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5 Parenting Behaviors That Are Detrimental To A Child’s Growth

5 Parenting Behaviors That Are Detrimental To A Child’s Growth

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” – Anne Landers

Good parenting means that you are in it for the long haul. Think of sound, long term investments: they pay off handsomely. When we do that and avoid certain mistakes, the chances of our kids turning into decent, caring, and well balanced adults are much higher. Here are 5 parenting mistakes to avoid.

1. Making life easier for kids

The problem here is that kids may rarely experience frustration, disappointment or anxiety. This basically means that as they face adulthood, they are ill equipped for the ups and downs that life, work and relationships will inevitably bring.

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When they fail in a test or their team loses, we should be there to encourage and support, not prevent these things happening. Let us concentrate on the tools we can give them to cope with setbacks. Psychologist Madeline Levine says that we have to let toddlers fall when learning to walk. That policy has to continue as kids grow up and face other challenges.

2. Being careless about remarks

John Chirban, psychology instructor, at the Harvard Medical School has warned about careless remarks. Negative judgements or comments can have a lasting, harmful impact. Imagine the fallout from hurtful, uncaring and harsh remarks. These can adversely affect a child’s development and hurt his/her self esteem. Parents have to watch what they say and also be careful about body language.

3. Parents overpraise and overshare

This is the other side of the coin to being hurtful and insensitive to a child’s needs and worries. Here, parents tend to exaggerate with praise and they rarely praise the effort but tell the child that s/he is really smart, cute, good at sports and so on.

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According to research done at Stanford University, praising effort rather than talent in 1-3 year olds pays off. Five years later, they seem to be better able to cope with challenges and are more motivated.

Kids tend to overshare on Facebook too, which is another way of inflating the child’s ego. These kids are at risk of becoming unproductive, incompetent adults according to some experts.

Parents often tend to brush bad behaviour under the carpet. This is the perfect recipe for children learning how to lie and cheat to get out of difficult situations, rather than taking responsibility for their actions.

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4. Children are never at risk

“We mustn’t wrap our children in cotton wool, but allow them to play outside so as to better understand the opportunities and challenges in the world around them, and how to be safe.” – Ed Balls , Member of Parliament, UK.

There is an interesting article which explores the area of how many risks children should take while playing. Learning to take risks means gaining confidence but also learning about limits and boundaries. This has been echoed in the UK where the emphasis on allowing children to play safely outdoors is an integral part of the government’s Fair Play project. This project emphasises the need for kids to take risks and to learn how to manage them. This is a crucial element of growing up.

In one survey of 7- 12 year olds in the UK, over 50% said that they had been banned from climbing trees as it was considered to be too dangerous.

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5. Parents are unable to stop children nagging

Many parents are forced to give in to a child’s nagging when they want something. If we give in, the child learns that persistent nagging really does work and it will ruin any efforts for imposing consequences and setting boundaries later on.

I really like the solution in the Positive Discipline books written by Lynn Lott. The second time the child starts to nag with the same request, just say three words, “Asked and Answered”.

You can then explain that the question has already been asked and answered. You can even repeat what the child first asked and then repeat your answer, just to make it crystal clear! Now this saves you tons of time, you do not have to start nagging yourself or even start lecturing. You just establish this technique and be consistent in using it.

Parents are often seen taking the easy, fast way out but they are sowing the seeds for more and more trouble later on. Well worth investing in the tried and tested solutions above.

Featured photo credit: Catched kid/ Jordie Alvarez 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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

More About Living a Fulfilling Life

Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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