, and it is better for them to make them now and learn from them while they have an adult who can easily rescue them when things go wrong.

Constantly stopping a child from making a poor decision can cause them to resent you, or worse, can lead to rebellion in later years. Instead, give your advice, let the situation play out, and then help them reflect on their poor decision afterward.

9. Over Complimenting

All parents are proud of their kids, but over-complimenting them can be incredibly damaging because the child learns to expect and rely on praise. In a situation where they don’t receive it, they can feel ashamed or as if they did a bad job. Focus on teaching your child to be proud of themselves in every situation, complementing them only on special occasions.

10. Telling Them What to Do Instead of Showing Them

Kids learn best by following examples. Instead of telling your kids how to behave, show them. Volunteer in your local community and bring the kids along, and always treat others with respect; one day, you’ll notice your kids do the same—without having to be asked.

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