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Parenting: 12 Bad Habits to Quit in the New Year

Parenting: 12 Bad Habits to Quit in the New Year

By Amy Morin

Bad habits can hold us back from reaching our full parenting potential. Identifying and avoiding those common pitfalls can make all the difference in the new year and always. Here are the 13 things you should stop doing:

1. Wasting time feeling sorry for yourself.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “My child is trying to punish me,” or “It’s not fair my kids don’t behave.” Realize that feeling sorry for yourself will only delay addressing the problem. Solve problems proactively.

2. Giving away your power.
Quit saying things like, “My child annoys me,” or “He makes me so mad.” Recognize that each time you engage in a power struggle or lose your temper, you’re giving your child more power.

3. Shying away from change.
As kids grow and develop, their behavior and attitude – along with the parent/child relationship – constantly change. Accept those changes and be willing to constantly adjust your parenting strategies accordingly.

4. Wasting energy on things you can’t control.
Focus on influencing – rather than controlling – your children. You can give a child the skills and tools necessary to help him be a good student, but you can’t force him to get good grades. You can provide consequences that make following the rules more appealing, but you can’t control the choices your child makes.

5. Worrying about pleasing others.
Parent according to your values, even when other people don’t approve. Don’t be afraid of being accused of being “too strict” or “uncool.” Don’t give in to pressure to be like the other parents or be offended when your child claims you’re the “meanest parents ever.”

6. Fearing taking calculated risks.
Work hard to balance your child’s need for independence with safety. Don’t hover.

7. Dwelling on the past.
Make peace with your childhood. Don’t try to make up for a tough upbringing by overindulging your children or purposely do the opposite of everything your parents did just to prove a point. Instead of focusing on the past, work hard to be the best parent you can be today.

8. Making the same mistakes over and over.
All parents make mistakes, but then, you must learn from your blunders. View your shortcomings as opportunities to sharpen your parenting skills so you can do better.

9. Resenting other people’s success.
Don’t compare yourself and your children to the families around you. Don’t wish your kids could be more athletic like the neighbor’s kids or smarter like your cousin’s. Instead, devote your energy into helping your children reach their full potential.

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10. Giving up after the first failed attempt.
Parenting is often about trial and error and when you experience a failure, you must resolve to try again. If your child refuses to do chores today, don’t decide he’s destined to be lazy. Similarly, if a new discipline strategy leads to a colossal meltdown, don’t resign to a life filled with temper tantrums. Instead, keep teaching new skills and instilling values to help your children become better.

11. No ‘Me’ time.
Recognize the importance of scheduling time for yourself to recharge your batteries. Occasionally, step out of your parenting roles to address your personal needs and unwind.

12. Expecting immediate results.
Understand that behavior problems don’t change overnight. Often, repetition is the key to helping a child learn. Provide more opportunities for your child to practice changing his behavior.

Which of these habits do you need to give up?


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