The second you announce a pregnancy, you’ll discover that everyone is a parenting expert. You’ll get advice from all kinds of people, young or old, whether they have kids or not. Some will come as genuine advice, while some will come as criticism.
There will always be an endless supply of advice on what you should do as a parent. Some will be good and some terrible.
But just because many people say something doesn’t make it accurate. Some of the most popular advice you hear about parenting could be very bad.
Consider these common examples:
“Give them what they want. They’re just kids”
You’re in the grocery store, and your child starts making a fuss. They want ice cream. You have a “no ice cream before dinner” rule, so you say no. Your child starts to scream.
Before long, you hear the voice of a kind old lady say, “Oh, he is just a child. Let him have it.” You feel the stares of people around you and finally you give in. After all, if your kid is screaming because they want something, it can be hard to say no.
But giving children whatever they want is not a good idea. If you give your child an iPad, ice cream, or video game just because they whine for it, you raise entitled children.
Your children will feel like they deserve to be given things simply because they want them. Kids like these grow into entitled adults who have difficulty fitting into society.
“Be your kid’s best friend”
Many people think they need to be their child’s friend before they are a parent ,and not the other way around. This is because many parents fear their children will not like them. But this also is not good advice.
There is a difference between a friend’s role and a parent’s. A friend is willing to overlook minor deficiencies in character, while a parent knows that if you catch certain behaviors early enough, they might not become habits.
Parents don’t ignore behavioral issues, hoping their child will grow out of them. That leads to inconsistent parenting.
It’s a fine line between friendliness and authority. As a parent, you have to set boundaries and stick to them. As your children get older, they will be grateful you enforced the things you did.
“Keep them busy”
Some parents have internalized this advice to the point where their children get very little rest. They fill their children’s schedules with so many extracurricular activities that they barely have time to breathe.
Many people are afraid of their children being bored or understimulated. But the reality is that boredom is not always a bad thing. For a child, it can give rise to wonderful hobbies. Never underestimate how powerful a child’s imagination can be.
Free up their schedules on some days and see what they get up to. You could be quite pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
“They’re just a kid; let them win”
You let them win any games you play with them. If you don’t let them win, you reward them for a mediocre performance. This is an unhealthy practice. You are robbing them of one of the essential lessons life has to teach.
Overcoming failure, learning to deal with shortcomings, and accepting responsibility for losses are important things to learn.
You aren’t doing your kid any favors by preventing them from making mistakes or shielding them from the consequences of the ones they do make.
Constantly tell your kids they are intelligent or gifted
From a very early age, some parents do this. The child thus grows up thinking they are more intelligent than everyone else and that life will be easy because they are so smart.
Of course, your children aren’t stupid, but they’re also probably not the rare geniuses you told them they were. But here’s the thing. Discipline trumps intelligence in most cases. Being smart doesn’t matter when you don’t have the discipline to work hard or finish what you start.
Instead of telling your children that they are smarter than everyone else, teach them about the value of hard work and discipline.
You’ll hear some good advice as a parent, but bad advice will always be out there. Your way of parenting may be just what your child needs. Do what works in your house for your kids and ignore the judgment and unsolicited advice, because it’ll never stop coming. Raise your babies your way.
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Until next time: God bless, stay positive, and be true to you.