In their children's eyes, these so-called "good" parents are "nice," "cool", "fun," etc. But indulging children, we, experienced parents, know you are only asking for problems. So what sorts of things do inexperienced, selfish or simply rude parents do that upset us, the children, partners, relatives, friends, and even strangers?
1. Plan nothing. When a child has daily needs, there should always be a plan set in motion. Don't assume that others know what your child wants/needs especially when you are entrusting others to care for your child. When you are home through the week and on weekends, what sort of activity plan do you have for busy children? Go without a plan and you might end up resenting them.
2. Teach nothing. Nowadays so many parents leave it up to the educators, relatives, television, and toys to teach their children. One should ask his or herself, "How much time do I really invest in teaching my child things like: good character, participating in basic chores, reading, writing, math, problem-solving, etc." Time to get a book and start teaching your child if you are often leaving it up to others even on your off time.
3. Buy too little. Some parents just aren't generous and often buy the cheapest thing, value meal or service knowing full well that the child is going to cry or start problems with siblings when the toy breaks, the food runs out, the gaming tokens get used up, or the item doesn't work. Save yourself and others the grief, examine the quality of the product and do your research before you go for the cheapest of anything. (Most likely you are not getting the best deal for your dollars spent anyway!) If you can afford "it", so be it, but if you can't, just leave it where it is.
4. Buy too much. If some are buying too cheap, others are buying too much and too pricey from candy to shoes. Just because little Johnny says, "I want that..." doesn't mean he should have it. Doesn't he have a collection of "whatever" at home already? As a married parent or someone living with others in the home, you should think about how your family feels when you come home yet again with another noisemaker, something strange, or simply not good for a child who already has enough. When household needs come up, some parents don't even bother putting their money in things that truly matter, because "I just wanted my son to have that stuff...I know it cost $500, but..."
5. Fight in front of children. If anyone has ever made you angry when your child was around, you know what you did or didn't do. Children pick up on tension whether some of us started the argument or not . Before you decide to fight around your children again, go elsewhere, cool off and consider cutting the person off who makes you angry enough to yell or hurt him/her.
6. Watch or listen to entertainment displaying bad behavior. So you never fought or attempted to fight someone in front of your children, but most likely some reading this listen to music, watch movies, and even encourage children to watch shows that display immoral behavior. People cursing, fighting, killing, stealing, dancing seductively, talking about sexual things, cheating, or displaying colors or handsigns that belong to those who are connected with witchcraft, satanism and more would all be considered offensive at work, so why do it at home and around your children?
7. Lie or "tell stories". When we don't tell some or all of the facts about something when asked, we are lying. When we exaggerate or act as if we don't know something, we lie. Yet, when children say, "I didn't take that..." and you know they did, instantly we tell them they are not being truthful. Wonder how they learned to lie? It's in the genes and besides someone or something moved them to lie--was it your past deeds catching up to you?
8. Explain too much. How much can your child really handle? How about saying, "Now is not the time." You are not lying and you are not exposing everything about you, your actions or someone else's to a child. Besides, whatever you permit them to know, they will share it with others-- doesn't matter how much you threaten them. The less you do around your children, the less you have to worry about them taking your story to others. Keep dirt private.
9. Explain too little. When things pertain to children, give them just enough information for them to not do something again, avoid problems for self and others, and so on. Too little information when it comes to their world, not yours, will make them seek answers to their questions in unfavorable ways.
10. Idolize their child/children above all else, above everyone else including God. Wherever she goes and whatever she does, "My children come first...I love my children and there isn't nothing I won't do for my children and I will not tolerate my children being accused of...and my children are good and they never..."
Her children are given choices about everything even on things they know very little about. She rarely makes any decisions for them even when she is doing the following: inconviencing others like holding up lines in the store, not paying back people what money she owes because her child needed..., inviting others primarily to children dominated events, expecting others to acknowledge her children's successes, etc.
"What is it, honey...what do you need...really...wow...that's great...yes, huh...what did you say sweetie?" The mother coverses with her children way too much while others wait to talk to her in-person or over the phone, rather than telling Johnny, "I will not be interrupted on the phone, you have a choice either do XYZ... or else." Her world stops for her children and she expects others to be alright with her coddling. "Oh, I'm sorry, well my son needed and my daughter needed and I had to...now what were we talking about?"
If you are a new parent, avoid unnecessary headaches and heartaches for yourself and others by treating children like children and not mini-adults. They should be polite, learn to be quiet, not get their way so often, expect to help others, do well in school, have a consistent bed-time, have healthy meals, a clean and organized environment, and so on. Don't expect the world, your partner, relatives, friends, and even strangers to indulge/spoil, idolize, or not say or do anything to your children when they are in the wrong. Many children are watched by others and they must be on a schedule and disciplined accordingly. Don't be that parent who justifies wrong-doing, rather support those who love, teach, assist, and appreciate your children and let the courts deal with those who don't.
So why do some parents keep making the mistakes described in this blog entry? Simply put, they keep thinking about, "When I was a child..." The more we look at the past, for some of us, the more we stifle our children's future. Your child is not you! I have said this in other places in this blog and elsewhere. Therefore, stop thinking that you are making your child despise you, because you don't let he or she do this or that. Maybe you had a negative reaction to everything your parents ever told you, but your child is different. Consider this, some of you could actually be better parents, if you would stop looking at the past and look forward to the future. Tell your children "no" sometimes, discipline (when needed) in love, don't worry or fear little Johnny or Carol's cries, and stop looking at a partner as the bad guy/bad girl for scolding children. Rather, find common ground between all and work to make a difference in your child's life so that he or she will be a productive, effective, thoughtful, and loving citizen of our society.