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. While there’s no set of instructions for proper parenting—as every child, and family, is different—there are certain behaviours a parent can, and should, work to avoid. We live in an increasingly stressful world, which is why it has never been more important to foster emotional and mental resiliency in our children. Not only are mentally strong kids better prepared to tackle future problems on their own, but studies have found that they’re also more likely to be engaged in school and their future jobs. It is always important to remember that mistakes are bound to happen even whilst trying your very best to avoid them, a good parent doesn’t have to be perfect; nobody is. Being a parent is far from being an easy task but with some of these parenting mistakes to avoid in mind, you might just save your self a load of unnecessary tantrums and bickering with your little one.
Consistency is one of the most important and essential concepts when it comes to effective parenting. In terms of parenting, consistency may be tied to how you connect with your child emotionally or how your family operates. Inconsistent parenting can drive your little one off the rails. Parents who change their minds often, refuse to take a stand, and have difficulty making decisions or providing strong leadership are very likely to produce emotionally volatile children. These children emerge with unstable cores and weak identities. They have trouble defining themselves and often develop oppositional and defiant behaviours to camouflage their insecurities. Providing a stable and consistent home may not always be possible, but providing stable and consistent parenting is always within reach. For children, the learning process involves internalizing, rehearsing, and repeating. Just like when they learn 2+2=4, kids need to internalize, rehearse and repeat behaviours too. When parents are consistent in their reactions and consequences, children know what to expect. Your child will be able to predict how you will react to specific situations, such as when they misbehave or when it is time for bed. This does not mean that your little one won’t push your buttons or try to see if your reaction changes. But in time, your child will come to feel safe through consistency. Children understand the world through consistency. When kids can predict how their morning will go, they feel more secure and in turn, make better choices.
Giving In To Tantrums & Whining
This is another common mistake many parents make with their preschoolers. When their child begins to whine and throw tantrums, they tend to give in to their demands to make them stop. This is an absolute no-no! This will only encourage more whining in the future because kids will now come to understand that they get to have what they want when they whine. Then, they will continue to use the same strategy next time.
Here’s a bunch of fixes to deal with tantrums:
- Establish A Household Rule About Whining – Establish a household rule about whining, such as, “Ask nicely for something and accept the answer calmly.” This helps kids understand that their attempts to change your mind won’t be effective.
- Provide A Warning – Sometimes whining becomes a bad habit for kids, and they don’t realize they’re doing it. To bring their attention to it, provide one warning by saying, “No whining,” or, “Remember, we don’t whine at our house.”
- Ignore Whining & Don’t Give In – Attention in any form, even if it is negative attention, can encourage the behaviour to continue. Ignoring attention-seeking behaviour like whining is an effective form of behaviour modification.
- Provide Positive Attention When the Behavior Stops – As soon as the whining stops, provide your child with positive attention. Give lots of positive attention to good behaviour and it will encourage your child to seek attention in positive ways.
- Prevent Whining in the Future – Give your child the skills they need to handle uncomfortable emotions like frustration, disappointment, and sadness without whining. It’s important to teach your child about feelings so they can recognize how they feel and learn how to deal with upsetting feelings.
Many parents believe that their child should start school early for educational advancement and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, providing a child with a good quality early childhood education can provide them with long term benefits and set them on the path for future success. However, what we usually forget is the role of play in the overall development of young kids. Free play can help develop a child’s brain and foster their creativity and imagination. Give your preschooler adequate time for play and let them choose how they want to do it.
Lack Of Undivided Attention & Self-Care
Parents are always rushing around, with work, chores around the house, ferrying children to and from activities, etc. Children need our undivided attention for at least 30 minutes a day, with total focus on them. They need to know that if anything is bothering them, there is a daily opportunity to talk about it when they are ready. They need parents to play with them so they can learn how to play with others. They need parents to listen to them and help them understand the world and how it works. Children need parents to prioritise them, rather than having half an eye on the TV or their mobile or thinking about the other things they could be doing when they talk or play with them. Many parents completely ignore their own needs and spend so much time catering to their children’s perceived needs that they fail to look after themselves. Everyone needs some time to do the things they love, even if it is just a couple of hours a week. Making a bit of time for yourself helps to give you renewed energy to cope with the demands of parenting and it’ll help you give that undivided attention your little one needs.