Parenting in the modern times comes with its own share of complexities. Not that parenting has ever been easy in any era, these days most of what had been accepted as normal in parenting is being questioned. To be a good parent in these modern times goes well beyond providing for your children. It also encompasses ensuring the mental health and emotional well-being of the child. It is hard and most parents have gotten lost in the need to create a balance between the physical, emotional and financial needs of their children. These are just some common mistakes modern parents make and may need to improve on:
Common mistakes modern parents make
Answering to every whim
Modern parents have a hard time setting and insisting on limits. While you work very hard to ensure your kids do not lack, attending to their every whim and spoiling them silly will sure come back to bite you in the worst places.
There has to be a limit in spoiling your kids so they learn to work hard and realize that they cannot have things their way at all times. Kids who are used to having their way have a hard time adopting to setbacks they might encounter in life.
Sparing the rod
Sparing the rod does not refer specifically to spanking the child when they do wrong, but discipline as a whole. Most parents would rather die than tell their children no, or correct them sternly when they do wrong.
Children do not know much and it is the parents’ responsibility to direct and guide them in the right path. Do not give them free rein to do as they please. More so, the morals of a child are nurtured when they are young.
Beating the kids senseless
Now this is the complete opposite of the parents that spare the rods. Life is hard and the moment you make a habit out of beating your kids, it slowly becomes a vent for all your frustrations. You will end up raising really scared, scarred children who subconsciously believe violence the solution to all problems.
Caring too much what others have to say
For some reason people will always have something to say about the kids, the house, the school – most parents are getting overwhelmed factoring in every comment, every piece of advise, every blog, every motivational speaker, every speaker – in their parenting.
That is your house and those are your kids, nobody knows them better than you. You will have to figure it all out by yourself because it is you who has all the insider information.
Putting on airs and chasing perfection is among the common mistakes modern parents make. Parenting is messy, and many are the times you will act in good faith only for it to come up as a mistake. Modern parents pursue perfection too hard. The kids do not come with user manuals and you can only learn from the mistakes you make.
And when you do something wrong, it will not kill you to say sorry to your kids. Most parents are too keen on painting the picture of perfection with their kids.
Expecting too much of the kids
Parents before just wanted their kids to do well in school mostly.. That and a god career were the hallmarks of good parenting. Children these days are not only expected to do well in school, but to also sing well in Church, score the goals in sports, be the best actor in drama club and much more. Granted, we want to raise whole-rounded individuals but sometimes we put too much pressure on the kids.
Comparing the children
Social media has enabled people to share their proud parenting moments – their overachieving kids who are your kids peers, and that often causes parents to compare their own kids to others and putting unnecessary pressure on them.
Perhaps, what parents ought to remember is, what is on social media is hardly what happens in reality. Kenyans like to put it this way: vitu ni different kwa ground. A parent might post their kids winning a sports trophy, but not that time s/he caught him smoking bhang in his room. Yet that is the reality! You can be a better parent just by focusing on your child.
Competing with other parents
There is the small matter of competing with other parents, which is more prevalent than you might thing. If family X bought a car, then we better buy a car too, even if it is beyond our means. If family Y took their kid to this school then we are taking ours too, even if it is too far from home.
Aping other people’s moves, parenting styles, lifestyle denies you the chance to develop your own family values.
Thinking your children are saints
They are not. They can turn into little imps that bully, insult, pilfer, fight and raise hell in their wake. If someone points these actions out, act on them and nip the behaviours in the bud instead of resenting the people who brought it to your attention.
Not spending time with the kids
This has nothing to do with the time you have to go to work, those kids have to eat and bills have to be paid. Times are hard and the economy stinks. But when you would rather spend time elsewhere than with your kids even on weekends or those few hours you get to be with them, that is simply absconding parental responsibility. The problem is, when kids are ignored, they feel it.
Dictate the children’s lives
You have heard those stories where kids go to law school ‘for their parents’ then graduate and pursue a career in martial arts, or deejaying, or chicken rearing – that is what happens when you choose the course of the life of someone who has not yet come to their being. They grow up, they have a better understanding of themselves and then they ‘rebel’.
Even with things as simple as sports to play and clubs to join, give the little beings some space to decide what passions to follow.