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5 Common Mistakes Parents Make That Could Sabotage A Child’s Development

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When in their early formative years, children are way more impressionable and receptive to training, so parents have to be very particular about what upbringing their kids get since this could directly determine who they become later in life. Between infancy to when children reach adolescent, it’s a well-known fact that proper grooming accounts for much of the character or personalities they take on. Well-mannered kids are usually the byproduct of smart parenting while the reverse holds true for kids that turn out to be irresponsible. But no parent would admit ever starting out on this arduous child-rearing odyssey with the intention of grooming a brat. At least no caring and loving parent would think that. But though armed with the best of intentions, it so happens that parents make certain unexpected mistakes that hamper their children’s development and which effect they carry over into adulthood. To avoid some of these parenting flash points, it would really help to explore some of these common mistakes parents make that could sabotage a child’s development.

(1) Neglecting To Give Your Kids Sex Education.

Right from birth, kids do often carry about them a certain aura of stainless and incorruptible innocence. As a result, it would seem entirely incredible, if not heartbreaking, for mums and dads to ever imagine their little sweetheart ever contemplating something wrong, much less, indulge them. But as most parents would have probably learnt from Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father”, there would often come a time when this unforgiving life would try to snatch away all of their child-like innocence. In the nature of things, as kids grow nearer the age of reason, most likely, their 6th and 7th birthdays, their sense of wonder and curiosity about the world tends to triple and parents may find their kids asking forbidding questions that may spark conversations around topics they might be indisposed to having. One of such expected questions might be on sexuality, like “where do babies come from?” Any parent would almost definitely feel startled by such questions at first and it might appear far more tempting to dismiss them or postpone having this inconvenient conversation to a time in future when they are more mature and are able to handle it.

But it may not have occurred yet to you as a parent that a decision to hold things off a little bit more might actually do your child more harm than good, since they’re almost certainly going to get their sex-education one way or another, either from the media, friends or by doing the very act itself. Neglecting to have a heart-to-heart chat on sex with your kids might make them prey to child molesters too, as they might be unable tell when a touch is inappropriate and promptly inform you the parent. What’s more, as they approach puberty along with all the attendant signs, their sex hormones would hike up and then they might start having feelings or a crush on the opposite sex. And when in this randy mood, there’s no telling what they might actually do. You don’t want your kids being a part of the rising statistics on teenage pregnancies and teen dads and mums.

It is for these reasons it’s advised that parents have that awkward chat on sex with theirs kids sooner than later. You don’t have to tell them chapter and verse what exactly sex is or be far too vivid and graphical about it. And it doesn’t have to cover the very act itself. Only ensure whatever you say is age-appropriate.

(2) Expecting Too Much of Your Kids.

As with any life-long endeavor, child-rearing isn’t the glamorous affair many think it is. It can be trying at times. Kids can run the gamut from adoration to annoyance on their day. They may have a heart of gold and be motivated by the very best of intentions but often, their actions may not quite always measure up to our expectations. And then there’re the tantrums they throw if they can’t get their own way. They may also petulantly insist on having what they want when they want it without caring if you disagree. How frustrating. Amidst all these histrionics, it would be easy for any edgy rookie parent to flare-up and hurl a stream of invectives at them. But this is to be avoided at all cost as it might snowball into a rather recurring pattern of yelling, put-downs and emotional abuse that would retard a child’s development and quite possibly result in what psychologists call “borderline personality disorders” like a low self-esteem. Equally, children lack the mental maturity to accurately assess the things we say of them even when they appear visibly unreasonable. Hence, any hurtful remarks made about them may end up being deeply entrenched in their consciousness leading to an all-pervading sense of worthlessness in adulthood. In that case, you’d be a failed parent for raising a poor excuse for an adult. You’d want to avoid that, right?

In a national Parent Survey conducted by the early childhood research group ZERO TO THREE, it was found that most parents overestimate young kid’s ability for self-control, which results in what is known as the “expectation gap” Mathew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE, shed more light on the results of the survey explaining “Having realistic expectations for a child’s ability is critical for supporting healthy development and minimizing stress for both parents and that child” he added further “For example, if a parent thinks a child is capable of greater self-control than he actually is, it can lead to frustration for the parent and possibly more punitive – rather than- supportive responses”.

To avoid such scenarios, it might be a lot more effective to be an understanding parent and try to get your kids to see reason rather than find fault or give them a tirade of abuse. Remember they’re only kids. So try not to measure them by the yardstick of your own adult years.

Maybe it would really help you here if you could pick a copy Livingston Larned’s Classic “Father Forgets” with a truly touching message for today’s parents.

(3) Failing To Set Healthy Boundaries Could Ruin Your Kids.

If it makes them happy, why not?

Setting healthy boundaries for kids as a parent is the one aspect of parenting that could prove decidedly distressing for any parent. For the most part parents are often torn between pampering their kids and reining them in. Usually it’s the former they allow. As a result, what ensues could be something of a power tussle between kids wanting to get their own way every time and the mum or dad trying to keep them in check. And should your kids succeed in undermining your authority as a parent, they might become household warlords, answerable to no one but themselves. It’s child neglect to not set boundaries for your kids. Imagine your own kids bossing you around the house. Sucks. This weakness in setting boundaries for your kids could even lead to a far worse negative chain reactions of events likely culminating in early bad-to-the-bone teenage rebellion in your kids. You are not taking care of kids by not setting rules around the household. You might think this would make them feel more loved or just fear having your kids label you as the “killjoy” or worse, a “control freak”. Sure it’s good to give them space or a little freedom but it’s just as important to define even that space. Parents owe their kids a duty to protect them from even their own selves. Yes, when they are so young, their imaginations tend to run wild and they may run amok. You can’t even trust them to know or do what’s best for them. They can’t be given such responsibility or they’ll do things that may either endanger their life or health.

Kids have been known to be very demanding when coming up but don’t ever let them guilt trip into indulging their every whim. You want to raise kids that are responsible and disciplined. That won’t cut it.

For instance, there have to be rules on not having too much candy or they’ll gain weight. Not staying up late watching their favorite cartoons and it’s healthy too to set curfews against staying out late at their friend’s house. Most importantly, you’ll  need to also have those on screen time or using social media. Two hours of screen time was once the ideal, but in a recent press release by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they believe giving certain kids two hours of screen time may be too much. They recommend that for children between 2 to 5 screen time be limited to an hour per day.

(4) Not Taking Your Kids Intellectual Development Seriously

Photo credit: Pixabay

Raising kids that are the admiration of other parents is way more than getting them candies and presents. Your kids may not have been born with off the charts IQ’s but you could help them either develop mentally or dumb them down by how you raise them. Living life in the 21st century can be really hard for anyone and there has never been such a time in history when the aphorism “knowledge is power” has ever been truer. Hence, it’s not overstating things to say that one cannot succeed in this super challenging world of today without getting any sort of hang on acquiring knowledge. Actually, it’s the intellectuals that rule our world. That being the case, if you truly want your kids to hold their own in this ever competitive world as a parent, it would be politic to set them on the path to learning right from the cradle. It could a big head start to instill in them a love of reading when they’re young and impressionable. This could really pique their intellectual curiosity and help them expand their understanding of the world. Reading sparks their sense of wonder about the world, helps them develop language, literary and listening skills and ultimately prepares them to understand the written word. I could go on and on about the benefits if reading for children. But I’ve said enough already.

But a lot of what I’ve said so far depends on the age of your kids. If they’re toddler-aged, you’d run away if you found them reading a book – They’d be abnormals.  Most children learn to read between ages 6 to 7. So then, if your kid is a toddler, it’s often better to go with reading aloud to them. Besides, reading stories to your kids might help you bond amazingly with them. But if however, they are much older, you could get them interesting books to read by themselves. They might also like those authored by their own peers.

(5) Not Teaching Them Responsibility and Other Important Values.

Values they say “keep us centered in an imperfect world” for this reason, your kids would be eternally grateful to you for getting them grounded early on in their lives. There’s no worse parenting mistake than to raise kids who don’t have values. You have to avoid the mistake of sparing to teach your kids some of life’s most important lessons, since they could come in handy in adulthood when they are out on their own trying to find their place in the world. The values you teach your kids today would become their life-long treasures guiding them through a tricky youth and onto a successful adulthood. If there’s any moment to do that, it’s now or never. This is the moment to set them straight on life and give them wonderful values to live by. In homes having both parents, ideally, this should be a shared responsibility between fathers and mothers. Mothers can tend to the daughters while fathers can teach their sons the finer points of having values in life. Teach them the joys of hard work, the pride in self-reliance, the simplicity of honesty, the reciprocity of respect, the worth in loving and the power of self-belief. Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher may seem a little syrupy and sentimental but it would a good read for parents looking to impart these values in their kids. Ensure you get a copy.

Depending on their children’s age, is more than likely some protective parents would want to shield kids from taking part in normal household tasks. If truth be told, this could mean really spoiling them. And it’s not in any way an apt preparation for your kid’s eventual independence. It’s often best to ease them into housekeeping by having them perform simpler chores when they are younger. Household tasks for kids vary according to age. For kids below six, you may have them perform such simple tasks as putting away toys, getting dressed by themselves, brushing their own teeth, putting dishes in water and the like. For older kids, however, you may begin by assigning them tasks, like washing dishes, folding laundry, moping the floor or the other essential skills for teenagers.

So with these common parenting mistakes out of the way, you should now be able to groom well-mannered kids who would develop unhampered with phenomenal personalities later on in life.

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