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10 Bad Parenting Habits

10 Bad Parenting Habits
Not Listening Enough
Today's teens live in a high-pressure, 24/7 world. Add on top of that the physical changes -- in body and brain -that begin around age 12 and last into their 20s. Kids have problems that their parents often won't be able to
understand. The old advice that starts, "When I was a kid . . ." doesn't have a lot relevance.
Listening is a much more effective approach to helping your child work through problems and make decisions.
These are, after all, important life skills that need exercise to develop. Instead of telling your kid what to do in a
given situation, sit down and ask him or her to tell you what he or she wants the ultimate outcome to be. Pay
attention to your boy or girl's feelings and emotions. Listen and learn about daily challenges and achievements.
Then ask to hear your child's thoughts on how to get to that endpoint. This brainstorming session helps your child
explore possibilities, and it gives you a deeper understanding of how your offspring thinks and feels. Next, ask
your kid to sift through the ideas he or she came up with to find the one most likely to bring success. Finally, ask
how he or she plans to put the solution into action.
Doing Too Much
There are many ways parents can do too much for their children; one is to buy everything your child asks
for. In our material world, new gadgets and must-have fashions pop up as quickly as weeds after rain. Kids are
often convinced they can't live without the latest thing, and many parents may believe the only way to make their
boy or girl happy is to buy everything on the wish list. But deep down, we know that money and things don't
provide happiness. Overindulging children with gifts sometimes serves the parent more than the child.
Another way parents do too much is to help your child with every project, problem or task. Sure, adults usually
have the know-how to get the assignment done quickly. We've been there and done that -- and the past is the
point. Now it's your kid's turn to grow and learn though the experience of doing. As parents, we've got to learn to
back up, put our hands in our pockets and our mouths on mute and let our youngsters' ideas unfold.
Comparing and Criticizing
Among the things that mental health experts say parents should never say to a child are the phrases: "Why can't
you be more like you sister?" and "Hey everyone, look at what a baby Johnny is." Parents use verbal putdowns as
a way to shame their son or daugher into doing better. But verbal putdowns aren't constructive criticism, and kids
don't feel motivated to improve their behavior because of negative comparisons. They just feel humiliated and
betrayed by their parent
Being a Friend Before Being a Parent
Think you're your kid's best buddy? Think again. You're not a friend; you're a parent. And that's what your child
needs and wants you to be. You can't simultaneously be a pal and tell your kids what they can and can't do.
Parents need to be teachers, leaders, providers and disciplinarians. That's as it should be, since kids rely on
parents to take care of them. Sure, it's no fun being the rules police, especially when you've only got a few hours
each day to spend with your child. But children want parents to be in charge, despite what they say to the
contrary, or how many times they tell us that all their friends' parents are more fun than we are.
Using Intimidation
Under stress -- including the stress of parenting -- many Moms and Dads reach a point where their responses
become emotional. We can fall into the pattern of yelling at an errant child, standing over him or her threateningly
or poking a finger at the poor kid. These intimidation techniques may have the goal of impressing your child with
your authority, but they really just show that you've lost control of yourself and of the situation. This behavior is
rude and demeaning to your kid, and it shuts down communication.
Acting Like a Servant
Parents, however, get used to doing everything for our sons and daughters when we bring them home as infants.
Sometimes it's hard to break that habit. By the time kids reach their teens, parents can feel overwhelmed,
frustrated and resentful toward children who don't do anything for themselves. For some parents, that's what it
takes to make us see that our kids are capable of doing much more for themselves. Chores aren't punishment.
They give children a sense of belonging and worth, and they teach skills that will help kids enter the world of
independence with confidence.
Consistently Giving In to Your Kids
The kid wants something, but the adult says no. The child keeps asking, over and over again, until Mom or Dad
finally gives in. The parent put up some token resistance, but in the end, he or she folded like a house of cards.
Sound familiar? When you constantly give in to pressure from your child, you've given up your role as parent.
You're no longer guiding your child toward responsible behavior and sound decision-making. Meanwhile, your
child loses respect for you and keeps arguing for outrageous privileges.
Not Setting Limits
It's our job as parents to let our kids know which behaviors are acceptable and which aren't. These limits are
essential for safety and household harmony, but they also help children feel secure by showing that you care and
that you want to keep them safe. Limits also help your child develop a sense of responsibility for his or her
actions. Limits can actually expand your child's range of experience. For example, instead of saying no to a
request to cook, you can say yes, but only with an adult to help. That limitation allows your child to experiment
and learn important skills under safe conditions -- until the time comes for you to expand those boundaries.
Not Following Through
Here's the problem: Parents don't really want to punish their kids. It's so easy to think that a warning (or two or
three) will avoid a fight, save everyone's feelings and fix the problem. Instead, failing to enforce the consequences
of bad behavior just makes your child see you as unreliable and easily manipulated. And since engaging in the
bad behavior carries no consequences, your child has no reason to change it. In fact, your child's behavior may
become worse if not appropriately disciplined. Kids want the limits, and they'll probe until they find them.