“Most parenting mistakes do not come from not caring, but rather from caring too much.”
As a parent, it’s only natural to want what’s best for your child. But when ‘the best’ is fueled by unhealthy attachments, projections, expectations and perfectionism, all of them disguised as love and good intentions, it becomes quite easy to fall prey to your own past programs and limiting beliefs and make many parenting mistakes without even realizing they are parenting mistakes.
Becoming conscious of what is done wrong is a great way to begin doing things the right way. And it is my hope that by addressing the following parenting mistakes, parents everywhere will start to self-correct and parent their children in a more conscious and empowering way, without being hard on themselves for always doing the best they know how.
15 Great Parenting Mistakes That Can Damage Child
1. Teaching them to look down on others
One of the biggest parenting mistakes is teaching your child to look down on others. I have seen this on many occasions. Innocent little beings who are being programmed by their parents to think and act as being better and far more superior than other children just because they have more money or they look ‘better’.
If you teach your children to take their value and self-worth from these things, what will happen to their confidence and self-esteem when they will encounter those who have more and look better than they do? And trust me, they will encounter them.
2. Shutting them off because they are ‘just a child’
“Years ago, an incredible study was made at Harvard University, called Project Zero, in which Howard Gardner together with his colleagues found that every child is born a genius, across multiple intelligences. But by the age of twenty, the percentage of geniuses within a population has been whittled down to 10 percent . . . and over the age of twenty, only 2 percent retain their genius ability.” ~ 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy: An Inspiring Guide to Discovering Effortless Joy
As Howard Gardner discovered during this Harvard study, every child is born a genius, including yours! But by the age of twenty, only 10 percent retain their genius. And over the age of twenty, only 2 percent.
Shocking, isn’t it?
Over the age of twenty, only 2 percent retain their genius. The rest are left with the scars and the many programs handed down to them by those who taught them to be anything other than themselves.
This isn’t a judgment, it’s a fact!
Your child is an incredibly intelligent, creative and resourceful being who has so much to teach you. They are a genius, as Howard Gardner discovered. But if you insist on shutting them off because they are ‘just a child’ – treating them as if they know nothing while you know everything – not only will you ‘help’ them to lose their genius, but you will also contribute to a lack of confidence and poor self-esteem on their part. And all of this while a huge emotional distance is being created between you and them.
3. Taking away their money and spending it yourself
Even though your child may not be a genius when it comes to taking care of their money, you can’t just take their money away and spend it as you wish.
You can help your child become more responsible by teaching them more about money. But you can’t take their money away from them. For if you do, not only will you program them to believe they aren’t capable of spending their money wisely and keeping what belongs to them. But you will also teach them to resent and blame you for it.
4. Treating them as if they were made of glass
There are many parenting mistakes you could be making and this is one that can hurt and damage your child. Of course you love your child and of course you want what’s best for them. But you have to understand that you can’t raise them as if they were made of glass. Nor can you keep them from falling down and making mistakes.
You have to give them the freedom to experience life. And you have to trust that they will get back after every fall – stronger, wiser, and more confident in their ability to overcome whatever obstacles they will encounter.
This is how you help them become fully functioning people who aren’t afraid of life and living.
5. Constantly comparing them with those who are ‘better’ than they are
Of course you want your child to shine and be the best they can be. But if you compare them with other children, telling them to be more like others and less like themselves, not only will you damage their level of confidence and self-esteem. But you will also teach them that who they are is not sufficient – never worthy and never enough: good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, etc.. And I doubt you want to do that to your child.
6. Forcing your dreams and rigid expectations upon them
Every child comes into this world with a dream in them. Deep down inside, they know why they are here in this world and what path they need to follow in life in order to find their joy, freedom, and fulfillment.
But if you insist on making your dreams their own – forcing your fixed plans and rigid life expectations upon them; telling them how to dress, think, act; with whom they should associate, date, get married and so on – you risk derailing them from their life path, causing them to lose their freedom, their sense of self, their purpose, and their love for life.
7. Wanting them to be perfect
To wish your child to be perfect may seem like a noble and innocent thing. But it isn’t. Nobody can live up to this impossible expectation, not even your child. And if you insist on pushing this desire for perfection upon them, both you and your child will suffer greatly for the rest of your lives.
“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” ~ Brené Brown
The need for perfection stems from a deep-rooted fear – fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of being judged, fear of not being able to measure up, etc.. And I assume you do not want to teach your child to live in fear for the rest of their lives.
8. Making them feel indebted to you for being born
Your child is the fruit of your love. They are the gift of life to you – to treasure, love, and never abuse or take for granted. And even though you might think they owe you their life, in fact and in truth, they owe you nothing. You are the one who owes them everything – your love, affection, attention, thankfulness, and nourishment.
9. Trying to control them and their life
I always loved that.
Just like you, your child has an inner compass; an inner guidance that is meant to show them which way to go and teach them how to better live their lives. And even though your presence, love, and guidance is necessary, these things are not to be confused with constant interference and control. For that is not love.
That is fear disguised as love.
10. Going out of your way not to upset or ‘offend’ them
Although there is nothing wrong with loving your child and treating them with dignity and respect, there is something seriously wrong with going out of your way to not upset or ‘offend them; something seriously wrong with walking on eggshells around them.
It may not seem like it but this parenting mistake can do a lot of damage to your child.
If you treat them as if they are fragile beings who could be easily broken by every little thing you or anyone else says and does, what will happen to them the moment they step out in the world and experience life for themselves? What will happen when they will have to face adversity, failure, toughness, and defeat?
So what if they get upset from time to time? What if their feelings ‘get hurt’? Let them. This will teach them how to assume responsibility for what they think and feel by better managing what goes on within them; it will teach them how not to taking things so personally, and will also help them to discover that they are far greater than all their thoughts and feelings.
11. Holding onto grudges and reminding them of past mistakes
One of the most valuable lessons you can teach your child is the lesson of forgiveness. Think about it: what can be more noble than a person who knows how to forgive, let go, and move on with their lives without getting poisoned from the venom of resentment?
To forgive is to be free to live life the way you want to. To hold on is to get stuck and forget how to live the life you always wanted to live.
If you hold onto grudges, constantly reminding your child of all the things they did wrong – from the moment of their conception till the present day, how could they learn to forgive – you or anyone else?
12. Giving all of yourself to them and having nothing left for yourself
A lot of parents take great pride in giving all of themselves away to their children, failing to realize that by giving all of themselves away, they are left with nothing for themselves.
If you lose your Self completely in the role of parent, no longer remembering who you are beyond this role, what will happen to your child’s Self when they themselves become a parent?
To love your child is a natural and beautiful thing. But to lose yourself in the role of parent and forget about your Self is not.
13. Showing them little, or no patience at all
Children are curious creatures. They want to know everything about everything and they need their parents to teach them these things.
This is how they bond and also how they create strong and genuine connections.
But if you get irritated and annoyed by every question and sign of curiosity, screaming and shouting at them to leave you alone, demanding that they stop bothering you with their ‘nonsense’, in time, they will do just that. They will leave you alone. In fact, they will leave you all alone.
14. Making them feel like you have no time for them
Time is a precious thing, no doubt about it. But so is your child. If you make your child feel like you have no time for them, the day will come when your child will make you feel like they have no time for you. It’s what they learned from their parents.
15. Giving them everything they ask for
Giving your child everything they want whenever they want it, no matter if they need it or not may not seem like a parenting mistake, but it is. This is a great parenting mistake that can keep your child from learning to discern between that which is valuable and essential, and that which is not, while at the same time, programing them to always look for fulfillment out there – in things, people, places and experiences, and thus, to never be truly fulfilled
And these are the 15 great parenting mistakes that can damage your child. May you use them to become more aware of the things that are truly valuable and essential in your child’s life. And may they help you to stay away from making these parenting mistakes yourself.
P.S. If you want to know how to damage your child, make sure to read our most popular article on parenting right here: Dr. Gabor Mate’s Great Parenting Advice: How Not to Damage Your Child
**What about you? Out of these 15 parenting mistakes, is there one in particular you have found yourself making?