Tips To Ensure You’re Making The Right Choices As A Parent
If you’re wanting to avoid the 5 worst parenting mistakes with your kids, you have come to the right place my friend.
Do you ever have those moments as a parent where you think, Am I totally failing and making a zillion mistakes?
We all second guess ourselves. It’s normal!
There are definitely some blunders you don’t want to make as a parent, so I came up with a list of the 5 worst parenting mistakes to avoid! If you happen to be a repeat offender of any of these, you’re not a failure. You’re human.
Remember, every day is a new one, and filled with God’s new mercies.
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about making progress in our parenting!
What Are The 5 Worst Parenting Mistakes?
- Inconsistent Discipline
- Not Listening To Your Kids
- Device Freedom
- Allowing Laziness
- Not Enough Family Time
I’m going to explain each one in more detail, as well as give you tips for healthier parenting behaviors.
Let’s dive in and learn more together!
*This article contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission from any items that you purchase.
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1. Inconsistent Discipline
I’m going to be very honest and say that consistency in discipline isn’t always my forte. We all have our moments where it’s easier to just let a behavior slide because we are just too dang tired.
But it’s definitely one of the worst parenting mistakes you can make.
Our kids are learning so much everyday, and many of the things they learn come from watching us and listening to us.
If one day Addie lies and has a consequence and the next day she does it again but I let it slide, what am I teaching her? Lying isn’t a big deal? When Mommy is tired, she can get away with more? The list could keep going for sure!
Consistent discipline doesn’t necessarily mean the exact same consequence every time.
But what it does mean is that certain behaviors are not tolerated and there will always be some kind of conversation that occurs. There will be confrontation, a consequence, and hopefully reconciliation.
I completely understand that sometimes we have days where we are swimming in laundry, dishes, and on our 4th attempt at heating up our morning coffee. We just can’t catch a break!
Those days can be super challenging when it comes to consistent discipline.
Just because something is challenging or seems too hard in the moment doesn’t mean we shouldn’t follow through.
If you are struggling to be more consistent in discipline, know that you’re not alone.
Real Life Example
Consistently disciplining your children is one of the most loving things you can do in their lives.
In Scripture it says that the Lord disciplines those that He loves, and punishes everyone He considers as sons. It also says that discipline for a time can be painful, but in the end it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11-12)
When I discipline Addie, it’s not fun. I don’t enjoy enduring a crazy reaction or an unpleasant face from her.
However, the discipline isn’t about me. It’s about Addie and her heart.
This is what I say to her all the time:
“Addie, I love you so much, and I love you enough to tell you when you’re wrong. This behavior is never okay, and I love you too much to let it continue, which is why you’re having a consequence. Do you understand?”
Consistent discipline doesn’t have to mean an immediate consequence. What’s important is that your child understands the behavior expectations in the home and what is/isn’t tolerated.
In order to better understand what’s expected, there needs to be conversations and consequences when those behavior standards are broken.
Help Me Be More Consistent!
Here are some tips for being more consistent with discipline:
- Make a simple chart, kind of like a family mission statement.
This is something you can come up with as a family that contains certain rules for how you’ve agreed to treat each other in your home.
Here’s an example:
In our home we will treat people with respect, use kind words, share and get along, and listen to each other. We want our home to be filled with love for God and love for one another.
This is a great thing to post somewhere in the house where it can be easily referenced during the day. If part of this statement is broken, you can bring the offender to the poster and reread it together.
It’s a great reminder of the family rules, and also a chance for you to follow through on a consequence.
You can refer to it during the day, read it at meal times, and sooner or later your kids will have it memorized too.
Seeing this statement posted in your home will help you with consistency in discipline.
- Follow through on consequences.
We all have our moments where it’s easier to let things slide, but in the long run it will go over much better if you follow through. Don’t make it super complicated. Administer the discipline, don’t make it emotional, and move on.
Don’t make the parenting mistake of inconsistent discipline!
Great Parenting Resource!
If you need a great book to help you with consistent discipline, my suggestion is 1-2-3 MAGIC! Read the reviews for yourself and snag it on Amazon. It comes highly recommended!
2. Not Listening To Your Kids
One of the worst parenting mistakes you can make? Not listening to your kids.
I’m not talking about listening to their stories that can drag on for hours.
Come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The stories!
What I’m talking about is really listening to your kids and getting down on their level, wanting to hear what’s on their heart.
This can come into play during the day, at night before bed, or even during a discipline conversation.
I have found that I can totally fail at listening to Addie when there’s been a behavior issue. I’m very quick to start spouting off the mom talk and the things she’s done wrong without giving her a chance to share her point of view. #momfail
This makes her very angry.
I don’t appreciate being ignored or not having the ability to share my thoughts, so why would it be any different for a child?
When I give Addie a chance to talk, letting her share her perspective, the whole conversation goes so much better.
I think as parents sometimes we just go on autopilot and are huge control freaks. Administer the discipline, give the mom talk, and move on with the day.
That usually doesn’t go over very well with Addie. I need to do a better job at truly listening to her.
I have heard, “Mommy!!!! Would you please just listen to me?” more times than I care to admit.
When that happens, I realize that simply getting on Addie’s level, apologizing for not listening, and then letting her talk, will almost always deescalate the situation.
Happy Mom, happy kid, right?
News flash! Your relationships with your kids will be greatly improved if you make a concerted effort to listen to them!
Help Me Be A Better Listener!
Here are a few tips for being a better listener as a parent:
- In a discipline conversation, let them talk first before you go into Mom mode. Give them a chance to have their say.
- Remember this verse, it helps me so much!
“Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
I have prayed that verse for myself many times.
Be slow to speak. It will help you stay calm in those moments where you just want to lecture.
You’re not going to be perfect as a mom, that’s a given. If you’re wanting to improve in the area of listening, just try your best.
As your kids are growing and learning, you’re growing and learning too. It’s all about progress in parenting, not perfection!
If you want to read more about being a better listener, read this popular post: Do These 7 Things NOW To Help Your Kids Listen Better
3. Device Freedom (the worst parenting mistake by far in my opinion)
I think one of the worst parenting mistakes that is made these days is giving kids way too much freedom on their devices.
Whether it’s apps, games, unlimited time, no parental controls, not checking and reading through your kids texts or internet history, there needs to be more boundaries.
Why is device freedom one of the worst parenting mistakes?
I’m glad you asked.
All devices can be opportunities for kids to isolate themselves from the family and engage in who knows what with all kinds of people.
Do you think it’s healthy for a teenager to sit in their room for hours on end on their phone? No way!
Are you okay with your 8 year-old daughter using snapchat or texting her friends for 2 hours in her room? Absolutely not.
She’s 8. She needs to be getting her homework done, playing with her siblings, and spending time with the family, not holed up in her room on a device.
Did you know that there’s an actual diagnosis for smartphone addiction these days? Craziness!
I read that smartphone use among teenagers and a huge increase in depression rates are directly related. It’s no coincidence.
Some kids are on their phones until 2 or 3 am! Stop the madness! Wise up and give your kids some boundaries.
Now I don’t think devices are evil. We have a family iPad and Addie uses it every now and then. But there are rules and serious limitations for her.
The device that Addie clings to the most is TV.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of letting her watch TV for 45 minutes to an hour while I prep and cook dinner. That’s great!
But after she’s reached her time limit, she knows to turn it off and go do something creative.
Addie used to fight us on the TV going off, but she’s so used to it now that it doesn’t bother her.
Don’t be afraid to give your kids boundaries with their devices. Remember, you’re the parent!
Device freedom can create so much entitlement in our kids and teens. It can also bring about really ugly attitudes. That’s why they need boundaries!
Help your kids have a healthier and happier life by not giving them too much freedom on their devices. They will thank you for it later!
Help Me Give My Kids Device Boundaries!
Here are a few ideas for how to create and enforce boundaries:
- Make a cell phone contract and have your kids read through it and sign it. I’m 100% serious.
There’s a great example of a phone contract in the book Raising Grateful Kids in An Entitled World. Please read it!
There are amazing parenting ideas all throughout the book. I cannot recommend it enough, it’s my favorite parenting book ever!
- Remember, you’re the parent. You are in charge. Don’t be afraid of a 5 year-old tantrum or a 16 year-old tantrum. Eventually they will get over it.
- Be consistent. If a rule is broken, then the appropriate consequence needs to happen. Your child needs to understand that you mean what you say and that their obedience is more important than their device.
You can do this!
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How Do You Deal With Parenting Mistakes?
Before I go any further, I’d like to answer this question.
Dealing with parenting mistakes is part of the journey. Just like our kids will make plenty of mistakes in their lives, so will we as parents.
The best way to deal with these mistakes is to be humble, admit our faults, apologize if necessary, and learn from them.
Some of the best lessons we learn in life come from making mistakes.
You grow through what you go through, right? You will go through many hills and valleys as a parent.
Have a humble heart and show yourself lots of grace in the process!
4. Allowing Laziness
Another one of the worst parenting mistakes that happens often is allowing laziness in our homes.
I’m not talking about letting your teens sleep in a bit on the weekends. There’s wiggle room people.
As parents, we’d love to be able to sleep in ourselves!
Allowing laziness refers to not emphasizing the value of hard work, permitting our kids to never pitch in, basically having a house full of sluggards.
Our job in parenting is to raise kind, hardworking humans who will one day be released into the world to be productive members of society.
Learning the value of hard work starts in our homes. Please don’t raise entitled ME-Monsters!
Addie is already learning that as a member of our family, she has chores and responsibilities. She has a role to play that is very important.
She is 6 ½, and at this point she is expected to: put her dishes in the sink when she’s done with a meal, fold and put away her laundry, put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and help with the dishes.
Does she always joyfully do these tasks? Nope.
Do we, as parents, always joyfully take out the trash and do 8 loads of laundry a week? Absolutely not.
My husband and I are finding that Addie really loves to help and participate. She understands that in families everyone pitches in, and when we are all doing our jobs well, things run more smoothly.
It is definitely possible to not permit laziness in your home!
Learn more about raising grateful kids with this post: 6 Tips For Raising Grateful Kids Instead Of “ME-Monsters”
Help Me Instill The Value Of Hard Work!
If you’re not wanting to allow laziness in your home, here are a few tips:
- Give your kids chores that are age-appropriate. Pinterest has tons of charts and ideas broken down by age.
- Let your kids work towards something by accomplishing their chores, whether it’s a new toy or earning an allowance. Addie gets $2 some weeks for doing her chores with a happy heart and no complaining.
- Model hard work to your kids! Obviously moms and dads work hard on a daily basis, but model hard work with your attitude and actions.
Instead of laying on the couch for 3 hours watching TV, get stuff done and include your kids!
- Follow through on consequences when your kids refuse to help. They have to learn!
Recommended Reading: Build Confidence In Your Kids With These 7 Awesome Tips!
5. Not Enough Family Time
Some people may debate me on this, but I’m sticking to my guns.
Not carving out enough family time and just blitzing through your weeks is one of the worst parenting mistakes.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of family time!
Our society is crazy busy. We could take some major notes from people in Europe. They practice a siesta time daily. They have a break in their day.
In America, families are running around carting kids everywhere to 8,000 different activities and everyone passes each other like ships in the night.
Family dinners around the table are a lost art in America. We are just too busy.
Want to get to know your kids better and connect as a family? Make a point to eat dinner together around the table, not in front of the TV.
Ask them questions about their day. Share stories with one another.
I understand that evenings can be busy and this isn’t always possible. Aim for at least 1-2 nights a week where everyone is around the table together.
This will be life-giving to you as parents and for your kids as well.
Some of my favorite moments with my family are when we have big family dinners.
There’s something about sharing a meal and good conversation that does something inside your heart. Meal times can be big connecting points with your kids.
Don’t underestimate the power of family time!
Here are some great ideas for family fun! Top 10 Screen Free Family Activities
Help Me Carve Out More Family Time!
Here are a few tips for carving out more family time:
- Don’t let your kids be in so many activities. You might hate that idea, but it’s true. Less is more.
Extra-curricular activities are not the pinnacle of your child’s existence. Having strong bonds as a family will set your child up for success in the long run, much more than playing 4 sports each year.
- Make family dinners a priority. If something is important enough to you and your spouse, you can find ways to make it happen.
Try to have 1 or 2 nights a week where there aren’t any activities, and make a point to eat dinner together. If it has to be earlier than normal because one of your kids has an activity, that’s fine. Make it work!
- Plan for family nights. Take out your calendar and pick a couple nights each month where nothing will get scheduled. Make it sacred.
Those are reserved for family nights. Whether you order pizza, watch a movie, or play games, those nights are reserved for your family. Our society is so busy that we have to do our part to protect our family time. It’s so important!
Need some dinner ideas? Read this! 6 Easy Family Dinner Ideas + My Epic Ranch Recipe!
That’s A Wrap!
Thanks for hanging with me to learn about the 5 worst parenting mistakes to avoid.
If you took the time to read this far, you really care about your parenting and doing right by your kids!
Here’s the list one more time:
5 Worst Parenting Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
- Inconsistent Discipline
- Not Listening To Your Kids
- Device Freedom
- Allowing Laziness
- Not Enough Family Time
Don’t let this list overwhelm you. Let it guide you.
Remember, all we can give our kids each day is our best effort.
We will fail. Our kids will fail. But each day we get a fresh start.
As I say often, parenting isn’t about perfection, it’s about making progress. Progress in parenting is a huge victory!
You can do this!
Lots of love to each of you!