Every parent knows from the moment their children burst onto the scene they have a long road ahead filled with sleepless nights, dirty diapers, parent-teacher conferences and band concerts or soccer games. In your eagerness to your children, you may inadvertently do things that can sabotage that bright future you hope to build for their offspring.
Here are a few ways you may be hurting your child's future without even realizing it.
If you find you spoil your children, you can't let go, you get involved in every little issue, you give in to every demand, or you know the latest and greatest toys for every age and stage, you're probably a helicopter parent.
Being overly involved doesn't help a child: it hurts his future. Psychology Today noted a study showing that "overparenting young adults breeds narcissism and poor coping skills," which then leads to more anxiety and stress.
So how can you land and be properly involved but not overly so? Slate recommends becoming a coach, rather than a cheerleader, for one, and looking at the big picture of the child's life story, allowing him or her to make mistakes and deal with the natural consequences.
Sports, music and dance lessons or volunteering can easily fill up afternoons, evenings and weekends. If your children are tired, irritable, not enjoying the activities they always found to be fun before, having lower grades, and being needy, chances are your kids have more on their plates than they can chew.
While the soccer lessons, ballet class and pep club can teach your kids valuable skills, overscheduling can rob your family of the time and energy needed to build strong ties. That makes this bad habit one that should be broken.
Ignoring the influence of media
Do you hand your kids the phone when you need to do some business, make dinner or chat with a friend? The American Academy of Pediatrics warns of the potential harm of media: "Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors."
The AAP recommends that parents limit screen time to no more than one or two hours of entertainment-related media each day, create "screen-free" areas at home, and offer non-electronic options such as books, newspapers and board games.
In addition, parents would should teach their children to evalute and understand the role of media and its effects on their emotional health.
Damaging the environment
Every day, waste and pollution pose a threat to the environment. Pollution from individual vehicles and companies fills the air with particles and gases that most experts say are contributing to climate change as well as making it difficult for people to breathe day to day. Children and adults alike struggle with asthma, for instance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults have asthma, with about nine people dying from it every day, and costing the U.S. about $56 billion every year.
Not only does it pose a threat to your family's health, think of what the earth will be like for your children and grandchildren in 50 years.
Every parent and child can do something to make our Earth better now and for the future. Check out these videos from Free To Choose Network to educate your family about the various ways you can improve the future for your children and help the environment.