This parenting job isn’t always an easy gig. Right? It is easy to get frustrated, angry or over indulge our children. There are many balls to juggle. No one is going to get it perfect but there are common mistakes that we can make that will ruin our parenting if we aren’t careful. Just like our marriage, we need to be cautious to not let these habits ruin our relationships.
Parenting is a job that we take on and are in it for the long haul. As parents we can often shoot ourselves in the foot. We can completely undermine ourselves. If we are not careful we can ruin our own parenting and the byproduct of doing so maybe a terrible relationship with our children, or have no relationship at all, or we’ll create self centered, greedy children. I don’t know about you but I do not want any of those outcomes to characterize my parenting. That’s why I am actively trying not to have any of these habits that will ruin my parenting and damage my relationship with my children.
Top 10 Habits that will Ruin Your Parenting
When children are consistently yelled at it causes them to have less self confidence, more aggression, more fear and concentration problems.
When you are yelling at your children it causes them to fear you instead of respect you. It teaches them that they do not need to obey right away – only until mom or dad raises their voice to a certain pitch. Be careful what it is that you want to be training your children on.
Most kids who grow up in a yelling home become yellers – who may end up resent their parents for their terrible habit. See the cycle?
The Bible says that a soft answer breaketh the bone. Proverbs 25:15
I have seen this play out in my home. If I want my children to listen carefully, the softer I talk to them the quicker they are to respond and the better they listen. If I raise my voice (cause let’s face it – we all lose it sometimes, probably more times than we care to admit) then the kids shut down and tune me out.
2. Hypocritical Behavior
When we preach one thing to our children but live in a different way we are being hypocritical. When we act one way at church but then live a worldly lifestyle at home we are undermining all of the Christian values that we want our children to live out in their own lives.
Our children are going to learn more from how we live our lives than what we preach to them. We will make our children reject the things of God by the way we live. How sad would that be if this was the reason why our children grow up to be adults that hate God and push you away as well.
We need to be living out what we preach. It is that simple. Kids can smell hypocrisy a mile away.
3. Poor Discipline/ Lack of Child Training
When we drop the ball on discipline and child training we are destroying our parenting. We are destroying our own authority with our children. They will learn to undermine us, ignore us, and outright disobey us. Kids are super smart and they will quickly learn that you will not follow through or that you don’t mean what you say. They will learn how many times they can disobey before mom or dad loses it.
We need to be putting in the effort to train our children correctly. We need to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to have a good relationship with our kids to keep their hearts throughout their lives. Disciplining and child training take A LOT of work but it is well worth it in the end when your relationship is strong when your kids become adults.
4. Absentee Parenting
I don’t think I will ever understand why people have children when they don’t intend to have a relationship with their kids. When children are being raised by daycare centers, babysitters, grandparents or even single parents we are dropping the ball with parenting.
Your relationship and authority with your children will suffer greatly when you are absent from your child’s life. So many parents have problems with their teenagers. Perhaps if they didn’t spend all of their time at the daycare center as little children they wouldn’t be so unruly as a teenager. Parents wonder what they are doing wrong in the moment. Perhaps it is not in that moment but over the whole span of their child’s life that they have been dropping the ball.
If we want to have respect from our children, love from our children, a strong relationship with our children than we need to be investing time into their lives as soon as they are born. We need to be constantly pouring into their lives from an early start so that we can have the relationship and respect later on. We will have our children’s heart when it matters most if we are doing the hard work early on.
It will be extremely hard to undo the damage of absentee parenting. So let start today being intentional with our children when they are young.
5. Strife in the Marriage
If we are not getting along with our spouse we will unintentionally take it out on our children. We may not even realize that we are doing so.
When we are fighting with our spouse we tend to get more snappy at our children. We are taking out our frustrations on them as well.
We shouldn’t be doing this! We need to be making sure that our marriage is strong and resolving conflict as soon as we can so that our anger doesn’t spill over into our parenting.
Putting our spouse first and cultivating a godly marriage will reap amazing benefits throughout our homes. When everyone is fulfilling their own roles and drawing closer to God we can be sure that our parenting will thrive and not be damaged.
6. Being their friend and not their parent
This is no brainer, right? I hope so! We aren’t parenting well when we are more concerned about being our child’s best friend. Our kids don’t need us as a friend they need us as a parent.
When they are adults then we will be their best friend if we keep parenting first when they are young.
7. Not monitoring their friends
It is vitally important to know who your child’s friends are. Friends can either make or break your child’s spiritual life. The peer pressure of wanting to fit in has a strong pull on them. If we are not careful, our child may end up in the wrong crowd before we even know it.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
Our children will become who they hang around with. We need to use our authority in our children’s lives to make sure they are hanging out with kids that have good behavior. We can not leave it up to our children to chose the right friends. They are not ready for this responsibility. Not even as a teenager.
As we mentioned above, be involved in your children’s lives so you are more able to monitor their friendships.
8. Giving them everything they want
Spoiling our children is one of the worst things we can do for them.
Kids need to learn, early on, that life isn’t all about them and that they are not always going to get what they want.
Instead of giving them everything they want make them work from an early age. Give them chores and teach them responsibility. Make them work hard at earning something that they want. A good work ethic is a character trait that will serve them well all throughout their lives.
9. No Rules
Having no rules in place is just as bad as giving them everything they want. Rules are there to keep the child safe and feel secure. When kids are able to do whatever they want whenever they want they are going to get everything they want – see point 8.
Rules teach responsibility, respect, boundaries and character.
Even 8 months can learn rules, so there is no reason your 8 year old can’t learn house rules. If we want to raise adults with character let’s teach them to follow rules early on!
10. Comparing them to each other
This will ruin your parenting because your children will grow to learn that they are never good enough for you. That they can never live up to their older (or younger!) sibling. When we compare our children to each other we are creating a sibling rivalry that doesn’t need to be there. We are sending signals that we are favoring one child above the rest and wishing the others could be as great. This is dangerous path to take and we need to be very careful not to go down it.
God made each of us different and with different qualities, this includes our children and all their quirks. Let’s stop the comparison game!
Many of these habits sneak up on us when we don’t even realize it. They all will slowly destroy our parenting and will ultimately destroy our relationship with our children. Whether it happens now, when they’re teenagers or even adults it will happen.
We need to always be on the look out for them so we can kick them to the curb when the do surface.
With God’s help we can train up our children well and raise up a godly generation for the Lord all while keeping their hearts and enjoying them all along the way.
Your turn! What habit do you see surfacing the most in your parenting? Is there a habit that you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!
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