They don't call being a parent the toughest job in the world for no reason! Many of us have thought about what it would be like raising a little one, imagining what they may look like or the possibilities of their future lives.
We may have some ideas of how we would want to raise them, like how our parents did us or the opposite of. Sometimes we don't anticipate that our own lives my take a turn for the worse causing us a great amount of stress where we inadvertently take it out on our children.
To me being a parent, means being present. It means making time for children and supporting them where possible. After all their only little for so long...
1. Refusing to give praise.
If you grew up in a household where your parent withheld praise for your achievement no matter how small or big, chances you may relate to being easily overwhelmed or discouraged, have low self-esteem, tend to second guess yourself, be a perfectionist, or are sensitive to rejection. When our parents are not emotionally in tune with their children, their child does not experience a positive reflection.
When we think about the after-effects we realize that this might affect the way we work, how successful or happy we are. Depending on those outcomes, repeat it with our own children.
This leads to the question, is there such a thing as praising a child too much? How do I find a balance? Well, research has shown that excessive or constant praise can be damaging to a child's self-esteem. If you are constantly rewarded for things you're supposed to be doing anyway chances are you'll likely lose motivation to do them. So how can you adequately praise your child? It starts with setting expectations. If you expect your child to get ready for school by themselves, you've thought them all about what they need to get ready for school such as laying out their uniform, packing their backpack the night before, waking up on time. Pick your moments to praise, for example, if your child lays out their uniform by themselves and right before they go to bed, you can say "by the way, I love that you put out your uniform for tomorrow!" over time, as your child has learned that this is expected of them you move on to praise other achievements.
2. Criticising and judgment.
No one wants to hear every single thing that they are doing is wrong. Constantly criticizing and judging someone is straight-up bullying. If your child never receives any positive feedback, they can often experience self-doubt and despondency. Effects of which lead them to develop depression as they grow older.
3. Unnecessary Comparisons
Every child is unique, with their own interests, strengths, and weaknesses. If you find yourself comparing your child to another child in the same age group. You should stop. While your intention may be to motivate them to behave better or get better grades, this is very damaging and is more likely to lead your child to develop a sense of never being good enough, anxiety and stress. Your child naturally wants to please you and will continue to do so to a point of detriment.
Here is what you can do instead. Set realistic expectations and nurture your child's interest. If your child likes basketball and you enroll them in a soccer course because all their peers are in one, and then compare your child's competence to their peers, that might sound unfair to your child. Instead, put them in a basketball course and learn a bit more about the sport! Appreciate your child's strength and progress in basketball. There will be times when they develop their skill in the sport need help, be there to practice on the weekend. Set benchmarks for them. Say let's practice your dribbling skills for the next 3 weeks and track your progress at your next game. In doing so you build your child's self-confidence and self-worth!
4. Saying things like "I feed you, I house you and pay the bills. This is how you repay me?"
This is a hard truth about parenting, one that is tough to swallow and the truth is that your children do not owe you anything. You may read this and think, but what about all the sacrifices I have made for them? And that is just it. Those sacrifices are yours and yours alone. Your children never asked to be born. It is important to remember that you have brought them into the world and it is your sole responsibility to provide shelter, food, a home, educate them, and more. It is even written in law.
Every parent wants their child to succeed and most children do their best to make their parents proud. The important thing to remember here is that your child is independent of you. Things like respect, and even maintaining a relationship are rooted in reciprocity.
5. Passing on unfulfilled dreams to your children and expecting them to fulfill them.
Children have their own journey to fulfill their hopes and dreams. You may have had your own wishes for a certain career for yourself or maintain a perception that a particular academic career path will lead to more success for your child. You may then place those expectations on your children and truly expect them to meet them.
As a parent, you should allow your child to live joyfully and allow them the space to make mistakes, grow and prove their own merit. Enjoy the journey for what it is. No one on planet earth is perfect. There is no single person who has excelled in all the fields of performance, be it sports or academics. A positive approach and motivating children without comparing, criticism, judgment help them become confident and successful individuals.