The Biggest Parenting Mistakes: #1

Every day this week, I’ll be posting a different big "parenting mistake", so make sure to check back tomorrow!

Of course parents want to do the right thing so their kids grow to be happy, confident and successful. But over fifty years of child development research shows we may be making a few minor parenting mistakes that could have major impact in how our kids turn out. Here are five of the biggest parenting mistakes, their impact, and simple corrections to turn them. Research shows that using these simples parenting techniques--the right way--can help our children become more resilient and confident, as well as better behaved.

MISTAKE #1. Failing to Teach “Replacer” Behaviors
Instead: Show your child what you expect him to do to “replace” the wrong behavior.

“Calm down!” “Stop whining!” “Be more respectful!” A big parenting mistake is assuming our kids know what to do instead. Don't assume! Instead, teach a new behavior or skill to replace the inappropriate one. The result: the child is less likely to be a “repeat offender.”

  • Show don't tell. Your toddler is pulling the dog's fur. Call the behavior: “Don't pull the doggies fur. It hurts.” Then show the replacer behavior. “Watch Mommy. My hand pets the doggie's fur gently. See how his tail wags?”
  • Redo the right way. Your child whines. “That is a whiney tone. Listen to my nice tone. Now you try.” Or "You can't grab, but you can use your words to tell your brother you want a turn. Let's practice a few times then you can use it with your brother.”
  • Teach a new skill. For a younger kid, say: "When you start to feel yourself getting mad take big Dragon Breaths.” For an older kid, say: “Take a deep slow breath, and count slowly to ten.”


Michele Borba's 5 Biggest Parenting Mistakes:

  1. Failing to Teach “Replacer” Behaviors
  2. Not Using the Right Words the Right Way
  3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
  4. Not Using the Rule of 21
  5. Not Letting Kids Experience Failure


Come back tomorrow for the next "biggest parenting mistake"!

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