Common parenting fails and how to avoid them

When you have kids, you have a lot of people to answer to—your spouse, your parents, your in-laws (if they happen to be around), your friends and coworkers. But the person who will make you feel the worst about yourself is probably going to be your kid—not intentionally, but because that's just how it goes. You want nothing more than for them to grow up happy and healthy and successful. And if you do everything "right" as a parent (whatever "right" is), then they'll definitely turn out that way, right? Wrong! In fact, doing everything "right" will only set you up for bigger failures as a parent. So here are some things not to do when it comes to parenting so that you can live in blissful ignorance about how well or poorly your kids are turning out:

Letting your kids run the show

Letting your kids run the show. This can take many forms:

  • Letting your children be in charge of their own schedules and activities. That may mean letting them decide when they go to bed, what they wear on any given day, or how much time they spend playing video games on any given day. It could also mean allowing them to make all of their own decisions about going somewhere with friends without having to consult you first.

  • Letting your children run the house. That might mean giving them access to whatever they want in terms of food and beverages while watching TV in the living room—and not asking questions about whether there is any homework due this evening before doing so—or it might mean allowing younger children or teens (particularly if you’re a single parent) free rein with household finances that might be better managed by an adult who has more experience handling money matters responsibly than most young people do at that stage in their lives; after all, this is one situation where “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure."

Fighting with your partner in front of your kids

When you're in the middle of a fight with your partner, it can be easy to forget that kids are watching. They're very sensitive to stress and will pick up on any negative emotions that are being expressed around them. Kids won't understand the difference between what's happening between their parents and what's happening between their parents and themselves. They'll feel like they're at fault for something that isn't even their fault, which only adds to the negative effect this has on your child's self-esteem.

There must be better ways for parents to deal with disagreements than fighting in front of their children!

Trying to be a "perfect" parent

  • You are not a perfect parent.

  • You are not a perfect person.

  • You are not a perfect parent because you are not perfect.

  • You are not a perfect parent because you are human.

The reason this isn't helpful is that it can make you feel like there's something wrong with you, or that any time there's an issue with your child, it's somehow because of your inadequacies as a parent and/or person! It's important to remember that all parents make mistakes—we're only human after all—and this doesn't mean we need to beat ourselves up over every little thing our children do or don't do (within reason).

Not giving yourself any time off

You may be struggling to find the time to take a break from parenting. However, it’s important for you and your family. Here are some tips for making sure that everyone gets their share of time off:

  • If you can, talk with your partner about how often you will be able to spend time together without the children present. It may help if one person takes on more responsibility than the other, such as when one parent is sick or out of town during a school holiday. This way both parents feel like they have equal access to each other’s attention and affection—and this can make them feel less stressed out about working outside of their home environment at times when kids are in school!

  • Make sure that each child knows that he or she has responsibilities around the house (for example: garbage duty) so they understand what is expected from them while others are away at work during regular hours every day throughout summer vacation season (or whenever else there might be special events occurring). You could also try teaching your kids how best not only run errands but also keep themselves busy while doing so by following these simple guidelines below regarding what types of things tend not only encourage creativity but also provide plenty opportunities for success since they'll likely need something fun - yet productive - like painting crafts where once finished; sewing projects that require measuring carefully beforehand using tools such as rulers; knitting sweaters which will hopefully keep warm during cold winter months ahead; sewing blankets made out cloth material into quilts then finally quilting those items onto larger surfaces such as pillows too!

Giving your kids everything they want

  • It is okay to say no. You don’t have to buy your kid everything he or she wants.

  • It is okay to say yes. Sometimes, it’s just easier to give in than fight with them about whether they should get an extra toy or not.

  • It is okay to say maybe. If you aren’t sure if your child should get something or not, then it is totally fine for you not to make a decision right away! Just say “maybe” instead of immediately saying “no” and later regretting it because the item would have been fun for them at some point in time anyway… so why make yourself unhappy when you could just go back on your word?

  • It is okay not know what the best option will be yet; sometimes all we need is more time before making our final decision!

Playing favorites among your children

  • Don't play favorites among your children.

  • Don't treat your children differently.

  • Don't let your kids know that you are playing favorites or treating them differently than their siblings, because then they will probably just feel resentful and jealous of each other, and it will be an uncomfortable situation for everyone.

Thinking you know better than their teachers

It can be hard to be a parent in today's world, especially if you're trying to navigate the waters of parenting while also having a full-time job. This is why it's important to trust your child's teachers when it comes to their education. They know your child better than you do and have more experience with them. They know what they need to learn and how best to teach them. Your child's teacher knows what is best for him or her, so listen up!

Overreacting to their social media posts

While you can't control what your teen posts on social media, you can control your reaction to it. If they make a post that makes you feel uncomfortable or unhappy, try not to overreact or get angry at them.

Remember that every action they take on social media is a reflection of who they are and how they feel about themselves. Don't assume that because their actions are public, they have no consequences (or at least not ones that matter). They're still human beings with feelings—and those feelings will always be reflected in their actions towards others online as well as off-line.

You are not a perfect parent, so don't try to be.

You are not a perfect parent, so don't try to be. Don't try to be the best parent in the world. Don't try to be the best parent your kids have ever had. And definitely don’t try to be the best parent your kids will ever have—because then you'd have to stay up all night worrying about whether or not they've had a good enough childhood yet!

But seriously: do not go into parenting thinking that there's some magical way of doing it right. The only thing that matters is that you love your kid and they know it, and that they grow into happy adults who love themselves and other people back (and maybe even feel like they're capable of loving themselves sometimes). So relax! Take deep breaths! Be patient with yourself! And when you inevitably mess up—which we all do all the time—feel free to laugh at yourself and move on without beating yourself up over it too much.


Be honest with yourself and your kids about where you fall short. This can give you the space to learn from your mistakes and try new approaches in the future. It also teaches your children that making mistakes is a normal part of life—and that it’s OK to “fail” sometimes if we learn something valuable in the process.

Karl Young

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK

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