I recently came across an article online a family psychologist wrote about the most common parenting mistakes. I can’t afford a family psychologist, so I read it in hope of getting some free tips.
The advice wasn’t actually bad, but it was not always realistic, especially for a parent of young kids. It did have some good advice for parents with older kids but I’m totally going to forget all of it by the time it’s relevant to my life.
But just because there’s some solid, viable advice in there doesn’t mean that I won’t mock it. So here we go!
Most Common Parenting Mistakes
- Giving your kids too many choices – When I give my son a choice, it’s usually a fake choice. It makes him think he’s in control when he’s actually … totally in control but shut up, that’s not my point! Even a fake choice is an upgrade from my childhood. When I was growing up, my parents gave me one choice: sit down and shut up.
- Praising your kids for everything they do – Just last night, when I asked my son, Detective Munch, to clean up his toys and get ready for bed and he didn’t move a muscle, I said, “Wow! Great job ignoring me, buddy!”
- Trying to make your kids happy – My kid is actually MORE annoying when he’s happy, so whenever possible I have no problem shutting that down .
- Overindulging your kids – See above.
- Keeping your kids too busy – I dunno. If he’s busy, he gets tired. When he gets tired, he sleeps. I like that math.
- Thinking ‘smart’ will save them – We’re on the same page here. Intelligence isn’t a cure-all. I like to think of myself as being pretty smart, but I still had two kids, so maybe not. So while I encourage my son to learn and think, this is America, so I mostly stress the points of being rich and good-looking.
- Thinking a strict religion will give children perfect values and save them – Haha, no, I don’t think that. I’ve seen the news!
- Withholding common information about important topics — like sex – Again, good advice! I try to be open and honest about sex with my kids. But is our weekly Pornhub movie night going too far?
- Being hypercritical of your kids’ mistakes – Don’t worry, I don’t have the kind of time necessary to criticize my son’s mistakes. He’s 5. All he makes are mistakes. He’s downright prolific.
- Using shame, shunning or threats – Two out of three ain’t bad, right? Because we all threaten our kids. It’s either that or bribing them.
- Making kids do things inappropriate for their age – Do you mean “inappropriate” like forcing him to prep dinner? Or “inappropriate” like making him do the Buffalo Bill dance from Silence of the Lambs when we have guests over? I need more specifics.
- Not limiting screen time – This was never an issue for us … and then we had a baby. Sorry, family psychologist, but I need the 5-year-old off my back for a bit. CUT ME SOME SLACK!
- Not letting kids get bored – There’s a way to stop kids from getting bored? TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!
- Protecting kids from their own consequences and loss – Does pointing at him and yelling, “IN YOUR FACE!” at the end of another Connect Four blowout count? If so, I have this covered.
- Not letting your kids explore the outdoors – Not letting them? I’m begging them! We’re even installing a doggie-door.
- Not debriefing kids at bedtime – I am constantly asking my son about his day. But it doesn’t matter how many times I beg him for some info, it’s always “I don’t remember!” or “I already told Mommy!” or “UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH.” Kids are fun!
- Not reading to very young children – I mostly enjoy reading to my kids. Does it matter what we read? I’m trying to finish the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy before it’s due back at the library and I figured we could multitask.
- Pulling pacifiers too soon – People pull pacifiers too soon? Detective Munch never took to one (he has a lovey instead), but I’ll let his younger brother, The Hammer, suck a pacifier ’til he’s 18 if it means hearing “no!” less often.
- Not regulating food – This one is about not letting them eat too much. Haha, as if my kid will ever eat too much! The only regulating I do during meals is regulating how much time he spends hiding under the table and then regulating how many drinks I have before he goes to bed.
- Spanking children older than 5 – Wait, I’m allowed to spank them when they’re under five? WOO HOO!!!
A version of Common Parent Mistakes this first appeared on Dad and Buried.