8 ways you're unknowingly destroying your child
Posted May 31
Parenting isn’t an easy task. It’s a perfect balance of a lot of things — including how much you should be involved in your child's life.
Don’t get me wrong, children need their parents’ love and guidance to help them through tough situations. However, there comes a point where your child needs to figure things out on their own, and they won’t be able to do it if you’re doing any of these eight things:
1. Speaking for them
I spent a great deal of time giving college campus tours to high school seniors and I was blown away at how many young adults would look at their mom or dad every time I asked them a question. Even more surprising was how often their parents would answer for them.
A lot of parents also order for their children at restaurants. This is totally normal when your kid is young and distracted, but I’ve seen 15-year-olds who don’t know how to order their own food. Helping them speak for yourself will mean they'll have successful adult conversations later in their lives.
2. Doing too much for your children
It’s so hard to see your child struggle with simple tasks, but they’ll never learn if you always step in. Instead, let your kids do hard things.
Have them help you cook dinner sometimes, teach them how to do the laundry or simply make them clean their room once or twice a week. Giving them chores instead of doing them yourself will give them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.
Stepping in every time they’re struggling will rob them of their future ability to be able to do anything on their own
3. Giving them too much praise
Your child needs to feel loved and validated, but you shouldn’t praise them for every little thing they do. If they get a C on their math test, don’t tell them good job and buy them ice cream.
So many kids feel as though they should be rewarded for everything they do. Your kids aren’t going to be rewarded or praised every time they do something above average in the real world, so help them get used to that mindset. Doing this will also help them work harder and achieve greater things, because they won’t want to settle for average.
4. Never criticising your child
As much as it hurts, your children need criticism. Without criticism, your children will keep making the same mistakes over and over again. They'll also never learn and grow from their mistakes.
If they do something wrong, tell them. If they could improve on something, help them do so. Criticism doesn’t have to be mean, and when done right it will benefit your child greatly. Comments like “Thank you for cleaning most of your room, but you still need to make your bed” let your child know they've done well, but still have room to improve.
5. Fighting with your spouse
Try as hard as you can to avoid fighting with your spouse in front of your children, especially if your fights are about them. You're providing unecessary stress to your child's life if you ignore this guideline.
6. Yelling at their coach
If your child has ever played sports, you’ve seen this happen. Maybe you’ve even been the outraged parent. Please, for the sake of your kids, don’t yell at the people who are trying to teach, coach or help them.
It’s not only embarrassing for your child, this behavior teaches your child that throwing a fit gets you what you want. If you’re the parent who yells at the umpire, take a step back and ask yourself what your child might be learning from your example.
7. Making them a different dinner
You spent hours cooking a lovely dinner for your family, but your kid throws a tantrum and says “I hate this” between moans of disgust. Don't give in and cook your child a separate dinner to keep them happy.
You might think you’re just being a nice parent, but making your kids try new foods will help them expand their horizons. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my adult child ordering chicken nuggets at a business lunch.
8. Thinking they’re perfect
Nobody’s perfect, including your little angel. They’re going to mess up and make mistakes. You can either keep thinking they’re perfect or help them grow and learn. In a loving way, tell them if they hurt someone’s feelings and correct their grammar. Helping them with these little things as they grow up will be more beneficial than anything else you do for them.
You know better than anyone how your child reacts to certain situations and how much guidance they need. However, it’s crucial to take a step back and let them stumble. You can help your child get back up, but don’t help them to the point where they can’t help themselves. It will be hard, but you'll both be better for it.