Alright, let’s all be really honest: none of us really have that parenting thing understood. And those who say they might – but maybe they’ve also really figured out what works for their own little ones and what doesn’t. Each parent-child relationship is special and unique. Of course, there are parenting practices that we have pursued since our education, and many that we have also left behind.
We’ve come a long way when it comes to what defines the discipline, as opposed to abuse. That said, we are getting older and constantly getting wiser (as my nine year old son often reminds me).
So for anyone who finds out as we go along (including myself), we’ve rounded up seven parenting practices that could do more harm than good.
Parenting practices to be reconsidered
Make discipline a physical consequence
Who told his child that if he didn’t stop crying, you would give him something to cry about? Or how about the classic stop it, or you get spanked. When we are frustrated, it is easy to fall short of making discipline a physical consequence. Leading with compassion, empathy, and kindness isn’t always easy to do, but how you react will make a difference for your children in the long run. At the end of the line ? Parenting practices that include abuse are never the answer.
Prevent your child from expressing his emotions
Harden. Rub a little dirt on it. Crying is for babies.
No, Karen. In fact, crying isn’t just for babies. When you inhibit and disable your little ones from feeling all the things, it’s absolutely something they wear as adults. I won’t say the adults in my life always telling me to “stop bragging “ on the accomplishments are solely responsible for the reserved and self-deprecating person that I am now. But it certainly didn’t help.
Share everything about your children’s experiences
This is a parenting practice that does not intentionally try to harm. But parents – some things are not meant to be shared. Especially things your kids assume you’re not going to talk about with your sister-friend’s second-grade teacher you just met. By confiding in you, your children are giving you the most precious gift they can give: their trust. Don’t break it and don’t lose it. If they can’t trust you now, who can they trust in the future?
Using negative language when talking about your children
It’s one thing to call the little assholes when they tell the story of their epic collapse in Aisle 6. But it’s another thing to tell them to stop acting like assholes. The way you talk to your children and the names you call them are important. Think about it, if a parent calls them derogatory names, that doesn’t set very high standards for how they expect to be spoken to in future friendships or relationships.
Commenting on your child’s body
One of the worst parenting practices that must end involves all of the unnecessary, sometimes hurtful, comments that come from a well-meaning place. Whether you tell them they’re too skinny or too chubby, honestly, it will have an impact. Children are constantly growing and changing, and their bodies are all different at some point in time. Do and do them a favor by keeping any judgments or comments about their appearance to yourself.
Do not respect your children’s limits
We preach to set boundaries and make sure the people in our lives follow them – so why would that be any different for our children? Believe it or not, our little ones have a keen sense of autonomy will help them be more confident and independent. If your kid tells you that he wants to do something on his own (except, you know, like touching a hot stove or something dangerous), let him do it. Not respecting their boundaries now will only teach them to let everyone else do the same.
Recognize only the good things
When the kids do well on a test, of course, we applaud them. But what about experiences that are not considered “winners”? Sometimes our children go through difficult seasons. Maybe the cello isn’t their thing, or they thought they’d like running more than they actually do. The point is, while things may not work out, that doesn’t mean we aren’t saying anything. It’s always important to recognize that they are stepping outside their comfort zone and trying something new.
While there are plenty of other questionable parenting practices out there, focusing on managing these seven is a great place to start. Again, no one knows your child and your relationship with him better than you do. So put your own twist on each of these practices. Ultimately, all we try to do as parents is raise empathetic, kind, well-adjusted humans.