Parents make mistakes. After all, they are only human, aren’t they? And as such, they’re not always aware of their mistakes. To remind experienced and new parents alike of their bad habits, we’ve compiled the top 10 most common parenting mistakes for you here. This list should get you thinking and shed a new light on one or two problematic everyday situations.
Table of contents
1. The Child As The Center Of The World
Some parents rejoice at every word that comes out of the mouth of the little prince or princess. This in itself is not a parenting mistake, but quite understandable and normal.
Things get difficult a little later, when the child is allowed to feel like the center of the earth because of the parent’s style of upbringing. Of course, one’s own child is always the prettiest and smartest in the world. Still, it’s important for little ones to discover their real strengths and weaknesses. At some point, the child must eventually learn to assess itself properly.
Our article on Jan Uwe Rogge’s approaches to education also reflects the following insight: Everything today revolves around the child. This is partly due to shrinking families. Not so long ago, kids in an extended family of ten saw themselves as PART of the family. Today, the average family of three seems to consist solely of the child. Clearly, younger kids need a lot of attention and enjoy the support of a loving family. But if they overestimate their abilities, the child will later take too many risks.
If they don’t trust themselves, they won’t be able to develop properly as adults. Talents then remain unused because the offspring, who has now grown up, is afraid of failure. And this also happens frequently. More on this in the next section.
2. Emotional Violence And Suppression
Unlike the pampered children, the little princesses and princes, neglected children suffer from a lack of self-confidence.
Some parents feel overwhelmed with everyday parenting situations and pressure their child with statements such as, “It’s your whining’s fault I have a headache now.” Emotional violence, hidden blackmail and oppression make the child dislike themselves as an adult. No wonder, they are a constant attack on the little person’s self-esteem.
3. I Am My Child
Through their own children, adults fulfill one or another of their life’s dreams, which they themselves were not capable of realizing. They then define themselves through their child.
This dilemma begins in babyhood, when they say, “We’re getting our first tooth.” Sure, the parents have already gotten teeth themselves in their lives. Nevertheless, this example shows that parents define a large part of their self-esteem through their child.
It goes without saying that children suffer from the great pressure this puts on them. After all, these children are not in the world to grow up and lead their own lives. Rather, they are meant to please and please their parents.
4. Mommy = ABF
Especially the mommies among you surely know the feeling of wanting to be as close as possible to your own kids. If you are called the “very best friend (ABF)” by your daughter, you feel momentarily flattered.
Unlike a mother, however, an all-best friend doesn’t have to face the challenges that everyday parenting brings. Moms sometimes have to be tough and set boundaries. They strive to find a good balance between closeness and respect, which they demand from the child.
If a young person develops in a direction that could permanently harm him, mothers have to talk to him about it quite honestly and with a serious undertone. They must then also be able to withstand tears, arguments, and protracted discussions without going off the deep end. These are requirements that a best or even very best friend does not have to meet.
That’s why it’s nice when kids consider their parents best friends. There is no doubt that closeness, openness and appreciation are among the most important qualities of good parents. But that alone is not enough, which is why parents are simply more than good friends.
5. Losing Sight Of Reality
Some parents make the mistake of trying to raise the child they would like. Instead, they should rather devote themselves to the child they actually have. This parenting mistake is closely related to the “I am my child” problem described above.
Every mother already hopes during pregnancy that the child will later be a reflection of its parents. The less we want to accept the reality when the child starts to turn this ideal image upside down. We then begin to impose our dreams on it and want to raise it to be the person we would like it to be.
At this point, you should realize that education has nothing to do with shaping people into a desired end product that best suits ourselves.
Only when we recognize the nature of the child can meaningful education work.
6. Other Families Are Worse Than We Are
Parents have different ways of upbringing. Regardless of whether one agrees with the attitude of other sets of parents, one should be cautious about pre-judging. Parents who refuse to question themselves cannot keep up with the times. At the same time, parenting itself is a constant evolution in which we adults never stop learning.
In moments when you find yourself resenting other people’s parenting methods, remind yourself that each method has its merits and drawbacks. None is exclusively bad from the ground up.
Also, remember that all parents are in the same boat. They all go through difficult times and suffer when kids don’t turn out the way they want.
Try to understand your peers and don’t be too hard on them, especially if they are convinced of a method you know next to nothing about.
Sometimes it pays to let new ideas sink in. In this way, you may end up picking up a thing or two, even though you reacted with inner rejection at the beginning.
7. Competition Between Ambitious Parents
This point has a little to do with the previous section. Many parents are ambitious when it comes to parenting.
If families get into a kind of competition, it is usually at the expense of the kids. Because we teach them that you have to win at all costs and without consideration. The aim is to get one’s own opinion accepted and defend it against any challenge. Such a feud cannot be fought without the kids noticing anything.
In doing so, we are signaling nothing less than that it is okay to “go over dead bodies”.
8. Children Without Childhood
Unfortunately, in the stressful day-to-day of parenting, we often forget to just let the kids be kids. This intense time with your kids will pass too quickly anyway. So pause for a moment when you’re annoyed that your child has spilled the beans yet again or is doing the opposite of what you’d like. Remember that your offspring is a child. He or she is allowed to spill. The child can and will test his or her limits. In time, it will recognize its role and gradually develop into an adult of strong character.
It will go through this development even if it seems petulant or clumsy at the moment. Don’t lose hope and let a little more serenity return to your life when the daily routine of parenting begins to stress you out too much.
9. Family Violence And Co-dependency
Both terms, violence and co-dependency, refer to completely different issues in parenting. However, because both have similarly dramatic effects on the child’s mental health, we would like to describe them together here.
Physical violence in the form of a slap on the butt slap on the butt “slap on the butt”, a “slap on the wrist” or a slap on the fingers is unfortunately still very common. Especially the just mentioned “milder” violent actions are often excused as “not so bad”.
But these methods are also forbidden by law – and rightly so! Nevertheless, they are the order of the day in many places. Mostly it happens when parents feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to help themselves. Violence against children is therefore nothing more than an act of helpless desperation.
Co-dependencies often arise in families with single parents. If the latter has a problem such as an addiction or a mental illness, kids have to “grow up” early on. They then care for their parents and feel responsible for them. Their thoughts revolve around the well-being of the parent, and their own (especially social) development is problematic.
Many parents in co-dependency think that their children don’t really notice. They do not realize that the prevailing condition causes immense damage and emotional pain to the child.
It is especially bad that affected kids hardly have a chance to talk to someone about their worries. On the one hand, they see themselves in a loyalty problem – one does not want to betray the parents or blacken them with other adults. On the other hand, peers are usually overwhelmed when such a child starts talking about his or her worries.
If you as an adult become aware of such a disturbed relationship, you should definitely try to intervene in a helpful way. A conversation with the child serves as a starting point for finding suitable offers of help and contact points.