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Seven Common Parenting Mistakes

August 7, 2016 | by Bluma Gordon

Because a wise parent learns from the mistakes of others.

Every parent slips up once in a while; parenting a brood of lively, not-always-so well-behaved children whom we love to pieces is a most challenging balancing act. Here are some common mistakes I’ve encountered while rearing my own lively twosome.

1. Raising the person we are, not the child we have

Our children are an extension of ourselves. But when we live through our children, turning them into mirrors of our own existence and forgetting where we end and where our children begin, we rob them of their identity and unique potential. Let's learn to appreciate not just what makes our kids similar to us, but what makes them different.

2. Not sweating the hard stuff

We want to be our kid's best friends. That has its advantages but not when it gets in the way of actually parenting our children. Disappointing our kids is never fun. But being a parent means stepping up to the plate to do what will be best for our kids in the long run, even if we're afraid our kids might hate us for it.

3. Not giving them room to grow up

Part of growing up is about tasting the consequences of your successes – and mistakes. Growing up means learning how to brave challenges and struggles without crumbling from them. It means learning how to get up after a fall and continuing to climb even after a scraped knee. That requires letting go of our tight grip and giving them some room to make small mistakes of their own.

4. Having unrealistic expectations

Don’t let your love blind you from realistically perceiving your childrens' capabilities. No one is perfect. We have flaws and our kids have flaws. Appreciating our childrens' strengths and adopting a realistic perception of weaknesses and limitations is essential for developing healthy, confident adults.

5. Being inconsistent and sending mixed messages

“Do as I say, not as I do” might be education’s worst-invented adage. Kids are especially fine-tuned to sense the differences between genuineness and two-facedness. When we forget that actions speak louder than words and don't act upon our projected set of ethos, we will likely create confused, distrusting adults, lacking a strong inner compass.

6. Devaluing character

We are the biggest cheerleaders and advocates for our kids’ successes. Of course, we want them succeed academically and socially, and help cultivate and develop their potential. But when we cheer over our son's score on the basketball team or push our child for an A+ grade, while ignoring the little acts of kindness and integrity that deserve real praise and make up one's character, we are shouting this message loud and clear: Accomplishment overrides integrity of character.

7. Missing the Blessing of Children

In the hustle of just trying to get through a hectic kid-filled day, we forget to stop and appreciate the wonder and blessing of children. We forget to appreciate those little people who express boundless joy in growth, learning, and discovery, who are filled with wonder over a soap bubble and a dancing butterfly. We forget to learn the timeless lessons our children offer to teach us- until we open our eyes and realize that they’re all grown up.

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