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Ten Parenting Mistakes That Can Negatively Impact a Child’s Future

Ten Parenting Mistakes That Can Negatively Impact a Child’s Future

When these beautiful gifts of children are born, parents often fantasize about the life the child they have brought into this world will have and all of the great things they hope them to accomplish. Being a parent is in no way a simple task. Parenting is a complex, full-time job that is very different for every family. There do seem to be some common characteristics shared by families whose children go down the wrong path in life, however. Unless you want to stop saving for your child’s college tuition and start saving for bail money and attorney’s fees, avoid these ten parenting mistakes that can lead to a future of despair, educational and professional struggles, and even a life of crime:

Overprotection

In a world where the news is plagued with stories about murders, child abduction, human trafficking, gruesome results of drug and alcohol abuse and a society with one of the world’s highest incarceration rates, parents are more worried about protecting their children now more than ever before. Teenagers whose parents are overprotective seem to be worse off and at higher risk for getting into trouble than those with parents who treat them like responsible human beings. The teen learns quickly whether or not their parents will not allow them to go to a party, or to the mall with friends, and when the teen already knows a parent is too overprotective to allow them to do all the things their friends can do without a second thought, they begin to become secretive out of necessity and learn to be excellent little liars. The teen whose parent forbids them from doing simple things like talking on the phone, or going on the computer without being under constant surveillance, will cause them to question their parent’s authority when they see that their friends’ parents are not as overbearing. A teen’s first authority figures are their parents. A parent that abuses their authority with their children will cause them to lose respect for other authority figures, and question the authority of other important adults in their life such as professors and police officers. Don’t be the parent who shelters your child to the point of rebellion. It never works out well for anyone, especially the children.

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Lack of stability

Children that come from unstable homes are exposed to more adult behavior and situations then those that come from stable living environments. Children whose families do not follow schedules and make general plans for how the family will incorporate each family member’s respective schedule and commitments can be left feeling as though they are not important or not valued enough to have their needs acknowledged at home. As a parent, knowing and anticipating what your child will need to do their best at school, sports and other extracurricular activities is important to their progression as a responsible and independent adult. Kids or teens who have to assume the parental role when their parents have failed to provide money for school events, supply the child with the resources and materials necessary to complete school assignments, or provide the transportation to get the child where they need to go will usually seek out their own solutions for these unfortunate situations their parents have put them in. Teens that are forced to develop a hustler’s approach to life will replace long-term goals with short-term goals without fully realizing what they are doing. When a teen has been forced to find a way to quickly earn cash, or find a last minute solution to a problem, they are preparing for a life of crime without even knowing it; not a prosperous life that will come with long term problem solving and planning techniques. Don’t force your child to be their own parent, and be consistent—don’t pick and choose when you feel like being a parent; be a parent all the time or don’t be a parent at all.

Being your child’s best friend

Everyone has seen the effects of children whose parent desperately wants to be their friend rather than their parent (just look at Lindsay and Dina Lohan for a very public example). There are many psychological factors that are involved in this type of parental behavior. When your child begins to think that their parent is their friend, the parent loses much of their authority as well as their child’s respect to some degree. A teenager needs boundaries, and without an active parent close by to set those boundaries, they tend to set their own. Be a parent and educate your child on the consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Do not be so concerned about your child liking you that you forget to protect them from a situation they do not know they could be in danger of encountering. There is a big difference between being overprotective and not being protective at all. Be aware of that difference, and be a parent, not a codependent “friend”.

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Medicating your child

In an age where there seems to be a pill for everything that ails you, parents should take an investigative approach to their child’s health. When a doctor tells a parent that there is a pill that will quell hyperactivity and make their child easier to deal with, they should err on the side of caution and do their own independent research prior to forcing them to take psychotropic drugs. Find out what your child’s doctor wants to prescribe, what the side effects are, and what the natural alternatives to synthetic prescription drugs are. Teaching a child that there is a pill to cure everything will create the mindset in your child that they should medicate themselves every time they are facing something difficult. It is easy for a teen who has been medicated their entire life to have the misconception that they can swallow a pill and their problems will disappear. This idea can quickly translate from taking a prescribed anti-depressant like Prozac to experimenting with dangerous drugs, such as opiates like oxycodone or common street drugs such as ecstasy. Remember, the main difference between the prescription ADD drug Adderall and meth you would find on the street is basically just a prescription pad and an orange bottle from a pharmacy. So when your teen’s doctor quickly prescribes your child “Amphetamine Salts” (aka Adderall) look up what it is instead of just feeding it to your child without question. Being a parent for eighteen years is very challenging. If you don’t feel like you can raise a child without drugging them to keep them docile, you probably shouldn’t have kids in the first place.

Lack of accountability

Not holding your child accountable for things like lying, cheating, stealing and other inappropriate behaviors will surely instill an attitude that the rules do not apply to them. When children are consistently held accountable for their actions from a very young age, they quickly learn about consequences for inappropriate behavior. By that same token, they learn about the positive results that appropriate behavior yields. Making a child understand that they will lose the freedoms and privileges they have earned if they steal or lie will instill a cause-and-effect thought process for the child’s future behavior. Not immediately coming to your child’s rescue once they have acted out in such a way that has brought about negative consequences will also help to create a sense of accountability. They will quickly learn that they are in the undesirable situation because of the choice they made to act inappropriately and now it is up to them to get themselves out of it. When teens learn this concept early on, they are less likely to make poor decisions later on in life that can land them in jail, or worse. Children that are not held accountable by their parents early in life are often held accountable as adults later on, only by much less forgiving authority figures such as police officers and judges.

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Closed communication

Letting your child know that they can come to you to talk about anything is just the first part of creating an open door for communication. If you want your children to open up to you, you must also open up to them and make them understand that they won’t be judged if they come to you with a problem. If you notice your child might be experimenting with drugs or alcohol, initiate an open conversation about when you were their age and you faced the same challenges and temptations. Don’t just tell them that you were offered drugs and you turned them down because you have always been a perfect person. Tell them about a time that you made a mistake and the effect that mistake had on you and on your future. Starting a conversation in a manner in which you bring yourself down to your children’s level where you can relate to them and this challenging time in their life will create a family environment where open communication is rewarding and not just an awkward challenge that results in a lecture. Closing the doors to communication leads to teens discussing important decisions with peers, who are also facing the same difficult decisions and cannot give sound advice because they haven’t lived long enough to understand the impact that the decisions they make as kids will have on their future as adults.

Tell them everything is bad for them

Parents who choose to take the fear monger approach to parenting might as well start saving for bail money during their first trimester of pregnancy. When parents try to instill fear in their child by telling them in one breath that watching a rated R movie will cause irreversible harm to them and also that drugs will ruin their lives are creating doubt and conflicting opinions in their child’s mind. When a teen is told that something like adult themed movies, music and video games are equally as harmful to them as becoming involved with drugs, alcohol, sex and criminal activity, they are more likely to view the truly harmful behavior you have warned them of as harmless. Once they realize that an explicit Eminem album or violent Call of Duty video game never actually hurt anyone they begin to question everything you have told them to avoid. If the parent were to make a clear distinction between behavior that is frowned upon by some, and truly dangerous behaviors with things like drugs, alcohol, and sex, this can be avoided. Rather than to take the lazy parents approach of labeling everything with the blanket statement of “No you can’t because it’s bad for you”, choose your battles wisely in order to keep your children safe without going too far and losing their respect.

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Forbid them from doing anything you think is violent

While this approach of sheltering your child from violence seems like the best approach to avoid having a violent child, it is not. Children who grow up in homes where they are not allowed to play with certain toys that resemble weapons like cap guns or light sabers, or play violent video games, or watch violent movies will still engage in these behaviors; they will just wait to do so when the parents are not around to tell them no. Children who are shielded from these type of items and media that is deemed as violent by the parent will still engage in the behavior and will more likely develop an obsessive attitude towards things that have been forbidden in their home. They are going to be exposed to violent movies and video games at friends houses and even in shopping malls, so the logic behind the notion that saying no to the new Grand Theft Auto 5 game is going to somehow keep them from being exposed to it and other things like it is inherently flawed and will only strengthen a child’s desire for these types of things, taking it to an unnatural level. The most violent television show in existence today is the news, so unless you want to keep them from learning what what the real world is like by banning the news as well, preventing them from witnessing violence is impossible. Rather than trying to censor everything containing fictional depictions of violence, be a parent and teach your children the difference between right and wrong in real life. This approach will yield much more positive results in the long run.

Being a hypocrite

Telling your child that a certain type of behavior is unacceptable and then carrying out the same type behavior you have forbidden them from doing right in front of them is a recipe for disaster. Even though drinking a glass of wine with dinner is quite different than polishing off a bottle of tequila, your child may not understand the difference. If you want your child to develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, then you should by all means have a few extra drinks instead of drinking responsibly in their presence. Telling your child that lying and stealing is bad and then not being honest about getting incorrect change at a cash register or not being charged for an item you put in your cart at the grocery store is very contradictory behavior; and you are displaying a public example of the same behavior you are advising your child against. Instead of just accepting a mistake like this as good fortune, be honest and let your child see how you live by the same rules you expect them to live by. Your child will respect you more when you lead by example, and will be more likely to follow your direction.

Never letting them grow up

Attempting to keep your child in a preserved state of adolescence will cause them to want to grow up as fast as they can, and leave them ill prepared for adulthood when its time to move on to college. By treating your teen like a baby you are just asking for them to engage in attention seeking, adult behaviors. Teens whose parents treat them like children in a very adult centered world will do more harm than good. Instead, embrace their transcendence into adulthood and explore the next stage of your relationship with them. You can’t stop your children from growing up, and trying to do so is not only futile, but also extremely detrimental to their emotional growth as an adult. Trying to prevent your kids from growing up is very selfish, and will negatively impact nearly every aspect of their life.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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