Parenting is hard, it’s likely the highest pressure thing we do, with the most at stake. Sometimes, we all wish that someone would just tell us what to do. Perhaps it’s easier to identify the “to-don’ts” instead of the “to-dos”
Here are some things that we do with the best of intentions. And, some possible alternatives to get a more optimal result.
1. We praise our kids
What? Am I suggesting that praising and encouragement for our children is bad? Well, it can be. It all depends on how that praise is doled out. We heap praise on children with the hope of building them up. However, done the wrong way, that praise may actually have the opposite effect.
It’s important to deliver process praise instead of personal praise. Praise the positive behavior and actions of your child rather than their inherent traits.
2. Giving them a head start on technology
The world is increasingly technology driven and it’s important that our kids are both adept and comfortable with said tech.
On top of that tech is unbiquitous, smartphones, tablets, tvs…they’re everywhere. It seems like you can’t even go out for a meal as family without being bombarded with televisions.
And, sometimes it’s just easier to give them a phone or put on a show to keep them occupied while you need to get something done.
However, the over-exposure to technology may affect their sleep and ability to focus in the future.
Additionally, the dopamine response the screens create may actually be addictive. Finally, to much interaction with technology precludes the need for real human interactions and may even hinder their ability to develop real meaningful relationships.
I’m not saying that tech use needs to be eliminated; however, it needs to be reduced and boundaries put in place.
Trust me, they will be able to use the latest and greatest technology when the time comes. Both my parents grew up without electricity or running water and they are perfectly comfortable with smartphones, computers and the like.
3. We protect them from fear.
This maybe one of the hardest tradeoffs to balance as a parent. The last thing we want is for our children to be afraid, as a result we do our best to guide and support them through what otherwise might be fearful situations for them.
Great intentention, but it might not always be the best approach.
Providing either a proverbial crutch or enable a child to avoid something they fear may actually justify and reinforce that fear in a child.
Furthermore, they will never develop the coping skills and courage to face their fears and work through adversity.
Alternatively, we should expose, gradually, our children to things that they might fear. Of course, this should be done in a safe way, and it teaches them to incrementally expand their comfort zone.
Help a fearful child recognize the challenge, make a step by step plan and then incrementally face what makes them fearful or anxious.
Willingness to try new things, whether there is potential adversity or a chance of failure, coupled with curiosity and an inclination for learning will help a child be happy, healthy and successful.