Parenting is a real challenge. Just as each child is unique, each parenting problem is, too. There’s no guidebook to parenting, and what worked with you as a kid may not work with your own kid.
All parents make mistakes they regret, whether that’s yelling or spanking, or just not giving children enough attention. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fix those mistakes.
Below, we list 10 parenting mistakes and how you can fix them.
10 tips for recovering from parenting mistakes
1. Let your child be heard
Everyone wants to be heard, and children are no exception. It is important to let your child express their thoughts and feelings, and make sure they know you are listening. Not only will this help them vent frustrations in a healthy way, but it will also give you insight into their personalities and strengthen your relationship with them.
2. Reward good behavior
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in helping your child adopt good habits and listen to discipline. Reward your child for good behavior, whether that’s a trip to the park or a favorite meal. Avoid negative reinforcement like yelling or spanking, as this can be damaging to a child’s mental health and have the opposite effect of making them more stubborn.
3. Be consistent
When it comes to both rewards and discipline, practice consistency. If you set rules and consequences but are wishy washy or inconsistent with implementing them, your child won’t know what to expect. It also sends them the wrong message, that the rules aren’t important enough to follow at all times.
4. Shower them with affection
Make sure your child feels loved by spending quality time with them. Cheering them on during a sports activity, helping them with their homework, giving them frequent hugs, etc. can go a long way in instilling a sense of security in your child.
5. Don’t give them the silent treatment
Ignoring your child as a way of expressing displeasure will only make them confused. Instead, find healthier ways of communicating your disappointment or anger while still reassuring your child that you love them.
6. Avoid physical punishment
Don’t resort to hitting your child if they don’t listen. Spanking or slapping a child may cause them to mimic such actions when dealing with siblings or classmates. Use other discipline techniques that don’t involve physical pain.
7. Make sure not to label them
If you want to make your child understand that they are doing something wrong, don’t label them; label their behavior. For example, if your child is throwing a tantrum or refusing to do what you’ve asked them to do, avoid saying “you’re so stubborn” in the heat of the moment. Instead, attribute those adjectives to their behavior by saying “don’t act like a stubborn child.”
8. Treat them with respect
To get respect, you need to give it. When talking to your child, listen to them attentively. Be polite. When your child feels that you are respectful of their thoughts or emotions, they are more likely to do the same for you and other people around them.
9. Let them make mistakes
Nurture your child's growing sense of independence and allow them to make their own mistakes. While you should be setting limits and providing guidance, make sure you also give them the freedom to explore within those boundaries. Doing so will make them more confident and better able to learn from their mistakes.
10. Be a good role model
Children are good observers, and they are constantly watching and absorbing your behavior. So if you want your child to display traits such as kindness, honesty, respect, etc., make sure you set a good example in that regard through your speech and actions.
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American Academy of Pediatrics. Effective Parenting. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/Pages/Effective-Parenting.aspx
Kids Health. Nine Steps to More Effective Parenting. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/nine-steps.html