We all want to be good parents, no doubt. But we all face the task of parenting with limited training. We go in blind with our first child and we applaud ourselves for managing to keep that kid healthy and alive into adulthood. Since we rarely face the exact circumstances our children do, when they come to us for advice, we might think our words are helpful, but that advice may backfire in the long run.
'Don't worry about it'
With all the devastating news stories out there these days, your child had definitely been exposed to the real world. If she comes to you with her concerns and worries about what she sees on the news or hears about at school, don't simply brush her worry aside with a "don't worry" or "everything will be OK." Instead, explain the situation and tell her you have a plan in case of an emergency. Tell her you will do everything you can to keep your family protected and safe.
'Don't let anyone see you cry'
Telling your child to hold in his tears is telling him to bottle up his emotions. It is better to acknowledge his emotions and allow him to express what he is truly feeling. Help him deal with his emotions openly and honestly. Let him know that there will always be rainy days they will have to tread through. When children cry, they are seeking comfort and guidance, so don't hesitate to give them just that.
'Eat everything on your plate'
If your child isn't at all hungry, there is no reason you should pressure her into finishing her dinner if she is developing normally. And do not be quick to reward your child with a dessert after she cleans her plate; this just allows her to eat past fullness and take in extra sugary calories. If you are worried your child is eating too much or too little, try placing her portion on a smaller plate to trick her into thinking there is more food as it fills up the plate, and children who don't seem to eat enough will clean their smaller plates naturally.
'Ignore the bullies'
This is an age-old response to a child being bullied. Don't teach your child to ignore, because it may only provoke bullies more and prevent your child from informing an adult about the problem. Instead, listen attentively to your child's concerns and contact his principal or teacher. Finally, keep your emotions in check, because when our children are threatened, spiraling protective emotions can take complete control of our logical way of thinking. Assess the situation and assess your child before making any crucial decisions about bullying.
'You can figure it out yourself'
Children are not just small adults. They need trusting guidance to show them the ropes of life. Be patient with your child and help him with the things he needs help with. Whether it is homework or a craft project at home, if your child asks you for help, don't turn him down. Everything they learn at a young age follows them into adulthood.
'You're doing it wrong; let me do it'
This can go along with the statement above. If your child is attempting to tie her shoe and just can't seem to get it right, don't seize the laces in frustration and do it yourself. Instead of finishing the task at hand on your own, tell your child you will practice it together until she gets it right.
'You should be more like...'
Telling your child to be more like one of her siblings or peers implies you are unhappy about something that makes her who she is. Instead, help your child embrace the good and unique qualities she has and strive to work on turning the negatives into positives.
'Quitters never win and winners never quit'
Although quitters always seem to be put down, no one should be forced to do something that truly makes him miserable. Allow your child to stick with the thing he wants to quit for a while, and if nothing changes about his attitude or enjoyment in the experience, allow him to quit. It is better to enjoy life than to spend an ample amount of time hating it.
'There is no reason to be scared'
Childhood fears may seem irrational at times, but never tell your child her fear is ridiculous. Instead, talk to her to understand the fear, help her face it, and assure her you will help her make it through.
'Don't get dirty'
Kids only get to grow up once and that's it. Don't let them become adults full of regrets. Let your children play in the mud and explore the world in their own ways. If you are really worried about them tracking mud into your house or ruining their clothes, you can offer them stylish, washable rain boots from Western Chief to tread outside in all sorts of weather. Let your kid be a kid, because he only gets to experience it once.