No parents live long enough to make all the common mistakes in the book, but having been through the process three times over, I’ve learned there are some mistakes you can’t afford to make.
The following are statements which should never come from the lips of a parent.
- “Do what I say, not what I do!”
Forget it. Your example cancels out everything you say. Your kids need role models, not a sermon. If you don’t measure up, forget the rhetoric and concentrate on your example.
- “I want you to have this gift since I can’t be there with you.”
Gifts are a poor substitute for your presence. Being at the ball game or at the school function, even though it is a sacrifice of time and energy, means more than the reward you may give to your son or daughter.
- “If you do this again, you’re going to get it.”
Major blunder! Consistency in parenting is one of the most necessary ingredients. When you do not deal with a situation and discipline a child right away, no matter how tired you are, you are sending conflicting signals.
This produces uncertainty. Boundaries which are consistent and definite give stability and security to a child.
Teaching a child to be responsible is planting the seed of future success.
- “Because I Love You, I’m doing this for you.”
Love isn’t the issue. Responsibility is. Failing to teach your children to assume responsibility for their lives shortchanges them. Later on, college roommates, bosses or spouses won’t do it for them.
- “How could you be so dumb”
Telling a child what he did wrong only certifies the obvious. It’s better to talk about how to handle a troublesome situation in the future. Saying, “Let’s talk about how you are going to handle this the next time…” gives you a chance to deal with character building.
- “If your older brother can get A’s, why can’t you?”
Comparing children creates anger and defensiveness. Every child is different. Each has aptitude and abilities which may be lacking in other children even children with the same mother and father.
As a parent, strive to recognize what each child does well and build on that. That’s what Scripture is driving at when it says, “Train a child in the way he should go” (proverb 22:6).
- “If you don’t stop that, I’ll tell your father when he gets home.”
Discipline should be administered at the point of wrongdoing by the parent who is aware of the problem, not later when the other parent gets home, or even on the next weekend when Uncle Jerry comes for a visit.
- “If you are a good child, I’ll give you some extra money.”
Rewards for doing the right thing teach the wrong thing. Doing right is a responsibility; Yes, even a duty. It isn’t always rewarded in life by pay increases or bonuses. Teaching children to do right because it is right is responsible parenting.
- “God’s going to get you when you are bad!”
Parents who use God as the “bogeyman” are teaching the wrong things about God. Understanding that there is forgiveness with God as well as with each other is an important spiritual truth.
- “When you get old enough to choose for yourself, you can go to church”
Wrong again! A child learns half of everything he knows by age three, three-fourths by age seven. The spiritual training of a child begins at birth. Nobody is perfect, but these are some mistakes you can’t afford to make as a parent.
Get these Lists of Parenting Resources
Raising Godly Kids 52 Guidelines for Counter-Culture Parenting HAROLD J. SOLA, Christian Publications 2001