11 Parenting Decisions People Don’t Realize Can Have a Domino Effect
Parenting must be one of the toughest jobs on the planet and while everyone can be a parent, not everyone can be good at it. That is because it takes a lot of responsibility, patience and inner strength to be a good and impactful parent. Unfortunately, there are countless mistakes a parent can make and stigmatize their kids in unimaginable ways.
1. Making your child eat something they don’t like.
There are parents that think that if their children are well-fed, and have good clothes, they are great parents. Unavailable and cold, they might be in their children’s lives physically, but not emotionally. Growing up, children feel that they have a duty to their parents: to help them financially, to find a doctor, etc. But these parents shouldn’t expect warmth and attention from their kids.
2. Making your child think you don’t have time for them.
Emotionally neglectful mothers and fathers don’t reject their children completely, but they don’t give them a lot of attention. When these parents become older, they realize that for some reason, their children don’t show them enough love, care, and respect. But there’s nothing surprising about that.
3. Thinking that all kids should have a sibling.
It often seems to people outside the family that they know better about what young parents should do. It’s easy for friends and neighbors to say things like, “It’s high time you had a second kid,” or assume a mother and a father should necessarily give birth to a boy or a girl, or think that a baby who lacks attention will get more of it once their small sibling appears. Of course, few people rush to follow such advice, but they do get terribly annoyed with it.
4. Revealing your kid’s secrets.
Trusting a secret to an adult is a big step for a child. This is both a test of authority and a way to support friendship. But if a parent laughs or gets angry instead of keeping the secret, and then also tells everyone about it, the trust in this family will be lost forever. Very often it makes children not want to tell their parents about anything at all.
5. Being ashamed of having fun with children.
Children often copy their parents’ behavior. This also applies to having fun. Therefore, games and having fun together plays a big role in their upbringing, along with training and serious conversations.
6. Making them feel like a disappointment.
First of all, it’s essential to try and control your emotions when communicating with your children, especially if you’re addressing sensitive subjects such as education. There is no need to yell or argue, kids can understand just fine what you’re saying when you speak normally. Plus, you’re the adult, so you’re the one who has already learned to manage your temper.
Kids are just learning how to do this. Talk to them calmly, ask them how they’re doing, what problems they had, and why they think things went the way they did. This type of respectful and direct communication will help avoid future problems and bring peace at home.
7. A kid should eat what they’re given.
If you’ve ever tried broccoli purée, you’ll likely understand that not every adult can make themselves eat it, while babies eat it avidly. Tastes in food among kids and adults can vary, and it’s absolutely normal. That’s why there is nothing wrong with a kid refusing to eat porridge that they don’t like. After all, there are dishes many adults refuse to eat too.
8. Projecting your own wants on the kid.
Sometimes, often unknowingly, we project our own childhood fears, dreams, and ambitions onto our kids. We assume our kids feel the same emotions, have the same ambitions, and experience things in the same way we did as children. Basically, it’s acting like we are parenting ourselves as kids.
We could expect them to pursue our passions instead of discovering and developing their own. This projection can make it difficult for us to perceive them as separate, unique individuals. But rather than assuming kids have the same needs as we did when we were children, parents should pay attention to and nurture their kids’ true needs, talents, and desires.
9. Creating gender dichotomies between your kids.
This is a very frequent situation in a family where one of the children is loved more. For example, the older child is supposed to perform the duties of a parent, and he or she is told off for every little thing, whereas the younger child gets away with everything. And the older child may be required to set an example for the younger child. If parents don’t notice this problem, it makes the conflict between the siblings very serious.
10. Overloading your child with activities.
Parents who grew up participating in a number of activities tend to believe that this is the best way to keep their kids busy. But in fact, an overloaded schedule can make a kid exhausted and irritated. What’s more, oftentimes, these activities don’t even reflect a child’s interests. In many cases, this kind of overscheduling points to a lack of quality time between parents and children, usually because of parents’ inability to make time for their children after school.
It also reflects the desire of some parents to make their kids more “competitive.” While activities can be very beneficial for kids, parents should try to avoid putting a lot of pressure and stress on their kids by making them attend all kinds of activities. Instead, activities should be chosen wisely, and the importance of free play shouldn’t be neglected.
11. Not letting your kids show their emotions.
“Why are you crying like a baby?” “Look! Everyone is looking and laughing at you!” “You’re not beautiful when you’re crying, stop it now!” — many parents are convinced that shaming their children for crying is the only way to stop them from crying. But the only thing this reaction can lead to is making children reserved and shy. Crying when you are hurt is normal. Kids need to be able to deal with unpleasant emotions.