7 common parenting mistakes your kids wished you realized you're making

Learn what common parenting mistakes you're making on a daily basis and how to correct them.

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  • Do you ever feel like, as a parent, you get more things wrong than you get right? If you do, you're normal. Parents all around the world doubt themselves at one time or another. After all, there's no perfect formula for raising successful, happy, well-adjusted children. But if you can identify the mistakes you're making and correct them, you're that much closer to becoming the parent your kids need you to be.

  • Telling your kids, 'You're fine'

  • Telling a crying child "you're fine" or its variant "don't cry" might seem like harmless phrases at the time, especially when you're just trying to get them to stop wailing in the middle of the produce aisle, but what your child is really hearing is, "mommy doesn't care when I cry."

  • "Saying 'don't be' doesn't make a child feel better, and it also can send the message that his emotions aren't valid - that it's not OK to be sad or scared." Debbie Glasser, Ph.D., director of Family Support Services at the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University told Parenting Magazine.

  • The important thing is that your child feels like his or her feelings have been acknowledged. Glasser suggested using sentences like, "It must make you really sad when Jason says he doesn't want to be your friend anymore," or "Yes, the waves sure can be scary when you're not used to them." These words express your concern for your child and help teach him or her the words for the feelings he or she is having.

  • Always being in a hurry

  • Imagine being towed around all day by a giant whose legs are two or three times the length of yours. The giant is always in a hurry but uses words you don't understand. You've just pictured what a day in the life of a toddler or preschooler must be like. Keep in mind your kids' short legs and their still-developing motor skills by scheduling extra time to get things done or to leave the house. On meltdown days, you might have to double that time, but taking those extra minutes to move at your children's pace will save you dividends of patience in the long run.

  • Never admitting to mistakes

  • You might want your kids to see you as a perfect, omniscient parent who has all the answers, but the truth is you aren't and you don't. Letting your kids know you make mistakes, too, could be an important part of their emotional development.

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  • "Many parents pass on perfectionism unconsciously," Mary Conroy of the LA Times pointed out. "Some are never pleased with their own work; others can't take compliments because they don't believe they deserve them. Still others refuse to let their children see them making mistakes."

  • While some amount of perfectionism can help drive children to work harder at achieving their goals, it can also make it difficult for them to cope with failure or accept criticism. You can lessen that pressure by helping them understand that everyone makes mistakes.

  • Expecting the worst

  • Yes, being prepared for the terrible twos (and threes) can help you take tantrums more easily in your stride, but it might also set you up to lower your expectations for your children. In fact, a new study has demonstrated that children understand rules and social norms as early as age 2, and certainly by age 3, according to Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "What is surprising is how sophisticated children are in calibrating their behavior to fit the circumstances," he told the DailyMail. Holding children accountable for their actions is an important part of helping them understand what is socially acceptable and what isn't.

  • Relying too much on parenting books

  • Have you cornered the market on parenting books yet? If you have, that might be part of the problem. "Parents can tie themselves into knots trying to follow the advice they read in books," Robert Evans, EdD, author of "Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Child Rearing" told WebMD.

  • "Books become a problem when parents use them to replace their own innate skills," Evans said. "If the recommendations and their personal style don't fit, parents wind up more anxious and less confident with their own children."

  • As their parent, you know what strategies work for your children far better than any doctor dispensing generic advice in a parenting book could.

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  • Worrying too much about the broken vase

  • Never is a child more in need of your love and understanding than when he or she makes a big mistake that is not easily fixed. When they're little, these mistakes might be breaking physical objects like vases or toys. Responding with love in these circumstances will make it easier for them to approach you when they get older and make mistakes that are not so easily fixed. If they know you'll love and forgive them no matter what, they won't be so scared of talking to you in the future.

  • Letting your kids sit through your favorite adult sitcoms

  • The saying goes that "Little pitchers have big ears." Like these metaphorical pitchers, your children have big ears and eyes, and while letting them sit through an adult sitcom with you might seem like a harmless activity, they may be picking up on more than you realize. You're able to tune out vulgar language and ideas that differ from your own, but your children haven't yet developed the filter that allows them to do so. Everything they hear and see is a possible truth they might internalize and believe. Do you want them repeating and believing the phrases they hear on adult television shows? Instead, review the content of shows you watch using Dove Channel's rating system or, what's more use their streaming service so you never have to worry about finding age-appropriate entertainment. Get your one month free trial today by clicking here.

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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