Yes, I’m only human and no, I wasn’t provided a parenting handbook when I had my children. So the mishaps I have made along the way should be understandable, right? My parenting journey has included a little trial, some error, and a ton of advice from my older and wiser loved ones. But in the end, the raising of my daughters completely falls on the shoulders of my husband and me. To break it down even further, between the two of us, we each have our individual roles in our children’s lives and have to be fully responsible for the actions we take in our rearing.
If I had to start all over again, plus knowing what I know now, there are a few things I would do entirely different. There are certain consequences that will come directly from the actions I take or don’t take today. With their future being my top priority, here are the parenting mistakes I will never make again:
Mistake #1: Not being tough enough. Somehow I found myself as the soft/easy parent. My husband became the parent our children were nervous about delivering bad news to because there would be more serious consequences with him. My wake up call came one day as I reviewed my daughter’s homework. As I gave her the thumbs up and told her to have her father look it over too she immediately began erasing and rewriting the work. I asked her why she was changing things and her response was that the current work wouldn’t be acceptable for daddy. It not only saddened me it also embarrassed me. But it was also exactly what I needed to hear to step my parenting game up big time.
Mistake #2: Not pushing my children out of their comfort zones more often. This was one of the biggest lessons I had to learn. By only giving them a gentle push and accepting C level grades allowed them to get a little too comfortable. If we as parents are not setting higher expectations for our children they are going to live and show up well below their potential.
Mistake #3: Attempting to be the fun parent. Growing up, my mother was always the coolest parent on the block. She always made sure we had a good time. But she was also a great disciplinarian. My mom was no nonsense. Somewhere along the way I wanted to keep the fun part of parenting and got a little too relaxed on the discipline side. My being the fun parent was no good for anyone. We can have a good time, but it has to always be clear the discipline is what shapes them into responsible adults.
Mistake #4: Assigning more responsibility early on. Here I was trying to be superwoman by taking care of the majority of the household tasks. Then one day it hit me, these children are not only old enough, but it is also necessary that they learn how to take care of a home. My only regret here is not introducing chores even sooner.
Mistake #5: Protecting my children from disappointment. As a parent our goal is to always ensure our children are happy. So going out of my way and even sometimes inconveniencing others to make sure my daughters had what they wanted was just irresponsible. It came to a point where their expectations became ridiculous. It was time to nip this behavior in the bud. It is healthy for our children to experience disappointment. Again, this is another one of those life lessons that will benefit them greatly as adults. The sooner they learn and accept that sometimes life isn’t fair the better they will be able to adjust and move forward.
I am grateful to have caught these errors while my children were still young enough. My girls will be better off as a result of these tough love parenting techniques.
BMWK — What parenting mistakes have you made?