Common parenting mistakes that drive a wedge between you and your child — and result in bad behavior
Dealing with Failure
We all fail in life. We also fail at saving money, being a good friend, taking care of ourself. We fail at loving our spouses well, and very often, most of us fail at parenting. But the important thing to remember is that you are human, and failure is apart of life — it's what you do with failure that will determine the outcome.
This article is not to shame you as a parent in ANY way. We are all in this together, and part of that means we hold one another to a higher standard.
We accept we aren't perfect, but learn from it. We allow ourselves grace but strive for betterment.
As a parent, I believe one of the most important responsibilities I have is to self reflect on my actions, sometimes daily.
That means I am continuously asking myself if I am projecting my struggles on my kids or if my anger is seeping through as I discipline them.
Over the years, I've written a lot about parenting. Here are some other popular parenting articles that might help you.
And one thing I have learned in parenting is not to expect immediate results from my kids, and not find my identity in them either.
Let's go deeper into what that means, and how you might be unintentionally, and unwittingly doing this as a parent.
1. You find your identity IN your kids instead of identifying WITH your kids
There is a great book I read by Paul Tripp called Parenting. He talks a lot in his book about the dangers of finding your identity in your kids.
That doesn't only mean you live vicariously through your kids as far as wanting them to be successful in x,y, or z because you weren't, but also addresses the more unconscious things we do throughout the day.
Let's say you went to the grocery store with your kids. You DREAD doing so EVERY SINGLE TIME because your kids are those kids everyone looks at and questions why you decided to breed. After seeing your kids, those people decide for themselves not to breed.
Your children are the ones who caused a cleanup in isles 1, 5, and 23. The ones who put an assortment of sugar-coated processed foods into your basket without you noticing until checkout, and you feel too guilty to ask the cashier to put them back.
You then end up giving in and buying your kids all kinds of crap that you end up eating yourself while curled up in the corner of your closet, hiding from those evil little offsprings that people call children.
Yes, those are your kids. The ones that leave you feeling ashamed and guilty because "WHAT will other people think of ME!?"
After you get in the car, you yell at the top of your lungs once again, telling your kids just how much they embarrassed YOU.
Here's where I tell you, you're not a bad parent for yelling that. But therein might lie the issue. Your kids embarrassed YOU.
When we tell our kids that their behavior embarrassed us, made us angry, or put us out in some way or another, we are coercing them to behave better to please us, not because it's the right thing to do.
Realizing they have let you down once again, they feel ashamed, unworthy, and like they can never live up to what you want from them.
This issue is subtle, folks. And popular parenting techniques like Love and Logic are well-meant, but teach parents how to get obedience through manipulation, or getting your kids to please YOU.
Well, what does this do?
It causes you to find your worth as a parent in your child's behavior, while at the same time causes your child to find their worth in your response.
Does that make sense? Your children will respond one of two ways — become a great little actor, or hate themselves for not being perfect.
So what can we do about it?
Well, here is quite possibly the best advice you will ever receive as a parent.
Expect your child to be disobedient, don't expect them to be adults, and acknowledge that they are sinners just like you.
Identify WITH your kids, instead of finding your identity IN your kids.
This will free you up to be gracious, patient, and recognize the big picture — they are being molded and shaped by God JUST like you.
2. You don't monitor what they are being exposed to
First of all, I want to make this clear. In today's culture, your kids WILL be exposed to age-inappropriate content. There is no way around it. So along with doing your best to monitor what they see and hear, teach them what to do with something they shouldn't have seen or heard.
More often than not, I am seeing parents allowing their kids to be on YouTube without and kind of parental guidance — and that, my friends, is a parent fail.
Your child WILL be influenced by something, whether it's what they see on their screens, their peers, their teachers. Are you sure you want your child's first knowledge of sex to be from a peer, or worse, a screen!?
Of course, you don't! So stop allowing them unmonitored access.
There are incredible resources for this that don’t require you to be present at all times while they use screens.
Most smartphones allow you to monitor their content AND keep them from deleting their history. Covenant Eyes is an amazing software for your computers that will enable you to see what your kids are seeing.
Axis.org is an incredible resource for keeping you up to date on the latest social issues, social media, video games, etc. Check out their most recent series that my husband and I were apart of, Technology and Teens.
There are SO many resources to equip you as parents. You are not helpless, and God created you to be the perfect person for that exhausting job we call parenting.
3. You aren't putting your personal growth or marriage before your kids
Everyone knows you can't pour from an empty cup — this is common knowledge that has recently worn many masks — self-care, self-help, how not to have a mom burnout. But even after you have given yourself a mani/pedi, or taken a shopping day, why are you STILL exhausted?
Well, I know or myself that my self-care has more to do with my spiritual health and less to do with how good my nails look.
When I am taking time for God, He is the one who fills my cup. When I spend time with Him, my marriage is better. When I have my quiet time, my anger subsides, and I can be a patient and caring mother.
Your personal growth in relationship to your spiritual life should be first on your list. And please feel free to take a shopping day or get your nails fixed, I don't negate that as helping with mom stress. BUT don't neglect the fact that your relationships will benefit from a spiritually healthier YOU. Moms and dads, how can you parent well when you are not well? How can you parent well when your marriage isn't healthy?
Before your kids, put one another first — that is the backbone of a healthy family, and healthy parenting.