Parenting would be so much easier if there was a handbook. But there's not. The way you parent your children depends entirely upon what you and your spouse decide. The home you build for your family is unique from every other, and the way you parent your children will be different from everyone else. There is nothing wrong with that.

However, there are some things parents should never do when raising their children. It's easy as parents to fall into unhealthy habits that only hurt your children and make it harder to raise them the way you want. In order to raise your children into the great men and women you know they can be, you need break these four bad habits right now:

1. Breaking your own rules you've set up for your children

Parents often say that their household is a dictatorship and not a democracy. Whatever you say is the law and your children are expected to follow that law. Make sure they know what the law is.

You and your spouse set up certain household rules for a reason. Sometimes those rules apply to you and not just your children. You can't expect your children to obey the rules you've set up if they see you breaking them. Parenting is all about leading by example. Be an example to your children and actually stick to the rules you've set up. Your children will be more likely to follow your example and actually stick to the rules.

When your children break the rules, make sure to discipline them. If you don't stick to your word and discipline them for breaking the rules, they'll be more likely to keep breaking your rules, because they know they won't always be disciplined when they do something wrong.

2. Not saying "no" enough and not giving a reason

When it comes to discipline, having the ability to say "no" is vital. If you don't say "no" enough to your children, they will take advantage of you. You aren't your child's servant, you are their parent. No matter how much you want to give your children everything in the world, they can't have it all. Saying "no" teaches your children they aren't the center of the universe and they won't always get what they want.

However, don't say "no" just because you feel like it. Your children need a reason. Tell them why you're saying "no" and explain opportunities when the answer may be yes. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the importance of waiting and it will allow them to learn how to wait. It won't be Christmas everyday for a reason. (You don't want your children turning out like Dudley Dursley from "Harry Potter.")

3. Getting angry and having loud outbursts at your children

While it's important to love your children and be friends with them, they need to remember that you are their parent, not just their friend. It is your right as a parent to get angry with your children (and maybe put the fear of God in them). But don't be extremely critical to the point of diminishing their self-esteem.

Children are constantly learning and growing. Do not belittle them or criticize them for their faults on a daily basis. Your children aren't perfect! They won't do anything right the first time, just as you never did when you were growing up. Constant belittlement or chastisement will only damage your children's self-esteem and drive them away from having a good and healthy relationship with you.

4. Not taking the time to talk with and spend time with your children

Your children need you. They want you be there for them, especially during those times when they need you most. They need time to spend with both of their parents, as well as one-on-one time with mom and dad.

It's up to you to give them the opportunity to spend time with you. Don't be afraid to get off your phone, turn off the computer or TV and spend time with your children. The times when you are able to have fun with your children and make memories with them are things they will remember for the rest of their lives. These can be valuable teaching and learning moments for them, so don't pass up the opportunity when it arises.

As parents, it's up to you to build and allow for a healthy environment in your home where your children are willing and able to talk to you and be open with you. Make sure your children know that you love them and appreciate them. A household that breaks any of these four habits will strengthen your children's respect for you and allow for a healthier, happier family.

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