The Seven Common Parenting Mistakes

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					The Seven Common Parenting Mistakes

Parents don't usually start out wanting to make mistakes. Too often though, they only rely
on their 'parenting instincts' and don't try to get help with common parenting issues and
problems. Unfortunately, many of us aren't instinctively able to know what to do in each
and every situation that we face as parents, and we can make mistakes from time to time.

Learning to overcome these 7 common parenting mistakes will get you a long way towards
being a more effective parent:

1) Not Trying To Fix Problems

Either because they think that certain problems can't be fixed or they simply are quick to
accept them, many parents endure months or years of frustration living with common
problems. This might include bedtime battles, frequent night awakenings, or frequent
temper tantrums and behavior problems in older children.

Although it may take some hard work, most problems that you face as a parent can be
worked through and changed or fixed. You may need some help though. Your baby may not
have come with instructions, but there are plenty of books, websites, and people, that can
help guide you through the challenges of parenting. Your Pediatrician and other health
professionals can also be helpful when facing more difficult or persistent problems.

2) Overestimating or Underestimating Problems

Before you try to fix problems, you have to first decide what is and isn't a problem. And if it
is a problem, how big of a problem are you facing.

Is it a big problem if your:

       preschooler has occasional tantrums?
       5 or 6 year old is 'caught' playing doctor?
       teen begins to test his limits, spends more time away from his family, or tries to be
        more independent?

In general, the answer in all three situations is no. These are simple age appropriate issues
that should be expected. On the other hand, you shouldn't take lightly a problem like a teen
caught smoking, stealing, or cheating.

3) Having Unrealistic Expectations

If you have unrealistic expectations of what your kids should be doing, you can actually
create problems. This often happens when parents get frustrated or impatient with a 2 1/2
year old who still isn't interested in potty training, a 6 year old who is wetting the bed, or a
moody teenager. So make sure that your expectations match what your kids are
developmentally able or expected to be doing.

4) Being Inconsistent

Few things can harm your children more than an inconsistent parenting style. If you are
sometimes very strict, but give in other times or simply don't seem to care what your kids                                                            Page 1 of 2
are doing, they will have a very hard time knowing what is expected of them and how to

5) Not Having Rules or Setting Limits

You may think that you are doing your kids a favor by letting them do whatever they want,
but most younger children find it especially hard to live without any limits. Having rules,
setting limits, consistent routines, and offering limited choices will help your child know and
expect what is coming throughout the day.

6) Fighting Back

In the book, Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child, Dr. Robert MacKenzie describes
fighting back as the 'family dance,' in which you can become 'stuck in these destructive
patterns of communication.' We aren't talking about physically fighting with your child, but
fighting back can take other forms, like getting mad, yelling, and repeating yourself over
and over.

Fighting or arguing with your kids offers them negative attention and a lot of power over
you, since they are able to trigger such strong reactions. Instead of stopping problem
behaviors, fighting back will lead you to 'unintentionally rewarding the misbehavior you're
trying to stop.'

Instead of fighting back, you can do better by stopping power struggles and learning more
effective discipline techniques, like time-out and using logical and natural consequences,
and not taking a lot of time fighting before you use them.

7) Not Changing What Doesn't Work

Not recognizing or changing your parenting techniques that aren't working is almost as big
a problem as not trying to fix problems in the first place. Is what you are doing working?
For instance, you may think that spanking is an effective form of discipline, but if you have
to use it each day to correct the same problem or behavior, then it should be obvious that it
isn't. Or if your bedtime routine involves your child repeatedly getting up and out of bed,
stretches out to an hour, and leaves you frustrated and your child tired the next morning,
then you likely need a new way to help your child go to bed.                                                           Page 2 of 2