Parenting is a tough job, but too often, we make excuses for ourselves when we realize that we aren’t quite up to snuff. After all, no one wants to feel like they’ve done their child wrong, when they put so much effort into raising him or her. Unfortunately, lots of parents have pretty much no idea what they’re doing, and it shows. If you’ve ever wondered secretly if you’re a bad parent, check out these 7 signs and see if you’re the parent you think you are.
7 Signs You Might Not Nailing the Whole Parenting Thing:
1. You let your kids have too much fun.
Your child’s life is all play, and no work. Chores are a funny joke, or reserved for a punishment when your child messes up. Their day to day activities pretty much include whatever they want, whenever they want. If you refer to your child as your ‘best friend’, you’re in a lot of trouble.
First of all, if your best friend is a 5-year-old, you probably need to get out more. Second, if you raise your kids to believe that every moment of their lives should be filled with fun, excitement, and no work, you’re setting them up for failure in adulthood. Because really, when was the last time we had fun all of the time?
2. You overprotect your kids.
You don’t want them to get hurt, of course. So you set their boundaries for the yard only, or one house only. Or maybe you don’t let them go outside at all. Every adventure they have or new friend they make must meet with the harsh scrutiny of mom, and normal milestones of childhood and teenagehood are thrown out the window.
The problem with this one is that childhood is there to learn and mess up from. Sure, don’t let your children play in the street, but sometimes you have to let go, lest you face the wrath of a rebellious teen trying to do everything he or she can to thwart your tyranny.
3. You’re a terrible example.
If the sentence “Do as I say, not as I do” comes up often in your house, you’ve got a problem. Does your kid mouth-off, or swear, or lie? They might be learning from the best. Kids are sponges, and every little thing you do– from the way you treat others, to how you talk, to how you eat– will be scrutinized and subconsciously absorbed. So the next time your kid is driving you crazy, you might want to look at your own behavior.
4. You white knight your kiddo.
Little Johnny can do no wrong. He didn’t do his homework, but that’s probably his teacher’s fault, right? He got into a dispute at school, but those dirty administrators are taking advantage of him and framing him for a crime he didn’t commit. Jill can’t get along with other girls, but it can’t be anything she’s doing.
If you’re constantly the referee for your kid’s life, you need to take a step back. If kids don’t learn to fight their own battles, they’ll expect your interference later in life too, which means they’ll be in a lot of trouble when they’ve slept past a college test and expect you to intervene.
5. You buy anything your kids want.
It’ll make them happy, right? Anything for your little pumpkin. Surprising your kids every once in awhile isn’t inherently bad, but allowing them to buy a toy every time you hit the store is a recipe for disaster. Your kids learn that life will give them whatever they want, when they want, and as we all know, that’s about as far from the truth as it gets.
6. Your kid runs the show.
If your schedule revolves around your kiddo’s, something’s wrong. They can have activities, but as soon as they start viewing you as their personal chauffeur, you’ve crossed the line into bad parenting territory. Their playdate, store trip, or whatever they’ve got going on can wait. Otherwise, he or she learns that life stops and goes at their whim, which is a pretty bad concept to send them into adulthood with.
7. You play favorites.
If you’ve got multiple children and some of them complain about one being your favorite, you might want to listen up. Whether it’s the baby, the only girl, the only boy, or some child you’ve arbitrarily chosen, playing favorites can ruin a child’s self esteem, and it just makes you a jerk in general. Be fair, even if you have a tendency to cut the youngest some slack. Or better yet, don’t cut the youngest some slack at all.