Good parenting means knowing what NOT to do as a parent.
Hey, it’s hard not to lose your cool with some children. And once you do, you may feel guilty or a failure as a parent. (There’s no manual for ‘normal’ kids either!) You deserve credit for trying to be better. The easiest way to improve your parenting is to know what’s wrong first.
1…Treat your child or teen like another adult who knows how to behave appropriately and has memorized the rules, even the unspoken ones. Answer your child’s frustrations (with you) by offering explanations that show how reasonable you are.
2…Find fault with your child and let them know about it over and over again. If they do something positive, let them know it’s not enough. Let your tone of voice reveal how frustrated, angry, stressed or resigned you feel because of them.
3…Pretend your child has no reason for their behavior. Ignore his or her unique mental health needs or the challenges they may face. Are they being picked on at school or by a sibling? Do they fear abandonment? Are they stressed about an upcoming event? Is your home too chaotic?
4…Make rules and only enforce them once in a while, or have the consequence come later than the misbehavior (“I’ll get to you later.” “This is punishment for what you did this morning.”).
5…Don’t treat your child appropriately for his or her age. Make long explanations to a three year old about why you’ve set a certain rule. Assume a teen wants to be just like you.
6…Expect your child to logically, rationally accept your reasonable rules. Parents expect common sense from children who are too young to reason (3 or 4), or from teens or young adults (up to early 20’s) who have a long track record of doing things that don’t make sense.
7…Keep trying the same things that still don’t work. Like repeating yourself, talking at them rather than with them, or screaming. (Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve screamed; we’ve all done this.)
8…Jump to conclusions that demonize your child. “You’ll do anything to get your way,” or “You are so manipulative and deceitful,” or “You don’t listen to me on purpose,” “I’m tired of your selfishness…”
9…Make them responsible for your feelings. If you lose your cool because you’re stressed and blow up over something they did, insist they do the apologizing after they react poorly.
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