We have 2 boys Jairus & Amaziah aged 7 and 3 and a half years old and as parents it is our heart’s desire to see them grow in a loving and healthy environment; environment where they learn to value family and progress towards leading good healthy lifestyles.
In achieving this as parents we are also aware of how important it is for us to model that lifestyle through our words, behavior and Love for God.
Having seen some parents struggle in their relationship with their kids and express their frustration from time to time, we realized that there are certain habits in parents themselves and in us as well that needs to be changed and rectified; habits that children absolutely hate and if neglected it can have an negative impact over them.
Habit #1 – Giving False Promises
There can be many reasons why as parents we make promises to our children.
We can make a promise as a prepayment for something we want.
Eg. “Okay, I promise that I will take you to the park if you finish with your chores”.
We can make a promise to compensate our failure.
Eg. “I know I promised you that we would go to the park but now I have to complete this urgent work. So, I promise I will take you to the park”.
We may make a promise that we’re quite doubtful of yet we don’t want to disappoint our child.
Eg: “Sure, someday we can go on a vacation to Disneyland”.
Unfulfilled promises create disappointment and gradually mistrust in children because they feel manipulated and can loose their sense of value for your words.
Remember “A promise that is a commitment and is done on time, all the time is simply lifestyle but a promise that is made verbally and not done is a debt”. Debt of any kind is failure and will only lead to hurt and despair in our children.
Habit #2 – Arguments & Fights
It is normal for parents to disagree and argue with each other on little or more bigger matters from time to time.
Sometimes though we might disagree with each other, we can still manage to talk about it calmly where both of us get a chance to listen and to talk. But many times when parents disagree, they argue. An argument is a fight using words.
Most kids worry when their parents argue. Loud voices and angry words parents might use can make kids feel frightened, sad, or upset. Even when parents are angry and don’t talk to each other at all — can be very upsetting for kids and they hate it to the core.
Habit #3 – Favoritism
As parents we can display consistent favoritism toward one child over another. This favoritism can manifest in different ways: more time spent with one child, more affection given, more privileges, less discipline, or less abuse.
There are other scenarios how favoritism manifests itself. Take for instance, parents giving more attention to newborns than they do for their older children. The same goes for children who are sick or disabled.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re the chosen child or not, the perception of unequal treatment has damaging effects for all siblings,” explains Dr. Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., director of the Cornell Institute for Transnational Research on Aging and one of the authors of the article.
“The less favored kids may have ill will toward their mother or preferred sibling, and being the favored child brings resentment from one’s siblings and the added weight of greater parental expectations.”
“They’re more likely to be depressed because they spent so much of their lives trying to court parental favor that they may not have developed their own personality,” Dr. Libby says.
Habit #4 – Too much Talking
When parents go on and on, kids tune them out. Researchers have shown that the human brain can keep only four “chunks” of information or unique ideas in short-term (active) memory at once. This amounts to about 30 seconds or one or two sentences of speaking.
It’s a common habit for parents to get into the lecture routines, constant reminders and way too many warnings but the truth is that you are getting nowhere with it. I never heard a child thanking their parents for repetitive talks that helped him/her excel in life.
Children hate too much talking so let your actions speak louder than your words.
Habit #5 – Screaming
Children say or do something that pushes our buttons and the next thing you know, we’re yelling at the top of our lungs. Afterward, we feel drained, upset and guilty wondering why it always has to come down to screaming. And just like us even children get frustrated when we end up screaming and yelling at them.
The first thing the child learns about you when they see you screaming is that you can lose control anytime and eventually they learn how to shut you off by simply ignoring you when the yelling starts.
Children hate this habit and will never respond positively.
Habit #6 – Comparison
Researchers from Brigham Young University found a significant and often overlooked flaw in the way parents express perceptions of their children. The results of their study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, encourage parents to stop comparing siblings to one another before it causes a lifetime of harm.
When I read this above findings conducted by the University, it didn’t surprise me because I have seen and experienced to some extent the damage caused due to comparisons being made to other kids. A child looses all sense of self worth, confidence and only keeps doubting himself/herself. If not dealt with effectively or in the right way, this feeling is carried through even during the later stages in a child’s life leading to isolation, deprivation and depression.
So, before blaming our children for what’s not working let’s first evaluate ourselves and set things right. Let’s make our children enjoy life and enjoy learning and growing with us.