You are a good parent! You are exactly the parent your child wants and needs. And even good parents make mistakes. After all, nobody is perfect. We all have room for improvement. I know I definitely make mistakes and work hard every day to learn from them.
Below are 6 very common mistakes that parents make (with the best intentions) and how to turn these mistakes into more effective parenting strategies.
- Focusing On The Surface Behavior instead of looking for the root cause: Often times parents focus on behavior directly in front of them, the surface behavior they are seeing, the symptom of the root cause. When you only address the symptom and not the root cause of the behavior, the “symptom” will likely surface in the form of another misbehavior. Look for the root cause of misbehavior and fill that unmet need.
- Punishing For Past Behavior instead of disciplining to improve future behavior: Punishment (yelling, grounding, time out, spanking, etc.) is based on the mistake made. Whereas discipline is based in future behavior. It focuses on teaching and guiding our children through knowledge and learning and practice in order to have success in the future.
- Pointing Out What A Child Does Wrong in an effort to change their behavior rather than acknowledging your child for the behavior they do right: More effective than correcting our children when they misbehave, is acknowledging them when they behave well. Creating a positive association when your child behaves appropriately, will reinforce that good behavior and encourage your child to continue that behavior.
- Dismissing Their Child’s Feeling in an effort to stop the feeling rather than empathizing with their child and allowing the emotion to be expressed: A feeling that is dismissed persists, but a feeling that is expressed dissipates. Often when we listen to our kids, we hear the words they say, but we respond by denying their feelings, defending ourselves/the situation, trying to fix their problem, or reprimanding them for a misbehavior. When children feel like they are listened to, like their feelings are heard, the feeling begins to dissipate and they can then move on to problem solving, or to correcting the misbehavior they made.
- Talking Too Much instead of listening intently: “If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” -C.M. Wallace
- Never Admitting Your Own Mistakes: We’re not always perfect and we mess up sometimes too. It’s important that we own our mistakes and model for our children how to repair mistakes so that they can learn to do the same because repairing mistakes is a great life skill to have.