Monday, March 29, 2010

What Parents Shouldn't Do

Here's a list of 10 things parents should avoid:

1. Screaming/Yelling at the kids. Yelling is out of bounds unless the child is in mortal danger, i.e., about to run out in the street. Talking is the best way to get your child to listen. Usually, if your children are not listening, it is not a volume problem with you.

2. Making fun of your kid's weaknesses or flaws. If you need me to explain this one, you probably shouldn't have had kids in the first place.

3. Threatening your kids with punishment. If you aren't going to carry through, don't make a threat. They will begin to disregard everything you say as an empty threat. If you want your kids to respect you and what you expect from them, follow through.

4. Model bad eating habits. Yup, they will pick up every habit you think you are hiding. Provide children with healthy food (fruits and vegetables) for every meal (french fries are not a vegetable). What they grow up eating will be with them the rest of their lives.

5. Talking about your child to others in front of your child while acting as if your child wasn't standing right there listening. This happened with me the other day. A mom started talking about her daughter in a very negative light in front of her (and 15 strangers standing around). Get a one else wants to witness a parent ripping into their child.

6. Smile when they say inappropriate things. Yup, they will repeat it at the most inopportune at church or to you. Then it ceases to be funny.

7. Tolerate porn. I heard a father the other day laughing that he caught his son looking at porn. WHAT!!???!!! And he didn't do anything about it or talk to him???? He dismissed it as 'boys will be boys.' Will he be laughing when his son disrespects girls and becomes sexually aggressive? Will he be laughing when his son becomes a registered sex offender because dad didn't set boundaries when he was 13 years old? Porn isn't very funny when it wrecks a man's life.

8. Hit your kids as your only way of punishing them. Spanking ceases to be effective by age 12. Learn the fine art of grounding them from privileges, taking away items that are loaned to them (like the Wii, a car, iPod, computer time, cell phone, etc.) Usually removing an item one or two days is enough to punish unless your child's behavior is really out there.

9. Ignore your kid. The most damaged adults I have ever known are those whose parents ignored them and didn't give them the love and affection (and availability) they need to form healthy human connections. A child needs AT LEAST an hour a day of one on one time with a parent (or both parents). Homework help, just talking about their day, playing a game, reading with them, or sitting on the edge of their bed and engaging with them are just a few ways to get this done.

10. Expect church to spiritually train them. I know so many parents who let the youth pastor give their kids the only dose of God they get. Bad idea. Parents need to encourage prayer, scripture reading and worship. Talking to your child about and modeling it is the best way for the child to see its importance in their life.

What else should parents avoid doing to their children?


  1. Very good post and VERY TRUE. The yelling is so easy to get started and hard to quit. As a dad of three young children I remember getting into "bellowing" at my first like some kind of dumb ox! After considering what I had done I was determined to be more careful with my tone of voice when correcting. As far as the porn is concerned...that is unbelievable! When working with groups in a substance abuse treatment program I tell them that to keep such stuff in the home is child abuse! Your children will find it and use it if you have it. It does irreprabable damage to the heart and mind and I know that from my own childhood! Thanks again.

  2. Amen, Anon. If parents need a parenting resource, I reccommend Love and Logic and Parenting Teens with Love and Logic...Excellent books. Thanks for dropping by...