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10 Modern-Day Parenting Mistakes You Should Avoid Making (And How To Handle These Challenges Instead)

10 Modern-Day Parenting Mistakes You Should Avoid Making (And How To Handle These Challenges Instead)

Everyone thinks they are expert parents, except when it comes to doing some parenting themselves!  How many times have we shuddered as a child throws a tantrum in the supermarket? We probably think, ‘parents these days haven’t got a clue.’ But, more often than not, that poor parent is actually trying to establish some limits and we should be less disapproving and more supportive. Here are the top 10 modern-day parenting mistakes that you see all the time. Time to face up to the challenges of positive parenting.

1. Mistake: You give in to have a quiet life

Supermarket owners are not really that parent friendly, I have discovered. After all, those candies and snacks are plonked right in front of the child’s nose at the checkout.

Mistake: Many parents give in because they have to juggle credit card, shopping, trolley and a screaming child. The only problem about giving in and hoping for a quiet life is that the child has learned a new strategy. This will be used again and again. It works!

The Fix: The best way to avoid any of this is to:

  • make sure that the child has had his snack before going shopping
  • avoid shopping with a child in tow
  • use delivery services as much as possible
  • lobby supermarkets to stop stocking checkouts with junk food

2. Mistake: You do not insist on limits

Mistake: If a child is spoiled and cosseted at every turn, the consequences will be that he or she will grow up as a rather demanding and selfish adult. If they encounter setbacks at school or later on in the workplace, the parent may well be to blame.

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The Fix: Emma Jenner, in her book ‘Keep Calm and Parent On’ has pointed out that there is a happy medium between being over strict and being far too lenient.  The solution is to make sure that there are limits and consequences for unacceptable behavior.

3. Mistake: You do not tolerate other carers who discipline your child

Mistake: I remember when a schoolmate of mine was punished for smoking in the school grounds. His father rushed to defend his son and blamed the headmaster and waged a war of attrition against him for many months afterwards. That boy grew up to be a heavy smoker and drinker. He is now obese. That was quite a rare event in those days but nowadays, parents rush in to stop people disciplining their children. Teachers and other carers have to be tread very carefully when reminding children how to behave and become responsible citizens.

The Fix: Parents should be reassured that others are watching and observing their children.

4. Mistake: You do not follow through on consequences

Let us say that you have established there are certain limits and there are consequences when these are not followed.

Mistake: The problem  many parents face is that they are not consistent in following through with the consequences. The result is that control is lost and the children start to take over.

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The Fix: Make sure that you apply the consequences as soon after the misbehavior and on a regular basis.

5. Mistake:  You do not empathize with your child

Mistake: Taking time to empathize with your child is a great investment. When things get tough at school or during homework, take time to express solidarity and sympathize. It does not mean you have to indulge your child or let him off certain tasks. But at least, when empathizing, you are connecting with your child. Now that is much better than yelling or just insisting that chores have to be done by a certain time.

The Fix: When kids get mad, emphasize that verbal communication is always more effective than reacting physically.

6. Mistake: You model your parenting on how your parents raised you

Mistake: This can take two forms. One is that if you were brought up strictly, then you are going to follow that pattern. The second option is to rebel against that awful disciplining and go to the other extreme, by letting your children run rings around you! It is interesting to reflect that the verb ‘to parent’ only came into existence in the 1970s.

The Fix: But parenting is not rocket science. It is just using common sense and ensuring that you do not have to beat your kids, yell at them, or use bribes. It also ensures that you are in control.

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7. Mistake: You set a bad example

Mistake: Parents are role models. If you fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, then your kids will assume this is normal behavior. Shouting, raging and insulting people will set a lousy example. Similarly, eating habits will inevitably be copied as unhealthy food is all that is available.

The Fix: Allowing children to make wise food choices is another great way to encourage healthy eating. Explaining why foods are good or bad is much better than simply labelling them as OK or off limits.

8. Mistake:  You do not spend enough quality time with your kids

Mistake: Are you really giving your kids your full attention when you spend quality time with them? Inevitably, it seems that devices of one type or another are competing with the kids.

The Fix: Switching off the computer, smartphone or even the TV is one of the best tricks out there, if we really want to spend quality time with your kids.

9. Mistake: You do not teach your kids patience

Mistake: Many parents want to put their kids first and forget about the importance of teaching patience. Every child is going to have to learn some coping skills when they have to wait.  Whether it is the bathroom, taking turns, waiting for the bus or long lines, every child has to learn how to be patient.

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The Fix: The best way is to mention that the task, game or whatever needs patience and remind them that it may take a long time. Teaching patience will reap immense rewards in adult life.

10. Mistake: You do not give your child guidance

Mistake: Parents tend to give lots of orders and instructions. Just think of the negative energy they are emitting. They spend so much time doing this that there is little time for engagement, making connections and empathizing.

The Fix: Now, if parents redirect and give proper guidance calmly, then this gives off positive energy.  Reminding them that the rule is X, we don’t do Y because of Z, and please do A instead of B, can be a great help.

Modern-day parenting mistakes can be easily avoided by setting limits and following through on consequences.  Above all, being there to guide, support and love your kids will pay handsome dividends later on.

Featured photo credit: Joy has a tantrum/Citril via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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