Despite the best of intentions parents can be wrong. This is true for all generation of parents.
With changes in society and culture, the ways of raising kids should evolve to meet the needs to that time. Every generation will have a different set of guiding rules about how to raise kids.
As a result, each generation often finds glaring problems in their upbringing. Because their guiding principles are different than those of their parents.
At such point, instead of blaming all that is wrong in your life to your parents, it is important to understand their intent behind it. Parents may not always know the best, but they definitely want the best for their kids.
It will help if we can figure out the biases that could have led to a certain misconception. This could have been the basis of their wrongs.
It is also important to assess your own approach to parenting and see if there are any fundamental problems in that approach.
We talk about what common area where the best intentioned parents go wrong, how to identify that and what to do about it.
1. Overdoing what your own childhood lacked
Many parents often see raising kids as a way to make up for all that they missed out as kids.
If their childhood lacked physical amenities and comfort, they are more likely to over compensate by pampering their kids with all the material things they desire.
This tendency is not limited to material things.
If you had an emotionally unavailable parent, it is very likely that you are too sensitive to emotional needs of your kids. You will stay alert for the slightest sign of emotional discomfort. its because it reminds you of your own suffering as a child.
It is very important for parents to be aware of complexes that arise from their own upbringing.
It is important to differentiate what the child really needs and what we doing to make up for what we missed as a child.
2. Overprotecting child from ills of the society
All parents want to protect their kids.
But we have to understand that we are raising adults who need to learn to protect themselves.
Many parents undermine the need to teach kids to learn to be independent. It is like they think they are invincible and will always be around to protect their kids .
It is better to have age appropriate discussions with kids and empower them with tools to keep them safe.
With young kids, we should talk about bullying at school, sibling bullying at home, child abuse etc.
With older kids we need to talk about sexual abuse, drugs, racism and other ills that they may see around.
Having such discussion does not mean one has to be anxious and fearful at all times. On the contrary, they instill the confidence in kids that they can reach out to their parents if they are in trouble.It helps raise confident adults.
3. Not allowing them to fail
Its painful to see your child fail. As well meaning parents, we try to keep them from failing.
We tell them all the dos and don’ts.
We keenly observe them and alert them of any way they could fail.
We celebrate their successes with great vigor and try to not talk about the failures.
With such upbringing, these kids grow up to resent failure. They avoid taking risks as they may fail. They stop exploring.
We need to teach our kids that they will fail. Everybody does.
Successes come only after a series of failures.
We need to teach them how to learn lessons from failures and not shy away from them.
This will come from talking about their failures, your own failures and what you learned from it.
Never mock someone else’s failure. Its mean and unkind.
We should always alert our kids with what we know. But should give them the freedom to do their own set of mistakes and learn from them.
4. Not talking about finances
Like sex and drugs, money too is a taboo topic for many parents. And this is often irrespective of the financial status of the family.
Parents think that this is unnecessary complication. Kids better not know about it. Later the better.
Whereas the research suggests otherwise.
Kids need to learn the concept of money, its history and how it is important.
This will help them build healthy relationship with money. They will not envy those who have more and not disrespect those who have less.
They need to learn basics of personal finance, fundamentals of economics. It helps them become confident adults who are financially sound.
You can do this by executing small business ideas with them. This tells them that they can earn without having to work for somebody else. They can learn that there are zillion different ways to earn money.
They can approach their career choices with abundance mindset.
5. Doing all their chores
Another way for parents to show their love for kids is by doing all the work themselves.
This makes their kids get a sense of entitled for such “services”
Doing household chores makes kids more resilient and better at problem solving.
As they step in to adulthood, they need to learn at least basic life skills like cooking and cleaning. They will not be able to learn these overnight.
And they will only resent the fact that they were not taught these things when they could have learned it.
6. Trying to be their friend
We somewhere lost it when we started believing that parents should be friends to their kids.
In early years, parents need to be parents first. They need to guide their kids, set boundaries while also loving them unconditionally.
Kids need to respect the boundaries set by parents. One faces difficulty when trying to be a friend and imposing limits at the same time.
Parents should not seek friends in their kids. Over sharing negative feeling from work, family and relationship, is damaging to kid’s world view.
Similarly, kids need friends of their age for healthy mental and physical growth. If their parents are their only friends then they will miss out on developing social skills.
7. Sacrificing their relationship for kids
Raising kids can be exhausting and tiring. There is often no mental space left to plan a date or worse enjoy an already planned evening.
Lack of romance does not look like a problem in initial years but after a while it morphs into resentment.
Always remember, kids are the result of the relationship and not the other way round. Relationship comes first.
Just like a child needs to be nurtured, so does the relationship. It has a personality of its own and evolves over time as the people involved in it .
Kids are more likely to build happy and healthy for themselves, when they see this at home.
8. Not prioritizing self care
There is a huge victim complex in many parents about how they have sacrificed so much for their kids.
They ignore their mental and physical health. They justify it with the logic that their kids are on higher priority.
Kids can blame themselves for their tired and exhausted parents. Also they would never learn to take care of themselves.
To improve the situation, parents should ask for help and take it whenever it is available. Prioritize self care. Not all days are the same and it would take years for you to take one evening off.
The common underlying theme in all these wrongs is this mindset that once you are a parent, kids come first . Their needs come first because they are always dependent on you.
An alternate approach here to see that our kids learn from their parents behavior. They sense the discomfort, the fatigue, the irritability their parents try to hide.
As parents, our prime responsibility is to raise them to be good adults. They will not need us forever (at least not in the same ways). We should be mindful of what we are teaching them today that will help them to be the best they can be in the future.