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The 5 Most Common Parenting Mistakes

Parenting is a process of continuous learning and adjustment, and no parent makes it through unscathed. Many mistakes parents make are easily recognizable and can be fixed right away, while others are only visible with the benefit of hindsight. But while no parent can be perfect, it is possible to improve one’s approach by listening to those who have been through it before and accepting the wisdom of others. You can never hope to be perfect, but you can do your best.

If you want to avoid some of the most common parenting mistakes, here are some important points to keep in mind.

1. Wanting your child to be perfect or very advanced: From the first year of a baby’s life, parents tend to keep track of all the milestones, celebrating every time the child is early for one and worrying when the child is late. We often become so desperate for our child to be ahead of the curve that we neglect to see them for who they are. Even children who are behind in many crucial categories have their own unique talents and special charms. Try to see your child for who he or she is instead of imposing unrealistic expectations.

2. Not practicing what you preach: The “do as I say, not as I do” approach might work for doctors, but it is not a way for parents to operate. You live with your children and spend a tremendous amount of time with them, and children tend to see and understand more than their parents realize, so you simply have to be a good role model. When you become a parent, it is time to set aside those old bad tendencies and selfish practices and to get serious about being the best person you can be.

3. Blaming children for things beyond their control: It is quite common for parents of infants and toddlers to become irritated and even angry when the child is inconsolable. In these moments, we may wonder why the child cannot simply settle down. What we must remember, however, is that young children often do not understand what is afflicting them, and fussing and crying are how they let us know that something is not right. This carries into the later years, when bad moods, general upset, and tantrums are often signs that something is not right beneath the surface.

4. Not being consistent: Children learn by repetition, and lessons usually do not take root until they have been received multiple times. And even when you do repeat the same lesson, it will not take hold if you are inconsistent about it. For example, if you stop your child from a certain behavior one day and are lenient about it the next, this will send the signal that you are not serious about your prohibitions. As a parent, you will learn that exceptions must be very rare, as children can turn exceptions into expectations very quickly.

5. Sending conflicting signals: Parents need to be like teammates. Everything they do should be part of a strategy that has been discussed and agreed upon in advance. If you do not do this, then there is a good chance you and your partner will be on different pages with various things. Early on, this will make it difficult for your child to learn the rules of the household. Later, your growing child will learn how to use the parents’ different tendencies to get what he or she wants. Avoid this by keeping the lines of communication between you and your partner open.

By Lisa Pecos

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