(Editorâ€™s Note: This is a guest blog by Sharon Anderson,Â a prolific writer on parenting advice and aÂ very warm and affectionate person)
Perfect parents are as fictional as Santa Claus. If youâ€™re a parent, or will be one soon, you are going to make mistakes. Trying to change this fact is a pointless endeavor.
The only thing that any parent can do is try to minimize the number that they make. Here are seven of the most common parenting mistakes. How many have you made?
Trying to be a Friend
Itâ€™s pretty common for a parent to want to be their childâ€™s friend but when it comes down to it, your child needs a parent, not a friend. Your role as a parent is to provide structure, rules and a shoulder to cry on. Itâ€™s very difficult to be viewed as both a friend and an authority figure. And unfortunately, itâ€™s the latter that your child needs the most.
Talking too Much
Learning when to talk and when to stay silent is a parenting skill that can take years to master. When your child isnâ€™t listening to you, what you say is pretty much the definition of irrelevant. Learn to recognise such situations and try to find the self control to keep your words of wisdom for a time when they will actually be listened to.
Pushing High Expectations
Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with encouraging your child to do well at school but there is a line. And when you cross that line, your words of encouragement can actually prove the opposite of motivating. Encourage your child to study but donâ€™t tell him/her that you expect certain grades.
If you have two or more children, itâ€™s important to keep the comparisons between them to a minimum. Even subtle comparisons have the capacity to lead to long term insecurities. If one of your children is smarter than the other, keep that fact to yourself. Unconditional love is particularly important when thereâ€™s more than one child in the house.
Not Picking Your Battles
Saying yes to everything your child asks for obviously isnâ€™t feasible but a little bit of leeway can go a long way towards keeping arguments to a minimum. Letting your child stay up all night obviously isnâ€™t good parenting but is an extra twenty minutes on front of the television really worth an argument? Sometimes saying no simply isnâ€™t worth it.
Right Words, Wrong Actions
If you want to instil certain values into your children, you need to demonstrate those values yourself. Saying one thing and doing another is not how you teach a child anything. If you donâ€™t want your child to swear, keep your own swear words to a minimum.
Being too Helpful
It might be tempting to make things as easy as possible for your child but doing so isnâ€™t going to benefit him/her in the long term. A child has many lessons to learn and most of those lessons are easiest learnt through experience. Itâ€™s important for you to be there for your child but donâ€™t allow yourself to be the solution to every one of their problems.
Sharon Anderson, the writer of this article is a very warm and affectionate person. She is currently working with Country cubbies, who sell a wide range of different cubby houses and play forts.