8 Mistakes that parents make with their children!
Are we doing everything right? Are we creating valuable human beings? Or in 15 years time our cute baby will be the class bully and we will rack our brains to figure out where we failed? We always want to do the best for our children, but we all make mistakes.
Being a parent is not easy. There are sleepless nights, tantrums, growth spikes, colic. Then there's the struggle for the kids to give up the dummy, the nappies, learning to sleep on their own. When you think there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all these phases in the early years, you realise that the worry about your children never goes away, as well as the doubt about the education you are giving them.
Parenting is complicated, and even for the most well-intentioned parents who seek information and help, there are common mistakes we all make.
Protecting our children is as natural as breathing and a top priority for parents. But when there is too much of it, the so-called overprotection, it can be a mistake and cause more harm than good. If we are always protecting the kids, they get low self-esteem. It is like learning to ride a bike, for example, they need to fall down in order to get up. Learning to deal with frustration makes children grow up stronger.
Despite all the textbooks you've read, the experts who say it's not a good attitude and the look of despair you see on your children's faces when you shout at them, cast the first stone if you've never raised your voice to kids. Shouting is counterproductive. It is difficult, but children listen and respond better to short, low, assertive sentences than to big, shouting sermons.
3. Not taking time for yourself
Living solely for our children will not make you a perfect mother or father, quite the opposite. As parents, we have to remember that the better we are, the better our children will be. It is very beneficial to take time for yourself, even if it is only 15 minutes a day.
Take the opportunity to run, take a bath, go for a walk, read, meditate, whatever it takes to regain energy.
4. Praising physical appearance too much
The best compliments are the most sincere ones, and should be related to behaviour and attitudes, not to external beauty. Praising kids because they lent their brothers and sisters their toys, because they made their bed and did their homework, because they are caring children is the best strategy. You should not give praise just because you want it, you have to justify it so that the children feel it is real. Otherwise, they will grow up believing that the important thing is to be beautiful, which can create distress in the future and result in an adolescence with low self-esteem.
5. Expect them to be perfect
Just as there are no perfect parents, there are no perfect children. Our children are not robots, nor are they created in the imagination of adults. Parents should accept kids as they are, with their talents and challenges.
6. Helping them in everything
Like protection, parents are very prone to help the kids with anything and everything, and even the tasks that are the responsibility of the younger ones. Parents should help guide and plan things like homework or domestic tasks that are the children's responsibility, but never do everything for them.
7. Choosing for children
In the same way that parents should not do the chores for their children, they should not choose for them either. Children must have the freedom to make their own choices, taking responsibility for the decisions they make.
8. Always say "yes"
Repeat this over and over again until it's firmly in your head, and get rid of the guilt: children need to listen to no. They learn to deal with frustration and acquire the courage to grow.
Don't try to be perfect as a father, assume your mistakes, apologise to your children when you make a mistake, talk about your difficulties and share your experiences. The parent-child relationship is for life: cultivate it!
“Respostas simples às perguntas difíceis dos nossos filhos”
Bárbara Ramos Dias (psicóloga clínica)
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