Skip to main content

All The Rest Of The Mistakes You (And I) Are Making As Parents

So last week I started in on the first 4 of the 8 common mistakes parents make.  As promised I’m back with the final four.  If you want background, check out last week’s story.  Otherwise, let’s get right to it:

5) Overscheduling your child.  I’m already seeing this creep in.  Honestly, I can see how parents quickly fall into this trap and not only aren’t sure how to extricate themselves from it, but don’t even realize they are stuck in it.  It starts with a pool membership, then a visit to a bounce house place that everyone agrees was enjoyable.  And then of course you want a trip to the zoo.  And a museum is a must.  And vacation, you just have to go to the beach – the kids need to see the sea.  And then there is music.  Music is important; everyone agrees.  But isn’t that a lot of seated activities?  We really need more active activities.  What about soccer?  Suddenly, an entire summer comes and goes.  You are exhausted, your kid are exhausted, you are angry, your kids are whiny.  And then they are 18 and its over and you overscheduled without even realizing it.  As the WebMD article says, the fix is easy: “give your child time to unwind with free play when he gets home from school.”  That is especially important since:

6) Underestimating the importance of play.  Enrichment programs probably won’t give your kid an edge.  And if you are reading this blog, preschool isn’t likely to either.  Free play is likely much more important to your child’s development, especially brain development.  As your child learns – and yes, fails – to put that puzzle piece where it belongs their brain is developing.  All through the process your little one is learning how to manipulate the piece, how the edges match up, how they interact, and yes, how to handle failure and frustration.

7) Getting distracted by the daily grind.  I’ve argued that parents need to step back, relax and give their kids room in the past.  But its important to give them undivided attention as well.  As the story says, “kids aren’t stupid.”  They know when you are on your iPhone that you aren’t really engaged.  Rather than give them 50% of your attention, block out an hour, or even a half an hour, and give them 100%.  Then let them play independently for the rest of the time while you take care of whatever it was on your iPhone that was important.  You’ll be happier, and they’ll be happier, and in the end, that is the essence of good child rearing.

8) Overreacting to lies.  I have no experience on this one.  My kids have a vocabulary of probably 10 words at the far end and like 3 at the near end.  Using words is still an accomplishment.  Using them to deceive seems unlikely to ever happen at this point.  But I’m now well aware that I shouldn’t overreact.  Fibbing is a normal part of your child’s life.

I’m 6 out of 7, with one not applying to my 18-month old triplets.  How did you fare?

Note: Next week I’m exploring ways to raise your child’s IQ.  Hint: It involves parent-child interaction, not toys and Einstein-based computer programs. Be sure to check back, because, hey, who doesn't want to raise their child's IQ? Smart, er, bad parents, that is who.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Dark Months

The holidays are over.  It only seems like life is over.

There is a solid three month period where holidays of various degrees are hitting you one-two-three style.  You have Halloween, which takes some of the sting out of the cooling temperatures and the disappearance of summer.  You have Thanksgiving, with rare foods and the promise of Christmas. 

Then you have a month of prepping and joy for Christmas.  You are so busy, you hardly notice how cold it has gotten.  And this year it got pretty darn cold.  And then Christmas itself.  My wife and I take a week off between Christmas and New Years, so we have that. 

Its a period so full of life.  And then the aforementioned NYE - when the cold decided to take it up a notch.

With triplets, its a little like being shot out of a cannon and taking three months to land.

But when you land, you land firmly in what I call the Dark Months.

There are no more holidays.  Yes, I realize MLK and Presidents Day are in January and February, and yes, I know…

I Really Should...

... write an ode to Yunnan jig tea. It's great, honestly.  Smooth and delightful with just the right amount of punchy flavor.  Not coffee, but nicely caffeinated.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, find some loose leaf Yunnan jig and brew away.  May I suggest something from www.adagio.com?

... creatively write more.  I have a few story ideas.  At least 3, including the one I've already written and desperately need to edit and round out.  But its such a ... chore.  I really like reading, and I don't mind writing.  I actually enjoy writing one-off stuff like I do here.  But putting together 75k-100k in a complete order that makes sense and completes a story arc?  Ugh. Its all ... so much.  Blame my years in journalism, where I write tons of one-off stuff where the narrative is kind of half written for

(Speaking of this blog and writing)

... post more here.  As with all things, I guess, time is hard to find, whilst being a poor excuse.

... think before I agree…

Parenting As A Two-Edged Sword

A) The other day I took time out of my schedule to play dolls with my daughter.

B) The other day, I took time away from playing dolls with my daughter to cook dinner.

Which really happened? A, or B?

From a certain perspective, both are true. As Obi wan Kenobi warned:


What I told you was true… from a certain point of view
In the moment, I considered myself a heroic Dad. Here I was, valiantly cooking dinner for the kids and their Mom while also managing to get in some one-on-one time with one of the kids. And playing one of her favorite things, too boot. That is perspective A. 
But it occurred to me that from her perspective (B), what I was saying might not be true. 
Instead of a Dad demonstrating superpowers of multi-tasking, she might simply be seeing me as too busy to really give her my full attention. 
When I look back in 10 years I might well remember the hectic but great times when I played dolls with her while cooking.
And as a teen, she may well look back as at a Dad too consumed with…