How To Not Screw Up Your Kid

Let’s face it, every parent screws up with their kid.  But this doesn’t mean your kid will forever be screwed up because of it.  Parenting can seem so complicated at times.  It’s almost never black and white and you almost always have the chance of stepping on an emotional land mine.  But even so, there are some basic rules you can follow that will minimize any damage and keep your relationship with your kid in tact… at least somewhat.  Consider the following:

1. Never withhold love as a punishment.  No matter what your child does, no matter what act of aggression, disrespect, defiance or disappointing behavior they engage in… love them.  Disciplining with love is always your best bet.

2. Be willing to change your mind.  You know those times when you feel like your kid has just lobbed an emotional grenade at you and in self defense you lob three back at them?  It happens to the best of us but it doesn’t always get us the response we want.  Be willing to change your mind and reconsider any consequences you lobbed their way in the heat of the moment.  Ideally there would be no lobbing at all but this is not practical, I know.

3. Give them age appropriate responsibility.  Time flies!  One minute you are dealing with a five year old and before you know it they are fifteen.  As life flies by at whiplash speed we forget that as they grow up we have to grow with them.  What we require at age fifteen must be more than what we required at age five.  This means vacating some of your responsibilities so that they can fill them instead.  If this doesn’t happen you end up with a young adult who is entitled, rude, ungrateful and miserable.  Nobody wants that.

These sound simple but none of the above are easy.  After working with thousands of teens and parents I am overwhelmingly aware of that.  I do know, however, that these three points work.  Give them a try.  You will mess up… no offense.  But that’s ok.  You will more often get it right. And remember that just because you screw up now and then doesn’t mean you permanently screwed up your kid.

Written by Lisa Smith

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