I want to chat with you about some common mistakes that I see parents make, and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes. So, get ready to jump in, maybe some throat punches coming your way. But honestly, I really just want to help you have the most deep relationship and connection with each of your children and to just make your life easier.
I know that we are all experiencing some really difficult times being stuck at home in quarantine with our children. And we’re all just getting a little bit sick and tired of not being able to go anywhere. So, I wanted to share with you the top 10 mistakes that I see parents making and what you can do instead to really help combat those issues.
Mistake # 1: Too Much Correcting, Directing and Reminding
Now as parents, we are really good at micromanaging our kids. We want our kids to be well behaved and it seems like we are constantly repeating ourselves over and over again. Can I get an Amen! But I want you to start thinking about this and be conscious of how many times a day you are correcting or reminding them.
Instead of telling your kids, hey put your shoes away or why do you always keep your shoes all over the floor? Say something like this, please show me where your shoes go, or where do your shoes go? Asking those open-ended questions will get them hopefully understanding the idea of being responsible. So instead of telling them what to do, help guide them with what’s important.
Our kids do really well, and they rise to the occasion when we give them expectations, and this could be in the form of a checklist. I think it’s so important that kids have a reference of how they can do what we want. We need to be very clear about what we expect of them, and then instead of reminding them a million times, we just need to simply direct them to their checklist.
As adults, we don’t like being told what to do. It makes us feel angry at the person who’s telling us what to do and it just doesn’t make us want to happily comply and the same is true with your children. So pretty soon your kids are going to tune you out and they’re not going to be listening to what you’re saying, and that’s the complete opposite of what we want to happen. We want our kids to be plugged in, we want them to understand what we’re saying. But in order for us to get that across, we need to use a different approach.
Sometimes we need to read the situation and see what our children are doing that’s not appropriate and redirect it to something that is appropriate. Remember, redirection is a very powerful tool instead of always correcting, directing, and reminding.
Mistake # 2: Expecting too much from your children
Now this is something that I see a lot, even in my own home. We get so wrapped up in what’s happening in our home and we can’t understand that what we are asking or expecting our children to do, is really above and beyond what they’re capable of.
But I want you to be thinking about the expectations that you have from your children, and then be reasonable with that. It might take some trial and error to figure that out, but if you are noticing that your child is having the same problem over and over again, it’s not their problem anymore, it’s yours. Because it comes down to whether or not you are training them. Do they have the expectations in place? Maybe they just need your presence close by, especially for younger kids. But often they need our presence, they need to know that we mean business when we ask them to do something.
Mistake # 3: Expecting your kids to know better
And this is one that is also equally hard, because it feels like we are constantly saying the same things over and over again. It’s important to remember that a child’s brain is not fully developed until they’re 25 years old. Until that time, they need to continually be taught how to act and how to react. And so, it’s important that we just keep showing up and we keep doing the work and eventually our kids are going to grow up into those emotionally intelligent children. But it takes patience, it takes repetition.
We adults always have a different agenda than our children. They do not think like we think, and as I mentioned, they are more selfishly focused. So, you also have to put yourself in your child’s shoes when you are expecting something of them. And when you are wanting them to learn a lesson, it might be the way that you’re delivering the message. And so, the way that you speak to your children is so important, always keep in mind their thought process and their desires and understanding.
Mistake # 4: Saying No Too Quickly
What I mean by this is your kids come to you with kind of an outrageous idea, maybe it’s messy, it’s inconvenient. Whatever it is we just tend to be so quick to say no, instead of really listening to what it is that our children are really asking or really after.
So here are some examples of alternatives that you can say, that still get the point of no across, but also shows to your children that you care about what they’re asking. You could say something like, let me think about that or now is not the best time, but let’s plan on that and then actually give them a time that they can look to doing that. Another alternative would be, please ask me again tomorrow or that doesn’t work for me, but let’s come up with a compromise.
They’re all ways that are still saying no, but they just are a little bit of a softer blow. It’s letting your kids know that they have something to look forward to in the future as well as letting them know that you actually care about what they’re asking. We want to make sure that our kids are aware that they have good ideas, but sometimes it’s just not the right time.
Mistake # 5: Being Too Quick to Speak
So often we say things without thinking about them first. We just word vomit whatever’s in our mind right away, without even pausing five to 10 seconds, when a thought comes into our head, before we say something.
I want you to think about how many times have you done that, where you speak and then all of a sudden you see your kids or your spouse doing exactly what you just told them to do. So, I just want you to think about being slow to speak and listen and just wait, don’t be so quick to jump into correcting, directing, and reminding.
Mistake # 6: Projecting Your Stress
Now this is one that I feel like is so common for so many parents, because we’re not taking the time to actually manage and deal with our own stress. I have a whole episode dedicated to this exact topic, Episode 21, titled Save your Sanity and Avoid Overwhelm. And in that episode, I share with you a four-step process to really start to navigate and understand what you can do to help manage some of that stress. I also think it is so important that we set in place and then actually implement and follow through on work-life boundaries. I have another episode, Episode 3, dedicated to work-life boundaries, a topic which is so important when it comes to managing anxiety and overwhelm.
So, I will put a link to both of those episodes so that you can listen to those and really start to get over that hurdle of projecting your stress onto your children. Now it’s so important that when we are dealing with our children, when they are misbehaving or not acting exactly the way that we would want them to, that we take our own emotion out of it. It’s not going to be an overnight change for you, it’s going to be something that you just continually practice. But taking a step back and understanding again, from their perspective what is going on and why they might be melting down, and identifying some of the things that you can do to help.
I actually have several lessons in my new course, The Efficient Mompreneur, all about handling and preventing meltdowns and tantrums and setting your kids up for success. There’s just a ton of really great resources inside of my course and that is just a very small portion of the course. There are three separate modules; the first one is all about mindset and prioritizing self-care. Module two is about navigating work-life boundaries and how to handle working at home with kids. The third and final module is all about finding clarity in your business. If you want to check out more details, you can visit thepurposegathering.com/efficientmom.
Mistake #7: Arguing with Your Children
Now, this is something that we’re all guilty of and there is nothing worse than trying to get your point across by arguing with someone. It’s hard when they push every button and you’re running on empty and you’re frustrated and you’re angry and you just want to argue with them. I want to save you the overwhelm and the frustration and remind you that you’re not letting your child win by not arguing with them. You’re teaching them and you’re modeling to them what it looks like to have a healthy conversation with someone.
What I like to do when my kids start to argue with me is, I say what I want to say and then I stop talking. I say to them let’s just both take a minute to calm down and then we can talk about this later. There is power in teaching your children that it’s okay to walk away from a fight. That it’s okay not to engage, that there are other ways that we can handle our anger and our frustration.
I want you to remember that the next time that you’re about to engage with your child in an argument, just stop and be the bigger person. You are the adult and they look to you when they are trying to figure out how to handle conflict and how to engage in a conversation that actually leads to a resolution. It’s also teaching your child how to interact with their siblings.
You’ll probably notice that the way that you argue and the way that you talk to your children is how they argue and talk with their sibling.
So, if we are going to be the adult and we are going to model good conflict resolution skills, it starts with not engaging in the argument, getting them laughing or redirecting them to something else. And then circling back when everyone is calm and actually coming up with a resolution or actually teaching them a lesson.
Mistake # 8: Having a Victim Mentality
I feel like as moms, we tend to make excuses or blanket statements. We tend to tell ourselves negative stories that try to make us feel better which ends up making us feel worse. So, I want you to get out of this victim mentality and I want you to start telling yourself positive stories.
I began telling myself this story, about how I just can’t work when my kids are around. I just can’t ever be focused, they’re constantly interrupting me, they’re constantly needing my attention. So, I guess my business is just going to suffer because my kids were around. And I also used to believe the lie that my business, wasn’t growing because of my kids. I played that victim mentality for so long and it got me nowhere.
We get so wrapped up into what’s happening in our lives and we feel like it’s the end of the world. And we want to blame other people and we want to blame our circumstances, but really what we need to be doing is we need to be flipping the script. We need to be having a positive mindset because your mind will always look for evidence of what your thoughts are.
So, I want you and I, to get out of this victim mentality and how we do that is to be focusing on the positive things, be focusing on what we want. If I want something bad enough, I will make it happen. So now I have been forced to be that mom who works when their kids are home, because I have to. It’s either I give up on my dreams and I stop chasing them because of this excuse or I just kick that excuse in the butt, and I say no way! I’m still doing it!
So, which one are you going to choose? Are you going still play that victim mentality? Are you going to be that person that’s just stagnant? Or are you just going to find a better way? I hope that you choose the latter, do whatever you have to do to overcome that, but don’t be the victim.
Mistake # 9: Letting Your Kids Dictate Family Values and Boundaries
This is a little bit similar to the last one, so, let me give you some examples of what I mean by this. So maybe you have some picky eaters in your house, maybe your kids don’t like certain foods. So, because of that, you’ve decided that, oh well, my kids don’t eat healthy, nutritious foods, so I guess I’m just going to feed them chicken nuggets and hot dogs all the time.
That’s dictating a family boundary, you’re the one that’s in charge of setting the boundaries. You set the tone in your home, not your children. Don’t let your kids dictate your family values or your family boundaries, just because they don’t like it.
Just because your kids are not performing the way you want them to be, doesn’t mean that’s who they are forever. Just because something is not going right in this moment doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be going wrong. Always look for the positive, but also know that your kids do not dictate your family values and boundaries.
Mistake # 10: Taking Sides
The last and final mistake that I see parents making is taking sides, and that’s if you have more than one child. I feel like it’s so natural for us when our children are fighting to want to know who started it. We want to know what’s going on and we want to solve it, and we want to be able to say it was your fault, you started it and we want to just take a side.
What that does is it creates animosity between your children and it’s only going to perpetuate sibling rivalry, so I want you to avoid taking sides. Now that doesn’t mean that you cannot address both sides, but you don’t favor a side. You hear everybody’s perspective, you get everybody’s side of the story, and then you work on a solution. Who started it doesn’t matter, what matters is how you are going to teach your children to have peaceful resolution.
So, it’s important that when you’re dealing with conflict, that you are helping your children see all sides of the situation and put each other in their siblings shoes. Now I have an episode that I would love for you to listen to, Episode 20, How to Battle Boredom and Get Along. And this is teaching your kids how to battle boredom, giving them the power to know what to do. And also, some really simple, easy ways for you to teach your children how to get along.
I hope that you have found this episode to be really helpful. I do not want you to leave feeling horrible or feeling bad. I want you to know that we all have experienced this, these are things that all parents do. I want you to have a life where you are feeling joyful and peaceful. And these common mistakes, if you start to work on them and start to change and shift your perspective, you are going to be able to live a more peaceful joy-filled life.
Episode 3: Why Work/Life Boundaries Changes Everything
Episode 20: Teach Your Kids to Battle Boredom + Get Along
Episode 21: Save Your Sanity + Avoid Overwhelm