Some of the worst parenting mistakes are made before the baby is born, or even conceived. And most of these mistakes are made completely unconsciously. Many parents don't see these as concrete problems that can cause a host of issues in the child and within the parental relationship. But they are quite serious, quite real, and should be stopped as soon as possible.

1. Baby as property

Something many parents don't realize is that their children don't really belong to them. Biological and adoptive parents retain guardianship of their children, but those kids can be taken away if a child protection agency due to treatment or environment hazardous. Thinking of a child as something that is yoursor something youowndoesn't even cross most people's minds. It sounds so harsh, but this concept is a reality of both people who feel the need to control another life, and those who simply mistake being responsible for a child with that child being theirs.

2. Baby as extension

Your child is not an extension of you. Children are not obligated to live as you live, believe as you believe, or love as you love. Kids are independent souls who resemble you in many ways but will also challenge much of what they come across in the world. Allow your child to be curious and build the life he wants to live without the undue pressure to please you.

3. Baby as career

Overenthusiastic and manic success oriented parents known as "tiger" moms and dads push their kids to the limit. With every moment of a child's life planned, scheduled and airtight, there's little room left to be a kid. Overworking your child and robbing him of his childhood can lead to psychological trauma, burnout and crumbling under the immense pressure to live up to unattainable expectations. Kids need to be kids because that time never returns when they grow up. And it's not just for them; your kids' childhood is for you to enjoy too.

4. Baby as success

Living vicariously through your child means pushing them to succeed in areas of life where you didn't or couldn't. Using your child as a barometer of your success is unfair and robs your child of the right he has to live his own life and pursue his own dreams. If you child's success is your success, make his happiness and health a priority, not a particular job, achievement or social status.

With so many great reasons to want to be a parent, choosing any of these as your primary motivator will shortchange both you and your child. Your parenting experience and your child's development will be fraught with stress and unnecessarily strain the loving bond you two should share. Parenting is not about control, but guidance. It is not about achievement, but creating a fulfilling life for your child. Believe it or not, parenting is a two-way street and there is much every person can still learn as they grow and head on their journey. Never stop evolving as a parent, and you won't have to make these last-century mistakes.

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