When I was expecting my first and only child, I remember being continually plagued with one big fear which hovered over me like a dark cloud – what if I turn out to be a terrible parent? I spent nine months agonizing over my lack of expertise when it came to changing nappies and feeding, only to be overwhelmed with excitement, bliss (not just mere happiness) and a new found anchor in my life once she was actually born. And this is exactly where all my mistakes as a parent began.
In a bid to give direction to the child, instill discipline and ensure that the child wants for nothing, we end up hyperventilating and hyper parenting in equal measure. Changing nappies and feeding come quite naturally, as I soon found out. But realising the mistakes I am making as a parent – that’s a whole other ball game.
I placed the entire weight of my expectations and anxiety on this precious anchor of mine. I forgot that she too, is an individual human being, and not just a property I own. Yes, we all take care of our children and give them the best in life, but we also fear for their future and end up doing things that can safely be categorised as parenting mistakes. While they may not necessarily make us terrible parents, they do create a lot of chaos where much of it can be avoided. Here are my top parenting mistakes:
- Expecting her to be perfect: I expected my baby to perfect from day one. This would lead to panic if her poop was even a little off its usual consistency, and when she is not in the mood to finish her homework.
- Putting all the weight of my anxiety on her: In a bid to make her perfect, I have put all my fears and anxieties on her, and if I do not stop now, they will enter her brain and become the trigger for her actions. While a little bit of fear is a good thing, it is less than ideal for your child to do anything out of fear. All their actions should come from a place of love and confidence.
- Ignoring the perfect moments: All those less than perfect moments are actually perfect memories that I am busy ignoring. I need her face to be wiped clean at all times. I could take a picture of that chocolate smeared smile instead. I need her handwriting to be perfect at all times. I could hold those pages dear instead, because in no time at all, she will be an adult with no memories to laugh at. I could trash that leftover lunch or freeze it for the next meal, instead of trying to teach her the value of money and all it can buy. I could set an example for her to eventually follow, instead. Get my point?
- Hovering: Have you finished? Are you doing it properly? Which classes can we enroll you in? What can we do about your future? Stop. Just stop. Enjoy what you have now. Leave the children to their own resources – they will figure life out no matter what!
So, how many mistakes are you busy making? Or rather – how many are you willing to correct?