Monday, March 24, 2008

Parenting mistakes (1 of 5)

Parenting is tough. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. I believe you are constantly learning and improving as a parent, and should always be looking for ways to improve. Over five posts I'd like to share some thoughts/advice on parenting, by looking at 5 mistakes parents make.

Mistake #1: Never let your children cry (in public).

Think about the last time you were at the store and you heard a kid crying. Better yet, think about the last time you were at a restaurant and heard a child crying. What thoughts went through your head? Did you hope the parent would take the kid out? Or did you want the parent to give the kid what s/he wanted?

I think it is an unspoken rule of parenting. I have heard too many parents make comments about how embarrassed they get when their child cries in public. Or they comment about how they just want their kid to be quiet and will give him/her whatever they want - to accomplish that goal.

I have always thought this mistake stems from the desire of the parents to not have attention drawn to themselves. If children learn to equate "throwing a fit" with "getting what they want" guess what they do? I have known a lot of children who learn to play the system and end up with more toys, games, _______ than they really need. Then as they grow up, this behavior transfers to how they react when things do not go their way. They complain about teachers who are too strict. They make scenes hoping to get someone to back down and give in.

Instead of giving in to your child, there are other options. Be willing to leave the store without finishing your shopping. Be willing to continue shopping with a crying child. Take a moment and stop to talk to your child about the situation. Remember that just because your child is crying in public does not mean you are a bad parent.

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