Growing up, most of us were subjected to tough love from our parents. And if you ask most of us, we all have a story to tell on how we once got the whooping of our lives. It’s not uncommon to try and use this kind of parenting on our kids. I mean, most of us turned out pretty alright, right? Well, even though you turned out to be the well-behaved adult that you are now, you shouldn’t be tempted to raise your kids the way your parents did. You are not your kids and truth is, each and every child has his/her own needs and one style of parenting won’t work on all your kids. I’m not saying our parents were wrong for bringing us up using tough love, but they should have known better. And now that you are a parent or planning to be one, here are some things you should avoid when raising your kids:
Disciplining your child in front of everyone
Remember back in the days when if you made a mistake in school and your parents were summoned by your teachers, they’d discipline you in front of everyone? I’m sure some of us have a story such as this one to tell. Well, whether you know it or not, this might have had an impact on your confidence levels then and even now – which is why you should not use this parenting style to raise your kids. Truth is, when you scold or hit your child in front of everyone, this can have a serious impact on the child’s confidence on top of the shame that they will experience.
All advice and no encouragement
If you really take a closer look into how you were raised, your parents gave you more advice than encouragement. Did this have an impact on you? Yes. Just take a look at how you go about your everyday life. Are you a risk-taker or you like to stick to what you know? All advice and less encouragement can make a child become a coward when it comes to life without him/her even knowing it. So when raising your kids, use more encouragement and support words rather than those of advice and cautioning.
I’ve heard men and even women confess that they cannot remember a time when their parents said the words I love you to them or even hugged them. This is a common parenting style especially in the African setting but we should work towards changing it and raise our kids showing them affection not only by our actions but with love. This is because children who do not have affectionate parents tend to have lower self-esteem and feel more alienated, hostile, aggressive, and antisocial.
Comparing your child
Growing up, we all had a neighbour or a cousin who was always used as a good example by our parents. And if you didn’t you were probably that child. “Why can’t you be more like Christine? She does well in school and is disciplined... According to child psychologists, this parenting tactic shouldn’t be used to raise your kids because when you compare your kids to others, they wind up making them feel less than their peers. In turn, kids end up feeling bad about themselves, which is a risk factor for a range of negative outcomes down the road, such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
Not giving them a choice
It’s easy for parents to think they know what’s best for their kids – and this is probably the reason why most of our parents didn’t give us a choice. It was either their way or the high-road. I remember telling my mum I was passionate about fashion but she had a plan for me – and that was Bio-Chemistry. So I ended up doing what she wanted me to do but years later I decided to pursue what I loved – fashion. When you do have kids, raise them in a way that they realize they have a choice to do what they love, lest they end up miserable and unhappy with life.
Not respecting their feelings
Respecting your child’s feelings comes with acknowledging their feelings. It doesn’t necessarily mean condoning your child’s actions; it’s validating the feelings behind them. It’s a simple, profound way to reflect your child’s experience and inner self. Feeling heard and understood allows children to release their feelings, let go and move on.