We hear it over and over again; every book, article and TV show confirms it: parenting is the hardest job on the planet. But is it really? Is raising a happy, healthy, well-behaved child truly more difficult than rocket science? Should it truly require a Ph.D or are we—as parents—looking to get off the hook for being judged for our mistakes? I tend to believe it's more about the latter. So I have taken my years of field study in the arena of coaching parents and compiled a list of my top 10 parenting mistakes and how to prevent them.
10. You decide on a parenting "style" before your child is born and tell everyone how perfectly you will execute it. Talk about being destined to fail! It's inevitable that if you make a decision that huge before getting to know your child's patterns, they will sabotage your every plan. The mother who intends to breastfeed exclusively will have a child with an allergy to nipples and the mom who is confident that corporal punishment is the only way, will give birth to a child who is hyper-sensitive to touch. Learn your child before you choose your lessons. And, if necessary, decide to adopt a parenting "mindset" rather than a style.
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9. You don't allow your children to play and explore. Children learn through play, and play includes struggling, making mistakes and even getting some bumps and bruises along the way. If we are constantly guarding, guiding and correcting their playtime, they will be afraid to try new things and, more importantly, they will not learn how to correct or soothe themselves.
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8. You react out of embarrassment instead of responding to the reality of a situation. You let your child run around the house naked from the waist-down at home because that's the latest potty training technique—but when he whips off his pants in the grocery story because he has to pee, you get embarrassed and scold him so other people don't think you condone exhibitionism. That sends mixed signals and will only set you both up for failure. The better idea would be to ask him, "Buddy, do you have to go potty?" and then follow through while reminding him to use his words next time. Any parent will understand. And if they don't ... who cares?! I'm pretty sure we could all tell a pretty good embarrassing story about our kids... Keep reading...
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