Feel like a bad parent? Like you just can’t get through to your child? You’re not a bad parent. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you care about your family. We’re simply here to enlighten you on some aspects of your parenting that may need improvement. Here are five parenting mistakes you’re probably making, along with solutions for each of them.
Inconsistent Parenting Techniques
Children thrive in a consistent, structured environment. This does not mean it has to be a strict environment; it just needs to be repetitive. If there is more than one parent or caregiver involved, you all need to be on the same page about discipline, rewards, and privileges. If you are a single parent, you need to make sure your own actions are consistent. If you said no before, hold onto that no. If your spouse does not allow a certain activity, support that decision. This sends a clear message to your child about what is right, wrong, acceptable and inappropriate.
Not Knowing Your Child’s Currency
Every child has a currency – something he or she holds with great value. This usually isn’t money. Rather, it may be video games, time with friends, TV shows, collectibles, etc. Knowing your child’s currency will help you find appropriate punishments. If the child’s currency is video games, you may use punishments that limit gaming time or prohibit gaming altogether. That discipline would not work for a child who loves to ride his bike. Figure out what your child values most and use that to send a clear disciplinary message.
Expecting Results Too Quickly
If you’re testing a new parenting technique, give it time to go into effect. Children don’t change overnight, but they will change quicker than you think. If you recently changed bedtimes to adjust to a new school schedule, your child may be grumpy for the first week. After that, the timeframe will become routine. As hard as it is to be patient at times, you’ll be happy you held your ground in the end.
Not Listening to Your Own Advice
Are you asking something of your child that you’re not willing to do yourself? Social media usage is a prime example of that. Parents are quick to take their children’s phones away, but they may not realize how much time they spend on social media. Yes, you have more self-control than your child and you’ve earned the rights to certain privileges. That doesn’t mean you’re perfect though – none of us are.
If you notice a consistent issue with your child, take a moment to assess your own actions. Is there something you could do to provide a better example? Listen to the advice you give your kids, and willingly apply it to your own life.
Comparing Yourself to Other Parents
No two children are exactly alike. You have to find parenting solutions that work for your child, your lifestyle, your household dynamic, and more. If you consistently compare yourself to other parents, you’re more likely to second-guess your decisions. Don’t get caught up on filtered social media images that falsely portray parenthood. Embrace your reality, and be confident in the choices you make.
Oakland Psychological Clinic provides family counseling, individual counseling, couples counseling, and child counseling in Michigan. If you would like help working through a personal problem or resolving conflicts in your family, contact one of our Michigan counseling centers. We have experts in nearly every area of mental health and behavioral development. You will be matched with the perfect counselor for your specific needs.