20 Things Parents Should Never Do!

Yes, here is more advice for parents. Are you a parent who takes parenting seriously and truly wants to learn as much as possible to be able to parent your child(ren) as positively and as successfully as human possible? If so, read on. There may be some perspectives offered that you had not thought of, or perhaps have slipped your mind.

This offering comes via Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist, noted brain imager, and frequent presenter on PBS. I spent a day with him many years ago and came away impressed. He is all about understanding the brain and finding ways to wire it for maximal performance. His suggestions follow, along with my thoughts. This is the NEVER do list

  1. IGNORE THEIR BRAINS: The brain controls everything your child does. If the brain is troubled, particularly in the early learning years, the child will be troubled in later life.
  2. FORGET WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A CHILD/TEEN: Remember the challenges and struggles you had as a child. You then will have more empathy, understanding, and patience for your child.
  3. RARELY SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH THEM: If you spend quality time with your child you will have a good relationship. Thus, s/he will emulate your behavior and learn the right way to grow up.
  4. BE A POOR LISTENER: Try to focus in and truly hear your child. S/he will feel valued and respected which helps build self esteem.
  5. CALL YOUR CHILDREN NAMES: If you do call your child negative names s/he will internalize them and live out that descriptor.
  6. BE OVERLY PERMISSIVE: Multiple studies have shown that children that did not have appropriate boundaries and guidelines, with consequences, grow up with more psychological problems.
  7. FAIL TO SUPERVISE THEM: You child’s frontal lobes do not develop fully until the early 20’s. Therefore your vigilance in knowing where they are and what they are doing is paramount.
  8. BE A LOUSY MODEL: If your life style motto is “do as I say, not as I do” you are setting yourself up for frustration. You want to model the behavior that you want your child to emulate.
  9. ONLY NOTICE WHAT THEY DO WRONG: Try to catch your child doing the “right” things. Positive reinforcement will continue to motivate them to do more of these behaviors.
  10. TELL YOUR CHILDREN THEY ARE SMART: Dr. Amen stresses to point out how hard they work. I agree with that but I don’t see the harm in telling children they are smart – if they are. If they are not, then don’t tell a lie!
  11. IGNORE THEIR MENTAL HEALTHY ISSUES: Dr. Amen states that it takes an average of 11 years from the time a child exhibits psychological symptoms til s/he gets evaluated. Don’t miss the signs!
  12. IGNORE YOUR OWN MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: Look in the mirror. Do you have psychological issues that should be addressed? You want to be the best parent possible, don’t you?
  13. GIVE INTO TANTRUMS OR OTHER BAD BEHAVIORS: If you do you will teach them what you will tolerate. They then will learn what misbehaving they need to do to get what they want.
  14. DIMINISH THE OTHER PARENT: Whether you live together with the other parent or not, do not trash the other. Your child loves each parent and gets distraught hearing either one being negatively talked about.
  15. NEVER GET TO KNOW THEIR FRIENDS: Especially during adolescence, the most influential people in your child life is not YOU, it is his/her peers. Know these friends and their families if possible because they are significantly forming your child.
  16. BE REACTIVE: Have a plan, goals that you set for parenting. Have expectations and consequences, and be consistent. Don’t just fly by the seat of your pants in reactive mode.
  17. DON’T UNDERSTAND NORMAL BEHAVIOR: By knowing what is normal at a given developmental stage you will better recognize when your child does something out of norm so that you can respond appropriately.
  18. TELL KIDS HOW TO THINK: You want to be a good coach, not a dictator. At the appropriate developmental stages you want your children to be curious as they mature into their unique selves.
  19. KEEP KIDS UP TOO LATE: Children need more sleep than most parents realize for optimal brain development and function. Enough sleep is a priority. The growth hormone actually works more effectively while your child is sleeping. Consist bedtimes help.
  20. FEED YOUR CHILD THE STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD): A human’s brain uses 20-30% of the calories that you consume. If you feel your child a fast food diet you will have a child with a fast food mind which is associated with ADHD, depression, and dementia later in life. Feel your child brain healthy food to foster optimal brain development and function.

Well, caring parents, do you have all that?  Parental reminders can help keep us on track to do the most important job in the world – raising healthy, safe, successful kids!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates.

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