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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

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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