When it comes to parenting most of the time we think we are doing the best for our children. However, sometimes the things that we do with good intentions could actually end up being more damaging for them than helpful.
Obsession with safety
Of course, parents should teach their children about safety so that they don’t get hurt. However, being too cautious can have a negative effect. If you treat your child like a frail doll and keep them away from any danger, you’ll restrict them from having the chance to go beyond their comfort zone so that they can learn and grow. This isn’t to say you ought to knowingly expose your child to danger, just that it’s natural to pick up bumps and scrapes as we grow.
It’s scary to watch your little one’s bike wobbling down the street with no stabilisers on, and see them inevitably fall over, but we don’t let that stop children from learning how to ride.
Instead, give your children the street smarts and know-how that they need to avoid danger on their own and then let them loose to encounter the world. Remember, you won’t always be there to hold their hand.
Teaching children what to think instead of how to think
What some parents sometimes struggle to come to terms with is that, just because their child shares their genetic makeup, it doesn’t mean they will share their opinions, politics or lifestyle choices. It’s natural to try to pass along values, judgements and opinions to children as the gospel truth of how the world is.
If the child is different in nature, this leads to one of two probable outcomes. Either the child lives a life which doesn’t fulfil them in order to please their parents or they live their own life and are often met with disapproval, nagging, misunderstanding and are sometimes even disassociated from their families. From the perspective of the parents, the child seems wayward and ungrateful and to be deliberately insulting the people who raised them.
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Before even having children, it’s probably helpful to try come to terms with the fact that they might one day grow up and be completely different from you. You might be a homebody and they might love travel. You might be a laid-back hippie and they might want to be a Wall Street banker.
Instead of letting individual egos get in the way of your relationship, it’s easier to love your child for who they are. Instead of telling them what to think, you may get a better response by trying to teach them how to think and make choices that are right for them.
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