What are some common mistakes parents make with raising their children?

Answer by Doug Garnett:

Biggest one I see:  Believing it's the parent's job to shape the child.

Yes, they need us to show them directions, to guide them in understanding right/wrong, discipline so they learn about boundaries, etc…

But eventually, they're not our job – they're their own job. The kids grow up only after they reject all the outside advice and find themselves from inside.

Yet a lot of parents think it's our responsibility to create grit in our kids (by doing some pretty dysfunctional parenting in my experience) or by telling them what's right and wrong (which doesn't matter if THEY don't decide it's right or wrong)…

Also, thinking that the kid we see is their true selves. Truth is, kids can only be known once they're outside our circle. Otherwise, we're only seeing a piece of them – a bit of them.

That's why it's important that we encourage so-called "mentors" (I hate the term – pretty badly abused and mis-leading) that kids will respect in a different way than kids respect us.

And, "telling them" rather than "engaging them in discussion". So many parents dictate to their kids (even quite mature kids) "you will do this…" whether it's in big issues or small issues. Kids learn far more and develop far mare when they are engaged in determining the answer.

They do quite well when we say (in a discipline issue), "here's the problem. How do you think we should fix it? How are you going to do something different next time?" rather than starting with "You will do the following…".

Finally, thinking we know what's right for them. We don't. We have ideas and we should share those ideas to let them know what we see – it makes for far better decisions on their part. But we have to accept we don't know the answers for them – only they can know that.

What are some common mistakes parents make with raising their children?


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