After moving into a new house, a friend of mine worked hard to get to know his neighbors. It didn’t take long before he and his wife knew all the adults and kids on their block—all except for one dad. This one particular dad would never play with his kids, engage in conversation, or even make eye contact. He was completely disengaged from the community, but even worse, he was disengaged from his kids.
While it’s easy to see the problems in this situation, there are other common things parents do that are damaging. And sometimes we don’t even realize the harm we are causing. Here are 5 things parents should stop doing.
1. Stop yelling at your kids in public.
Every dad has instances of anger he wishes he could take back. But berating your kids in public is a double-edged sword, combining personal attack with public humiliation.
2. Stop trying to be the “cool dad.”Your kids don’t need you to be their pal; they need you to be their parent.
Your kids don’t need you to be their pal; they need you to be their parent. Don’t try to dress like them or “stalk” them and their friends through excessive or awkward use of social media. Guide them through their experiences, but give them room.
3. Stop allowing them to have or do things that are not age-appropriate.
Life is hard for our kids today. The media bombards them with pressure to grow up too quickly. The world is trying to strip away their innocence. Don’t accelerate them to that point of no return by subjecting them to things they are not ready for, even when they beg you to let them. Just because all the other kids have an iPhone, go to a party, or go on a date doesn’t mean your child should.
4. Stop shielding them from all the consequences of their mistakes or messes.
How to Guarantee Your Teen Learns Nothing from Bad Decisions addressed what happens when you remove the consequences of their poor choices and their responsibility for them. Devastation is ahead for those kids who believe they never have to answer for their actions.
5. Stop living vicariously through them.
It’s hard enough for your kids to figure out what they like and dislike, what they’re gifted at and not gifted at. Don’t complicate it for them by trying to live your life again through them. Just because you were the star quarterback of your team doesn’t mean your child will be (or will want to be). Help your kids to find their own dreams and pursue them.
Sound off: What other things should parents stop doing?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Is there anything I do that you wish I would stop doing?”