Homemaking/ Parenting

Top 10 Habits that Will Ruin Your Parenting

This parenting gig can be a challenge, right? If we aren't careful we can undermine our own parenting. Here are the top 10 habits that will ruin your parenting.

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

1. Yelling

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.

This parenting gig can be a challenge, right? If we aren't careful we can undermine our own parenting. Here are the top 10 habits that will ruin your parenting.

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

The way that we treat our spouse has a direct impact on our children and parenting.

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.

This parenting gig can be a challenge, right? If we aren't careful we can undermine our own parenting. Here are the top 10 habits that will ruin your parenting.

8. Giving them everything they want

Spoiling our children is one of the worst things we can do for them.

When kids are given everything they want they learned to feel entitled to everything. They do not learn how to be thankful for anything in their lives.

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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  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for being bold and telling the truth. Our family is working on distractions – listening to each other wholeheartedly. Sometimes in order to not find myself being hypocritical in this, I have to stop what I am doing (as important as it may seem to me) and get down face to face with my kids (which is not going far for me, I am 4’11 haha!) and really listen to them.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 17, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Oh yes, that is a good one and one we need to work on as well. The new digital age makes it all too easy to become distracted and listen half-heartedly. My oldest has definitely become more aware of my half listening skills! Smarty pants!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Very helpful tips Ana! I quite agree with all of them.
    Many thanks for sharing Ana, have a super blessed day!

  • Reply
    Mari-Anna Stalnacke
    February 17, 2016 at 10:02 am

    How about not praying with your children? I am happy to know that God’s grace covers all so my failings. Thank you, neighbor. Blessings to all of you!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      That is a good one, praying with then and for them is so important, Mari-Anna.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Ana, the points you make here hit the nail on the head. Oh…to be able to master them all. I know some who have but I still struggle with a few of these. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Thankfully, our children are so full of grace as we strive to change these bad habits. We are all a work in progress with you!

  • Reply
    Michele Morin
    February 17, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Excellent! These cut right to the chase! Even after twenty plus years in the trenches, I really need to come back to these basic thoughts!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you for the kind words, Michele. It is a blessing!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Great points! Creating a connection and showing love are the most important parenting skills to me.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Yeah these are bad. I’ve probably made all these mistakes at one time or another in raising and homeschooling our 4 kids. I just keep giving my kids over to God and hopefully have learned (and continue to learn) to lean on Jesus when I blow it and trust the grace, mercy and love of God to cover my multitude of sins.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Same here. Thankful for their grace and forgiveness!

  • Reply
    Mother of 3
    February 19, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Great list! It can often be hard to find the balance between on some of these— It’s fun to spoil the kids on occasion but detrimental if we do that all the time. We have to have rules but we used to have so many rules I felt like I was stifling my kids so we’ve backed off a bit as they’ve gotten older and let them deal with the consequences if some minor thing goes wrong (like we never allowed eating in any room but the kitchen; now they can eat in the other rooms but must clean up any messes they make). I find our parenting styles must adjust and grow as the kids adjust and grow and frankly we’ll never get it perfect.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      I agree, I think balance is the key for some of these habits. I think that these are the core issues that really ruin our parenting over the 18 years that we have the best influence over our children. When consistently done our children will resent us and usually will want to get away from us as soon as they hit 18. I don’t think any of want that. And we won’t get it right 100% of the time, you’re right, that is why seeking our children’s forgiveness is so important as well.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I could not have said it better myself. This is so true

  • Reply
    Marva | sunSPARKLEshine
    February 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    One of the things that I find really helps my parenting is having mentors who are willing to share their experience and also willing to lovingly point out gaps in my parenting. So if there’s one more thing I would add it would be to say that we make the mistake of thinking we can go it alone. The benefit of community in parenting is amazing!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      While, I do agree that mentors and community make parenting easier, to know we have people who are able to help us along in our journey, but I don’t agree that if we don’t have them that it will ruin our parenting. It may be a lonelier journey but we can still succeed as parents without them. That’s my two cents! I am so thankful for my group of mom friends who can give me advice and share in the struggles of raising kids. Moms who are in the trenches with you make it not seem so hard! Good point!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I love this! My husband and I are about to have our first baby (less than 2 weeks to go!) and these are great for us to keep in mind as we begin our lives as parents. I grew up in a house with a lot of yelling and I can testify to how negatively it can impact someone. I told my husband (before we got married) that I was not going to live like that, and I was not going to raise children in that type of environment. By the grace of God, we have never raised our voices to one another. Thanks for this great post!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 24, 2016 at 9:24 am

      It is hard to not fall into the trap of yelling when you grew up that way but with some determination and God’s help we can do it! Congratulations on the baby!

  • Reply
    Ruth Visser
    February 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks so much for the excellent encouragement!!! Probably what I struggle with the most as a mom
    of 8 is consistency. Inevitably, behavior needs to be dealt with while a baby is crying or supper is frying, etc…! 🙂

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 24, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Oh yes, that is a hard season! I would make my little sit and wait on the couch until I could deal with him or her. Seeing them sit there was a reminder that I needed to deal with their behavior still. Hope that trick helps! Having a baby and toddler to run after is exhausting!

  • Reply
    Ruthie Gray
    February 23, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Absentee parents – totes agree with you, I don’t understand why people would have kids and not invest time in them. They are our future, after all! Also the discipline – we must be ever consistent, even though that is so much work! And BFFs? Yeah. My 26 yo thanked me last summer for not being the BFF when she was in high school. She knew what I was doing and she appreciates it now. (And that was my strong-willed one!)
    Good practical thoughts here, Ana!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 24, 2016 at 9:28 am

      I don’t understand it either, Ruthie! I love that your daughter thanked you! What a blessing that must’ve been since I’m sure it was hard during those teenage years. Thanks for stopping by, Ruthie!

  • Reply
    Melanie Redd
    February 25, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    What a great post, Ana!
    I love your list, and you are so right. I’m just a little ahead of you, and I can look back and see that I could have done better in so many of these areas!
    Keep going strong. You are doing a great job!
    I’m sharing your post today~

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 25, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Melanie! While my oldest is only 5 I can see many areas that I need to tweak as well. Having children definitely changes you more into His image.

  • Reply
    February 29, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Great post! It made me think of some areas that I need to fix in my own parenting.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 29, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Glad to hear it Suzette! I’m happy you stopped by then!

  • Reply
    Ifeoma Samuel
    February 29, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Very Valuable lessons, friend…thanks for your regular emails, I keep up with new posts…
    Today I finally get the chance to read!
    How have you been?
    God Bless, Ana

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      February 29, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Hey, Ifeoma! So glad you had some time to catch up. I’ve been getting caught up these last few days as well. It seemed like life came to a halt the last 2 weeks with my little one’s being sick. Thankfully we are on the mend! We are anxiously awaiting Spring!

  • Reply
    Holly @ While I'm Waiting...
    March 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Great reminders! Thank you for sharing with us at Faith Filled Parenting! We hope you’ll join us again tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Modesty, Parenting and Living Proverbs 31 Linkup - A Proverbs 31 Wife
    March 7, 2016 at 3:16 am

    […] but sometimes we are a little at loss as to what we should do. Anna Wins writes a great post on the 10 Habits Parents Should Avoid. Something I need to work […]

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    So needed to see this article. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. You have truly blessed me.

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      June 12, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that! I hope they help you out in your parenting.

  • Reply
    September 25, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    I really needed to see this list. One of the things I do is monitor my children’s friends. And I explain to them the responsibility I have before God to do what I have been called to do as their parent. This is something I can read everyday just to be reminded of what is so important. Thanks for this.

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