It is said that nobody is born knowing how to be a parent, and it is a reality. We live in a constant duality. On the one hand, moms and dads must search for sustenance. Our occupations have increased, we are in an endless hurricane of tasks. On the other hand, our children need us. In this coming and going of activities, we make a thousand and one parenting mistakes that we can avoid.
The key is to identify the flaws to try to correct them. Although no one is exempt from making mistakes, the main thing is to realize those areas of opportunity, but above all not falling into excesses and give our children quality time.
Parenting mistakes to avoid
According to Verónica Gutiérrez, founder and general director of Parenting Global, a platform dedicated to accompanying and advising on paternity, maternity, upbringing, and child welfare, being a workaholic mom or dad is increasingly common. Still, not everyone who works becomes addicted to his labors.
“We can work out of necessity or because we like it, which does not make us workaholics. Workaholics are people who put their work before their health, free time, and their family”, explains the expert.
The children of the workaholic mom or dad feel that although their parents meet their food and economic needs, they are not satisfying their emotional part. “There is a lack of emotional nutrition that leaves them with a great void”.
The message given to children is that they are not important enough, that hurts them, they feel isolated. The children will seek attention as they can.
It may interest you: Ways to calm children without using screens.
Another mistake that has become normal is to compare children with their siblings, friends, cousins, or even strangers.
“Ever since I can remember, my mom has compared me. As much as I pushed myself in school, there was always another girl who was better. That marked me and, when I have to fight for something important, hurtful phrases come to my mind, and I block myself”, explains 32-year-old Mónica Luna.
Some parents have the mistaken belief that by comparing their children, they are motivating them. Sometimes they think that by doing this, the children will acquire the ability or behavior that they consider “admirable,” or kids will try to “get courage” and “shut their parents’ mouths” by improving.
However, the effect is just the opposite. When the comparison occurs with a sibling or another family member, it causes jealousy and a climate of competition that will affect their relationship for life. In the long run, there will be hatred and resentment.
The children who are constantly compared suffer serious consequences:
- Their self-esteem is greatly affected.
- They feel insecure, useless, unloved.
- They tend to solve their problems aggressively.
- Failure to meet parental expectations creates frustration.
For the clinical psychologist, Seth Meyers, author of the Perfeccionismo en gente jóven (Perfectionism in Young People) blog, another parental mistake that could “ruin” their children’s lives is the irrational seek for perfection.
This attitude is usually accompanied by constant criticism, repeatedly reminding children of their mistakes or that their achievements are not enough.
Although discipline must be instilled and children must develop the best of themselves, extreme demands, which are not according to their age or abilities, become a hefty burden for children.
Being authoritarian or abusive
The worst mistake of all. Authoritarian parents or those who use physical punishment to reprimand instill fear, not love.
The US Department of Health and Human Services indicates that when hitting, humiliation or insults are part of everyday parenting, children are at serious risk for long-term physical and mental health problems.
The little ones will begin to have regressions such as bedwetting, thumb sucking, crying more often, or sleep problems. School-age children will feel guilty, have self-esteem issues, won’t feel like participating in school activities, and will isolate themselves. In the case of adolescents, they may become violent, engage in risky behavior or neglect their studies.
These are not the only mistakes parents make in raising children. Parenting is a constant trial and error. We may have experienced this parenting ourselves. Although we cannot change how we were brought up, we can change the pattern and avoid harming our children.
What other errors do you identify?
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
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