It is only natural for parents, mothers especially, to defend their kids but we need to understand that we can’t live our children’s lives for them.
Of course, they need help from time to time in most areas, so they can gain and grow their own experiences till they are entirely physically independent when they are developed enough, however, it is imperative that you allow your kids do some things for themselves.
Let us consider some things that parents shouldn’t do when with their kids;
1. Helping your kids more than necessary
Most kids at the age of two years old can take dirty clothes in the washing machine, feed themselves, open doors on their own and even take off and put on different clothes all on their own.
They will even throw a fit if you try to help them because they would prefer they do it all by themselves. Children have tremendous energy, and one way to use it is by engaging in indoor activities.
Some parents would rather they help their kids do everything, and this makes the kids lazy and dependent. What of days when you aren’t around to help them? Allow your children to engage in some domestic activities on their own to improve their creativity drastically.
2. Don’t be your child’s spokesman
As long as your child can talk, do not talk for them except when necessary.
You would be doing more harm than good if when you are taking a stroll with little Cindy and a stranger walks up to compliment just how cute your daughter is and then goes on to ask “what is your name cutie?” and the parent instincts kicks in and you answer for your child, “it’s Cindy”, while the child is just there standing beside you. This could happen in any other scenario.
It would be amazing if you held back once in a while from talking for your child once he or she has started talking. It is considered even dangerous when parents give answers for their teens. It kills their self-esteem in ways you can’t imagine. How do you expect them to air their opinion when each time daddy is always there to butt in?
Don’t take your child’s speech from them. They have the right to exercise their opinion. Allow them to talk. You could throw in a hint or two to steer them in the right direction, but desist from talking for them. They aren’t tools or mannequins.
If it’s a habit of yours to always speak for your child, you could try pinching yourself each time you are about to talk for them. Overtime, you’d get used to the idea of allowing your kids to talk after the first ten pinches.
3. Don’t impose
Children have ideas and thoughts as well as opinions, which warrant recognition and respect, to a certain reasonable degree of course. It is critical that we try not to force our ideas, genre of music, book preferences, fashion sense or even occupational opinion on them.
Our intentions as parents are always for the best and we all want the best for our children but while doing that, let’s not diminish our children’s individuality.
It’s no surprise to find kids who do the direct opposite of what their parents want for them because their ideas are contrasting. You can share ideas with your kids with the hope that they buy into it but never impose.
4. Don’t be a money police
There would come a time in your child’s life when privacy is important to them and, they would also need their own raise for petty things (pocket money). It would be wholly wrong and distrusting to monitor or interrogate your child in finding out how much they have left or even attempt to count their money for them.
There have been cases of parents checking their children’s pockets and bags so that they can monitor how their child spends their money. Big No.
Don’t do that. This is a shortcut to killing trust between you and your child. Mind your own business and your business here is your child. You should avoid nosing around in their privacy. It would do you no good. Instead, you can encourage your child to save and teach him or her to be financially successful.
5. Choosing games and interests for your kids
A son might want to be a ballet dancer while his father would prefer him was a professional soccer player. This different ideas here won’t go well.
You must have heard sad stories of how parents want their kids to be something they (the kids) don’t even picture being, and the parents do well to impose their desire, by all means, necessary. “you have to be a doctor Debra. It’s what your father would want”, but deep down she only wants to be an actress.
This isn’t healthy, as the pressure on them can be dangerous not only physically, but psychological as well. It is best to communicate with your kids.
Ask them what their interests are and what they would like to do with their lives. Give them all the support you can and watch your child grow happy doing what he or she loves doing.
6. Don’t pick their presents
Even before a child can speak, they gesticulate. They do that by stretching their arms towards things they want such as food and toys. Once a child has the ability to speak, they can easily make you understand clearly what it is they want for themselves without being misunderstood.
It would be wrong of you to shush them when they tell you what they want. If it is something you can’t afford, you simply tell them to pick something else, rather than pick something they didn’t want in the first place.
Allowing your child pick to what they want gives them the ability of decision making, and the right to choose without fear. These are skills that they need to develop and use when they become adults. Allow your child to choose what they want. It wouldn’t hurt.
7. Don’t intrude in your kids personal lives
Parents would naturally always want to know what is going on in the lives of their children and they could go extra length in getting all the necessary information to do that. Some teenagers have been reported to have caught their parents eavesdrop on them.
Kids would be kids. They grow on different phases of their lives to engage in different activities. From having their first date, first kiss, first BFF, first sleep-overs and first many things.
It is in your place as a parent to let these phases happen without you always butting in. If and when your advice is needed, they would naturally seek it, trusting that you were mom or dad enough to let them come forward on their own.
Don’t rush them into spewing the juice. You children should not be your daily news or your own brand of entertainment. Give them their privacy. Your child would feel safer when you respect them enough not to intrude and interrogate their every move.
It is true your protective instincts would always kick in when you see any sign of treat but you wouldn’t be doing any good if you forcefully inquire “what they are up to”, “who they are hanging with”. Instead, give them their own space, avoid asking too much question. Your child would naturally come to you on his or her own.
8. Don’t take credit for your child’s achievements
It is an exciting feeling, thrilling even, to watch your child achieve something. Even at a very young age; first word, first step, first day at school, first result and so on. Mother would go wild, even break a tear just when little Simba says “mama”. You would always want to be supportive of your child no matter what.
Nevertheless, let us look at it from a different perspective. As much as all this is heart-warming and we want to go, “Our first day at school” “Our first medal”, let us bear in mind that, it isn’t about us (parents), it is about our children.
They are the ones breaking grounds and it would be completely unfair to them to take credits for their works. It is their achievements, not ours. You took your first step millions of years ago. You said your first-word eons ago. Don’t take their moment. It is your child’s.
You would realize if you continue personalizing your child’s achievements, it might become even more serious when they get older and believe me, it would be funny by then. You have no idea how much kids hate this. Why don’t you try being happy for your child’s success instead and leave it at that?
No parent wants to see their children in a tough spot and would go the extra mile just to see that their child is comfortable enough, but there are limits, – rather, there should be limits to the things we do so we don’t spoil our children.
We all mean well, no doubt about that but there are ways around it that yield an even better result. I do hope you enjoy reading this? Feel free to drop comments and share your experiences.