It’s easy to develop habits that are harmful to the relationships with our children and partners. Consider stopping the following. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the big impact of small changes.
1. Watching television during dinner. Talking with your kids and spouse, once there is a foundation of trust and acceptance, is better than any YouTube video or Netflix movie.
2. Threatening. Disciplining is about teaching that there are consequences, both good and bad, for the way we act. You pay a high cost in a loss of credibility when you say one thing, and do another. If you are not able and willing to follow through, then don’t say it!
More parenting tips: Predicting our kids’ futures
3. Making children your highest priority. Don’t raise your children to feel as if they are the most important people in the world. Their needs and wants must be balanced with others, particularly parents and siblings.
4. Solving your child’s problems. Time with our kids is very limited. Teach them how to live without your constant direction, supervision and interventions. Allow them to fail, get frustrated, feel despondent and then recover and try again.
5. Talking too much. Ask questions, but don’t interrogate. Try to understand without judging. You’ll hear your child say things that make you feel angry, annoyed and frustrated. However, try to understand their world. Be careful about how and when you try to influence their perceptions.
More from Dr. Ramey: 7 ways to connect with your child
6. Yelling. You may temporarily feel a bit better, but yelling doesn’t work for most parents and kids. Instead, calmly restate your expectations and follow through with the appropriate consequences. Give yourself a time out when things get too much.
7. Checking your smart phone when you are with your family. This is more habit than necessity. Consider developing a schedule whereby you look at your phone only at certain times of the day.
8. Catastrophizing. Unpleasant things happen to us every day. Some are minor inconveniences, while others are traumatic. We need to figure out how to live a meaningful life without overreacting to unfulfilled expectations. A sense of gratitude for what we have, rather than whining about what we don’t, is a great antidote to life’s daily stresses.
9. Praising too often. Kids of all ages need lots of attention, praise, and affection. However, don’t make your child psychologically addicted to your recognition. Children need to learn a sense of self-control and inner satisfaction.
10. Being your child’s best friend. You’re a parent, not a buddy. It’s great to be emotionally close with your child, but you still need to be a parent. You can’t be both.
Next Week: Sibling incest