Being a parent is not easy. Amidst our daily struggles, we often forget that children are the inevitable victims of our words that can often cut them deep. As a parent, it is not always possible to behave in a set pattern. However, being aware of and keeping a check on wrong parent behavior can be rewarding for the growth and development of children.
Crippling Parent Behavior Harming the Child
- Not letting children take risk
- Over praising
- Being over-protective and rescuing them quickly
- Expecting without communicating your expectations
- Comparing and creating peer pressure too often
- Making kids feel guilty for failure
- Not sharing your past mistakes with kids
- Mistaking intelligence as ‘maturity’
- Not practicing what we preach
- Aggressive disciplining strategies like yelling at kids, spanking kids
Let’s look at some common and conventional aspects of parent behavior that can affect children negatively.
Branding Your Children
More than often, parents burden their children with tags like ‘my perfect baby’, unaware of the fact that the child is creating a benchmark for himself/herself. Such a benchmark stops him/her from committing mistakes and learning from them. Mistakes and rectifications are the building blocks of a child’s growth. Backing away from them can lead to serious emotional anomalies. Let children experience risk, let them learn freely rather than setting benchmarks for them.
The most common of all, comparing children, especially siblings sows the seeds of unhealthy competition that ultimately turns into hostility. Parents may think that they are helping boost a ‘much required’ competitive atmosphere where they are only building the blocks of resentment and ego where one child may feel invincible while the other battles low self-esteem issues. What parents can do is try creating hypothetical examples without any references to nurture their children’s competitive streak.
Patronizing is negative irrespective of the age. Children too can feel the humiliation. What may seem easy to us might be difficult for them. Emphasizing on that will compel the child to question his ability and feel like a failure. Instead of taking this approach, parents can empathize and understand by saying “It does seem difficult and I am so proud that you are trying”. This helps the child to develop a never-say-die-attitude.
How many times have you lied about your kid’s age (in front them) to snag that discount? Lying upfront in your child’s presence while preaching to them the essentials of being truthful gives rise to a very unstable foundation for his/her growth. This selective honesty is confusing to them and can lead to a very rocky development.
Hiding Your Flaws
You are a parent but you are also human and humans make mistakes. Showing a child that their parent is flawed might be overbearing for some but hiding them can lead to hypocrisy what they can use in future and substitute it for facing the truth about imperfection. As a parent, you can and must own up to your mistakes and explain the same to your young one.
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Being Overbearing and Overprotective
It’s understandable that you would be attuned to protecting your child all the time but your child needs to grow up and so do you. Coddling and smothering them will lead to a defunct growth and absence of this sense of independence as the child can build into relying on others all the time. Keep an eye out for danger but also, maintain your distance and let your child stumble and finally stride confidently into his future.
‘What’s Wrong With You?’
This statement can make a child realize his shortcomings and create a sense of doubt in his otherwise confident persona. It induces a sense of shame in a child that leads him to believe that he lacks caliber to do anything right and should might as well steer clear of new things and learning. The child avoids taking chances and that can seriously hamper his learning and growth and amplify his reclusive nature.
Overall, parenting can be daunting but it’s up to you how you help your child by avoiding statements and activities that can unknowingly hurt him/her. However, as a parent, you need to be sure that your parenting behavior and style should not hurt your child.