Thursday, February 6, 2014

20 Common Mistakes We "Not-So-Perfect" Parents Make

No parents are perfect.  Period.
But that shouldn't prevent us from recognizing the common mistakes we make and learn from them as we move forward.

I've never met a Mom or Dad that says, "I think we do everything right as parents," but I've met several that say, "I have a long way to go!"  Honestly,  I think we've all got a long way to go!  So, what are the mistakes so many of us make?

Here are 20 common mistakes that many of us "not-so-perfect" parents make:



1.  WE CHOOSE TO BE "BUDDY-BUDDY" INSTEAD OF "DADDY & MOMMY"

Our kids don't need another friend.  They need a Mom and Dad.  God created the family model and gave specific roles and instructions to each member.  As a parent, your job is to shepherd, protect, equip, discipline, disciple, encourage and train up your children.  And it's true… if you'll be willing to be a parent to your children now, the likelihood of you becoming friends later in life is much greater.

2.  WE ALLOW TECHNOLOGY TO RAISE OUR KIDS

This generation is unlike any that have come before us.  When my daughter was two years old, she taught me the 'pinch' feature on my iPhone.  I didn't know you could expand the picture and zoom in, but apparently, she did.  Our children are entrenched in technology.  They absolutely love it and are consumed by it.  But just because they love it doesn't mean that technology should replace parents.  Too often, we as parents would rather hand our kids the iPad in order to occupy their time and attention rather than getting down on their level and having a meaningful conversations.  Technology offers us certain conveniences, but it's our job as parents to ensure these convenience don't get in the way of what God has called us to do.

3.  WE LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OUR KIDS

If you come to the basketball gym with me on Saturday, you'll see several dads in the stands watching their 7-year-old boys play basketball.  Some dads are there taking pictures, encouraging their kids and enjoying the experience.  On the other hand, there are also several dads that are entrenched in every detail of the game.  They're screaming at their sons, yelling at the referees, throwing things onto the court and making themselves look very foolish.  When we live vicariously through our kids, everyone notices and thinks it's ridiculous… including our own children.  Live your own life, not your kids life.

4.  WE WORSHIP OUR KIDS

Our kids are not the center of the universe and when they become that to us as parents, it's a great indicator that our kids are no longer our children, but they have become our gods.  As believers, God has called us to surrender everything we have, including our kids, to Him.  However, it's our tendency as parents to hold on tightly to the things we love most and that's our children.  We've got to remember that our kids aren't gods, they are gifts from the one and only God.   

5.  WE DISRESPECT OUR KIDS & EXPECT RESPECT IN RETURN

The other day I was upset with my son and I raised my voice.  He responded to me in the same tone of voice and I said to him, "Don't you talk disrespectful to me!"  As soon as I said that, I realized that he wasn't intentionally talking disrespectful to me, he was merely copying my tone and elevating his voice to match mine.  We can't expect our kids to do something that contradicts what we're modeling for them.  If we are disrespectful to them, they'll most likely mirror those actions in return.

6.  WE BRIBE OUR KIDS & ALLOW NEGOTIATIONS TO HAPPEN

As parents, we've got to remember what our role is and understand the authority that comes along with that.  Our kids are subordinate to us in position, but many times, based off of our actions and conversations, you'd think that they were the ones in charge.  We bribe them in order to get them to do something that contributes toward the family.  We negotiate terms with them, as if they are on an equal level with us.  That's simply not the case.  God's Word tells us that our yes should mean yes and no should mean no.  If you say to be home at 9am, it shouldn't be up for discussion.  If our kids don't want to do chores, we shouldn't offer them a bigger allowance or candy (depending on their ages), but rather, our instruction should be clear, concise and unwavering.

7.  WE OVER-PROGRAM OUR KIDS

Kids are more stressed out than ever before and much of that is because we as parents over-program our kids.  As if school wasn't enough… we sign them up for anything and everything that is offered.  Church events, sports leagues, travel teams, piano lessons, gymnastics, tutoring, etc.  On top of that is homework, family time, rest time, sleep time and fun time.  We've got to remember that we are raising kids, not just adults in training.

8.  WE RAISE THE KID WE WANT INSTEAD OF THE KID WE HAVE

In our minds, we all have hopes and dreams for our kids and sometimes, those hopes and dreams supersede reality and we find ourselves raising the kids we want instead of the kids we have.  You want your son to play sports, but he's completely uncoordinated.  You want your daughter to be the next Taylor Swift, but her voice sounds more like Roseanne Barr.  We need to pay more attention to the kids we have; what they enjoy and what they are passionate about, and a whole lot less on who we wish they were.

9.  WE CONSTANTLY REMIND OUR KIDS OF THEIR PAST MISTAKES

Our kids need to have the freedom to fail because they will.  And when our kids fail, our goal should be that they would fail forward and learn from their mistakes.  When our kids mess up and we tell them we forgive them, we as parents fail when we bring those failures back up to the surface.  Sometimes, in order for us to make a point, we remind our kids of their past mistakes and then we rub their nose in it so they will remember next time.  When you say, "I forgive you," we need to be reminded of what it means to forgive and forget.  And if forgetting is impossible, then we need to agree not to speak of those things that would be hurtful to our kids.

10.  WE THREATEN DISCIPLINE WITHOUT FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH DISCIPLINE

"When we get home you're going to get a spanking!"  [Kid cries for a minute and says, "I don't want to get a spanking."]  We feel bad, drive home and by the time we get home, we've forgotten all about the spankings. Understand, our inaction speaks louder to our kids than our actions sometimes and when we don't follow through in discipline, it communicates inconsistencies that your kids will soon take advantage of.

11.  WE MAKE DECISIONS FOR OUR KIDS (WHEN THEY SHOULD BE A PART OF THE DISCUSSION)

Our children need to know how to make a decision.  So when we make their decisions for them, we're actually robbing them of an opportunity to develop this characteristic.  Sometimes, we make decisions for our kids when they should really be a part of the discussion.  Even if you know what the outcome is going to be, include your kids and let them know they have a voice in the discussion.  

12.  WE FORGET THE POWER OF OUR WORDS & ACTIONS

To our children, our compliments and encouragements are more valuable than we will ever know.  And on the other hand, our cut-downs, critiques and criticisms are more hurtful than they'd ever let you know.  Our words and actions are powerful. 

13.  WE SEE GOOD THINGS IN OUR KIDS BUT DON'T SAY GOOD THINGS

I love catching my kids doing good things.  They'll be cleaning the kitchen table completely unsolicited or playing nice in the floor with their siblings and I'll notice it.  Here's the problem with that.  If I notice it but say nothing, there's no progress made whatsoever.  But if I see good things happening and I take the time to say something, it's an encouragement to them and gives them the desire to do more good things.  It's a simple process called, See Good Stuff… Say Good Stuff.

14.  WE FOCUS ON KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES' INSTEAD OF KEEPING UP WITH OUR KIDS

A common mistake we make as parents is tied to our desire to give our kids great things.  We want to provide for our kids the things we always wanted but never received, so we work harder and longer hours.  We see other families getting new toys and new clothes and new cars and new homes and that drives us to keep up and do the same for our kids.  But truth be told, our children don't need more stuff, they need us.  They don't need a bigger bedroom, they need more time and attention from Mom and Dad.

15.  WE BELIEVE OUR KIDS ARE ANGELS

When my daughter was born, I prayed this prayer.  "God, please don't ever allow me to be a naive Dad.  Open my eyes and allow me to see everything I need to see and everything you want me to address."  Now, that's not a very popular prayer because many parents only want to address the things that need to be addressed and the peripheral things in their kids life seem to be irrelevant.  Nobody has a perfect kid, and we should be reminded that our kids are sinners.  They have a sin nature and are completely capable of being influenced by the works of Satan just like anyone else.  So let's admit that, pray more diligently and open blind eyes to the things we need to address that may be right under our noses.

16.  WE WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT OUR KIDS

When you worry about your kids, you communicate a lack of faith in them, a lack of faith in yourself (as their parent), and a lack of faith in God (who told you not to worry about anything).  The Bible says, "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself."  It also says, "Don't be anxious about anything."  These are clear commands from God that apply to parents today.

17.  WE BREAK OUR OWN RULES

The other day my wife walked in the room and my son said, "Mom!!!  Dad just said the "S" word!!!"  My wife looked at me like… "You said what!?!"  But I didn't.  I asked my son, "Why did you tell mommy that?  I didn't say the S-word."  He responded, "You did too… you said STUPID two times!" And he was completely right.  I did say 'stupid.'  In our house, 'Stupid' is a bad word.  We don't want our kids saying it, and decided to make it a rule.  So here's the point; when we make rules, we need to keep those rules.  It doesn't matter if they are big rules or small, our kids recognize when we break our own rules and it affects the way they look at us and the rules that we make.

18.  WE PROLONG THE INEVITABLE

If there's something that you need to address with your kids, do it immediately.  Don't put it off any longer than you have to.  That rule should apply with disciple, conversations, choices they make, etc.  When we put things off, we forget about them and misplace facts and information that are pertinent to the conversation.  If you can't address it immediately, jot down a note that can remind you of what you need to address and why.

19.  WE LOSE OUR COOL

There's nothing worse than a kid that's throwing a fit.  Have you seen those kids?  If you haven't, they typically like to hang out in Walmart with their parents.  They get mad because they don't get a toy, and in their state of anger, they lose it!  They're on the floor, screaming their head off, or running away from their Mom yelling, "I hate you!" at the top of their lungs.  There's nothing worse… Or is there?  I think there is… and that's when parent lose their cool and starts throwing a grown-up version of the fit just described.  When we lose it in front of our kids, we set a very bad example and lower the standards when it comes to reacting to negative situations.  Remember… our kids are watching us.

20.  WE FAIL TO SET BOUNDARIES FOR OUR KIDS

Kids don't do very well at setting boundaries for themselves, therefore, we as parents need to partner with them in setting some.  We've got to set boundaries in the area of diet, media, time away from home, extra-curricular activities, school work, sports, etc.  If we don't set boundaries, our kids will live a life of excess in these areas and have little to no disciple as they grow up and become adults.

WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS LIST?

2 comments:

  1. We compare ourselves (favorably and/or unfavorably) to other parents --- "well, maybe I *sometimes* do numbers 2, 3, 11, 16, and 18, but at least I don't ever do the OTHER ONES!" :-)

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    1. Haha! That's awesome. And you're correct about comparisons. We'll never win the comparison battle. I wrote a blog on that once called, "Ending the Comparison Game" Click here to read it: http://www.jordaneasley.net/2013/08/ending-comparison-game.html

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