1. Trying to be your child’s friend. You are the parent. The time to be your child’s friend is when they are grown. They need you to be their parent now.
2. No consequences for bad behavior. Children need discipline. It is your job to train them to behave and follow instructions. The discipline years are the early years. If you begin to train them to obey when they are young (birth – seven), then they will obey when they are older. Don’t wait until your child is a teenager to try to begin teaching them obedience.
3. No consistent discipline. Make sure your rules and expectations for behavior are always the same. Your child shouldn’t have to guess what the rule might be today. Consistency gives children security and lessens anxiety.
4. Let them watch or listen to anything they want. As a parent, it is your job to protect your child’s innocence. Images and sounds are imprinted on the brain forever. I am appalled when I hear a parent say they let their child watch violent movies, horror films or even some stories on the nightly news. The same goes for soap operas or adult programs that deal with sex. Let them be a child for as long as possible. Yes, they will have to face the real world and be aware of safety concerns, but don’t burden them with adult topics and concerns that they are not equipped to handle.
5. Encourage them to grow up too fast. It breaks my heart to hear people tease eight and nine year olds about boyfriends and girlfriends. Children should not be thinking about boyfriends/girlfriends at that age. Encourage your children to wait until they are older to think about boy/girl relationships. (Don’t even get me started on dressing little girls like adults. Teach your girls to dress modestly.)
6. Laugh when your kids throw a tantrum, use bad language or hit other children. Teach your child to treat others with respect and kindness. As parents, we must model this behavior to our children. Do your children see you treating others with respect and kindness?
7. Don’t give them any spiritual training. The most important investment a parent can make is in the spiritual development of their children. It is the primary role of the parent. Every day is an opportunity to impart spiritual values and lessons to your child. Sending your child out into the world without a spiritual compass is like sending them to sea in a ship without a rudder. Help your child develop a strong faith in God and His plan for their life.
8. Make your home a child centered home. Giving children everything they want and putting your spouse and the needs of your marriage last is not good for the child or the family. Children thrive when parents are in control and providing a structured home environment. Parents are to be the leaders and decision makers in the home.
9. Do everything for them. Don’t give them any responsibilities. When we do everything for our children we rob them of the satisfaction of learning how to do things for themselves. We do it because it makes us feel good to have someone utterly dependent on us. It is not good for the child. Teach your child life skills by giving them chores around the house. Help them to learn the joy of a job well-done.
10. Talk bad about your spouse. Treating our spouse with honor and respect and teaching our children to do the same builds strong families. That doesn’t mean we never disagree, but we should never disparage our spouse in front of our children. Never allow your children to disrespect your spouse, either.
11. Refuse to apologize when you have been wrong. Refusing to admit our failures and mistakes can build walls between parents and children. Never be afraid to apologize and ask forgiveness.
My husband and I were far from perfect as parents. I struggled in some of these areas. It is only by the grace of God that we made it through and have great relationships with our grown children today. I share these thoughts with the goal of encouraging healthy parenting and happy homes.
What are your parenting do’s and don’ts?