Raising a child is no easy task. You don’t want to over parent, but you also don’t want to be so hands-off that your child wonders why you’re not around. Good parenting is a well-honed mix of the two. Which brings us to our top five parenting sins; these are the things that you should rarely do when bringing up baby.
Never overuse the word “no”
In some cases, using the word “no” will be for your child’s own good — say, when they’re reaching for a boiling pot of water on the stove. But other times, it’s an unnecessary word to use. Research shows a child’s natural curiosity is quelled each time they hear the word. Use your judgment to decide when using “no” is really necessary; save it for situations when children are in danger of harming themselves.
Don’t over coddle
Children will fall. They will get bumped and bruised. They will get sick. But panicking or jumping to a child’s aid as soon as they fall, trip or stumble will hinder your child’s ability to cope with hardship themselves. Save the cuddling and coddling for times when they really need it.
Speed, smoking and swearing
There are some surefire ways to harm your child and these three may be the worst of them. Speeding is just reckless, especially if you have little ones in the car. Second-hand smoke can affect a child’s health for years down the road, not just when their lungs are young. And kids can pick up on language and certain words very easily, that includes swearing; do it often enough and your child could develop a hard-to-break foul-mouthed habit.
Stop the scheduling
More and more research is showing children are over-programmed and stressed out. Some doctors think this is a result of a parent’s want (no matter how well-meaning) to put their child in every kind of after-school activity there is (from music to sports to language). The best thing you can do for your child is to stop scheduling them in for so many activities. Let kids play and experience boredom. They’ll learn to be more creative with their time and will grow in ways they can’t when taking part in a structured activity.
Turn off the television and computer
Kids (and adults) spend too much time in front of monitors. We’re all starting to tune out the real world. So shut off the electronics and spend some quality time with your children. Get outside and go for a bike ride. Take a walk through a park. Play catch. Do a finger painting. By spending away-from-electronics time with your children, you’re teaching them to enjoy the world around them.
More parenting advice
A presentation about a group of high school athletes who are talking about the poor sportsmanship they see parents displaying at high school sporting events. Originally produced in 1999, it’s still a timeless message about the need for good sportsmanship.