This article is based on the AskReddit question “What is the worst common parenting technique?”
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
Back in the 80s and 90s when I was a young buck I was an avid nerd who loved staying inside tinkering with electronics, mostly computers. My dad at the time simply didn’t get the obsession, he always tried to force me to do things I did not want to do like try out for sports (he was an athlete growing up) because he believed that was healthier for kids. I’d get in trouble for spending too much time in my room gaming, he refused to invest in computers even though he could afford it because it would just “keep me inside.”
Anyway, the point of this story is I wish growing up I had parents who nurtured my interests. I saw a video of Terry Crews explaining why he got into PC Gaming, it was because his son loved it and he decided to share in that passion which lead them to build their own PC. That hit me right in feels.
If your kids have a knack for something, fan the flames of interest because it will lead to a healthier relationship.
Sometimes, kids need to fail at something in order to learn.
Failing is the FIRST STEP in learning. People forget that, because they forget learning to walk, talk, read, etc. After a certain amount of time, you’ve got a decent base of skills, and a lot of new things seem to “come naturally”, because they’re really just minor extensions of your previous skills. When you actually learn something new, like a brand new skill/technique, you’re starting off at zero, because your established skill set (walking, talking, reading, basic math and language) doesn’t really give you an advantage.
Humiliating kids in an attempt to change bad behavior (fighting, poor grades, etc). The parents who shave their kids head and put it on Facebook or make them wear a degrading sign on a street corner are just creating resentment in their kids. There goes the chance for ever having a stable and happy parent/child relationship and it ruins the mental health of the kid.
Making threats of punishment and then not following through. Undermining your credibility is a great way to get them to never pay any attention to you. If you have no intention of following through with punishment, don’t make the threat.
The “it’s not bad parenting, it’s just teasing” tactic where you publicly humiliate your kid and pass it off as joking around, even though it’s designed to embarrass/upset the kid (and you would never tolerate a role reversal).
Way too many parents say stuff to deliberately upset their own child and say it’s just teasing to make it seem okay. Which when combined with a “You have to respect me or I’ll flip out on you” environment, means the kid just has to stand there and take it while their grown-ass parent talks about how fat/stupid/gross/ugly/weird they are.
Using the tv to educate your child instead of doing it yourself.
Never respecting your child private life under any circumstances.
For example, multiplication is usually learned in second or third grade, I taught my brother about it when he was in pre-school and he picked it up immediately. Thus he was way ahead in math for ~3 years, giving him time to keep studying way ahead. Kids aren’t that dumb, if people worked with them a little more as an individual instead of just relying on what mommy classes preach you’d produce way better kids.
Understanding that your kids have their own stresses too, even if you don’t know of them all. I remember telling my parents I was stressed at times, but they’d immediately act like I was wrong for assuming I had problems. I was a teen so I was supposed to be carefree or something…but it didn’t happen that way.
From my experience growing up, three things:
Treating your child like a “thing” you deal with and not a person you love.
Withholding love and affection because it makes YOU feel awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassed.
Using your kid as a tool to inflict emotional pain on your partner.
Being a parent is hard.
Too many times I’ve seen families caught up in legal battles because dad was too embarrassed to write a will knowing full disclosure of his assets would reveal that he wasn’t rich. Like anybody was going to be surprised?
Or the parents who neglect to teach their children the basics of investing, stocks vs. mutual funds & ETFs, saving, budgeting, etc…. usually their excuse is something along the lines of “They don’t need to know that. Eventually they probably will you!
Money is real and everybody needs it, revealing your 180k annual household income to little Johnny won’t turn him into more of a spoiled brat than he already is.
Maybe once in a while is okay (“You were good today so let’s go get some ice cream!”) but it should never be used as a bargaining chip (“If you clean your room you can have some cookies).
Feedings kids JUST kid food (nugs, tenders, fries, tots) because there’s no way they could possibly like anything else. Expand their palates! Feed them nutritious foods, teach them veggies are GOOD.
Kids learn an entire language but big words are supposed to be too difficult? I never understood that mentality.
After my wife and I stopped doing it all of our children spoke in full sentences with words that were around three syllables long before my friend’s kids. Some of my friends stopped doing it after my almost 2 year old started saying things like, “Wow, dat wock is bee-you-tee-fuh!” (Baby talk used to approximate baby pronunciation). Some of my son’s first words were beautiful, gorgeous (go-jee-us) and actually (ax-show-we).
My wife stopped baby talking and took it further than I ever could have. All vocabulary words my kids knew are because of my amazing wife. All I did was ask for no more speaking “down” to the kids. She just did her amazing mother thing and, of course, was (and is) amazing.
My mother was famous for telling us how badly we ruined her life. She had me at 18 and my brother at 22, so we took away her youth, her money, her happiness, and her precious time. DO NOT DO THIS. It took me well past my teenage years to realize that I am NOT a burden to my family. She will have very little to do with my new family because of it.
Not following through with consequences.
Not parenting as a team.
Assuming that your kids don’t understand what your talking about, even the 2 year olds are listening, understanding and paying attention.
Don’t get me wrong, you should develop a bond with your kids, but when you start being their best friend, they think they can get away with anything, and they will develop bad habits because of it.
E.g. Putting it on social media, making them do an embarrassing thing (e.g go in their underpants) in public, changing their looks (e.g shaving their head), etc.
That’s how people end up getting picked on. And can go viral and pop up when an employer is doing a background check on them, and really affect their chances of becoming employed.
Plus, if spotted by mean people, it can end up goodness-knows-where (e.g Children in their underpants on some creep’s hard-drive) or be used to abuse them (e.g teasing them) and thus make their childhood a really bad experience.
Studies have proven that positive reinforcement is way more effective. Yet people still threaten kids.
And without reinforcement, everything else falls out of place. You can’t teach a kid much if you can’t guide his path in key areas. So it snowballs out of control.
YOUR 10 YEAR OLD SHOULD BE ABLE TO DRESS HIMSELF! This makes for kids who cannot problem solve. I’ve had kids in school not have a chair at their desk so they just stand there. They can not figure out how to get a chair to sit in. This is not to be confused with laziness. They honestly cannot solve simple problems.
Really strict parents taking their kid’s phone to check all their texts and also checking all their internet history on their computer. Taking their door off their room after a certain age. Never letting them go anywhere unless the parent knows exactly where they are going and who they will be with and what they will be doing the entire time. Basically not giving their kid any type of privacy and thus destroying the kid’s ability to confide in and trust their parent.
Letting your kids run wild in public places or other people’s houses.
I see it all the time.
Just ignore your own kids as they create havoc, other than the occasional “please stop doing that sweetie” in a pleading voice (while not budging an inch from your chair).
The restaurant/my living room/hotel lobby/store/barber shop is not a playground.
Too many digital screens are shoved in front of kids’ and babies’ faces these days. Teaching kids to use technology as learning is great, and there’s so many apps and programs you can use now, but interaction and real world learning is also needed.
I hate going out to eat and see a parent shove an iPad in their kid’s face to get them to shut up while they eat. Interact with your damn kid. Teach them table manners. Teach them colors or food names. Teach them math on how to add up prices and do tip calculations.
As kids, my parents made sure we were taught to behave in public, and would teach us things about wherever we were. My dad would make us figure out how to do tips in our heads for the waitress. Also make your kid try new foods – chicken fingers and fries shouldn’t be the only thing they’re eating.
My mom always pulled that line, and I never respected when she would discipline me because I couldn’t understand why. Parents – PLEASE use logical reasoning with your children. If you’re going to punish them (or make any choice that will ultimately effect your child’s life) you better damn well have a reason why.
When they are young: trying to reason with a creature incapable of logic. You cant convince a 4 year old that they should eat healthy or need to learn how to read… you make them cause they are too stupid right now to make important decisions.
When they are teenagers: hypocrisy and lack of effort to walk in their shoes. exhibiting bad characteristics and failing to understand or recognize the pressure their kids are under at this age.
My parents used to yell at me for hours without letting me explain myself or ‘talk back’, as they called it. I was never allowed to give ‘excuses’ for my behavior or explain why I thought something would be ok to do. They also barked orders at me that I had to follow immediately.
I have an extremely hard time with confrontation now, and I tend to do whatever people tell me to do without questioning it. Luckily, my boyfriend and friends are nice people who don’t take advantage of that, but it comes up with work stuff a lot. Sometimes I take on projects that are too big for me, or I say yes to a task without having all the information I need.
That’s all I ever got when I’d ask any questions and it’s infuriating when you don’t understand why you can’t go shopping with your mom or dad even though all chores and homework is done. I see it everywhere …
My husband wasn’t allowed to set boundaries with his step brothers. As a result, he walks on egg shells around them and is anxious when he must set boundaries.
His drunken brother wanted to borrow our car. I said no, cuz duh. He decided to block my car in the drive way in order to confront me about using it. Still no, leave or I can call the cops.
Yelling at your children, especially in public or in the car. If all these internet articles jokingly refer to children as “tiny drunken roommates” why yell at them. We all have had that terrible drunk friend.
I have an aunt who was notorious for this. When her son was younger, he was constantly getting in (minor) trouble at school for being too talkative/disruptive during class time or playing too roughly at recess, little stuff like that but nonetheless serious enough for his teachers to tell his parents about. Whenever the teachers would mention these concerns to her she’d always either blame the other kids in the class for “being a bad influence on him” or claim that the teacher was being unfair/exaggerating etc. In either case, she would never accept responsibility for her kid’s behavior and, even worse, never taught him to be responsible for his own actions.