1. We give our kids creative names
Thor may have been your favorite superhero as a kid, but leave him where he belongs – in ancient Norse mythology and comic books. If you want to give your child an unusual name thinking s/he will be more noticed, choose a name that has fallen out of favor at the moment.
2. We teach them to be themselves, no matter what
What we believe is that we are teaching them not to bow to peer pressure when they get older. Your child may not listen to you about washing his/her hair more often, but let the kids at school say something and it’ll be done. A University of Virginia study in 2009 showed that teens who bowed to small amounts of peer pressure were more socially adept as adults.
3. We force them into sports
You want your kid to get physical exercise; you want your kid to learn good sportsmanship and cooperation. Sometimes, they learn some not so good things too, depending on the coach, especially one that thinks, “Win at all costs.”
4. We want them to be the brightest little preschoolers ever
We work, so off to daycare they go. And we are very careful about that daycare. Actually, studies show that we should pick a daycare environment for its loving and nurturing approach, and leave the academic program for when they actually start school. If learning is forced too early, it can turn kids off to school later on.
5. We helicopter
Kids need to fall down and skin their knees; they need to get more than 10 feet away from us. That may be an exaggeration, but letting them climb that piece of playground equipment all on their own, without hovering, is a good thing.
6. We do their homework
There is a difference between helping a child learn something and just finishing it out of frustration because it is bedtime or we have other things to do. And as we help, particularly with math and writing assignments, we can be pretty poor teachers. If we are not good at writing ourselves, then we need to get some resources and start learning.
7. We need to rescue them
No one wants to see his/her kid in pain or in trouble. Our first reaction is to step in. But we have to let them work through some things on their own. If we don’t, they become dependent upon us to be their problem-solvers – not a good thing as they move into teenage years.
8. We hurry them
Our lives become busy and hectic, and often, we are in a hurry. We have deadlines; we need to get errands run; we are running late. And so, we impose that “hurry up” on our kids. Too many activities with schedules that are too tight for everyone in the family are destructive.
9. We are their social directors
Are they meeting and befriending the “right” kids? How can we manipulate things so that they do? God forbid they should have an empty weekend on their calendars. So we orchestrate social activities whether they like it or not. It’s for their own good – not.
10. We force an introverted child to be outgoing
Introverted people have wonderful qualities – they are thinkers; they are creative; they often become movers and shakers as adults. We may be outgoing and extroverted, but we must never impose that mindset on our kids. When we have a kid who prefers a book to playing “Barbie’s” with her friends, so be it.
11. We obsess over stranger-danger
In this age of predator awareness, of course, we must teach our kids about strangers and how they are to respond. We can go overboard, and our kids can grow up with the belief that anyone who looks different or acts differently is a danger. This narrows their perspectives at a time when the world is getting smaller.
12. We give too much praise
Those little egos need nurturing. And so we do all that we can to heap on a praise for even small accomplishments. Reasonable praise, given for definite improvement or accomplishment of a goal, is worthy praise.
13. We put our kids in front of educational videos as infants
The whole Baby Einsteinvideo craze is finally over, thank goodness. We were sold a bill of goods actually, plopping our one-year-olds in front of a screen to be bombarded with new words. If we want our kids to be little Einstein’s, then we have to take the personal time to engage with them.
14. We impose our interests on our kids
We may love working on cars; we may love painting, decorating; we may love football, etc. Trying to impose that interest on our kids, and acting offended or disappointed when they do not share it, is telling them that they are less valuable in our eyes.
15. We live vicariously through our kids (or try to)
We have baggage that we take into adulthood. Whatever it takes, we are bound and determined that our child will excel in those areas. This makes us “pushy” and focused on ourselves, not on our kids’ strengths and talents.
16. We get too text-bookish about our child rearing
We need to rely on our instincts more than we currently do. If something that we are doing “feels” wrong, no matter what the experts say, then we need to follow our instincts.
17. We don’t let our kids get bored
When kids complain about being bored, we hop to it and come up with solutions for them. It is during periods of boredom that kids are forced to use their creative problem-solving skills. If they depend on others to entertain them, they will never be content to just be by themselves, and be comfortable in their own skin.