Parents usually have the best in mind when raising their kids. Since they’re your parents, after all, you automatically assume they have your best interests in mind, and know everything about raising a kid. Parents are human, and just as prone to screwing things up as you can be, because they’re human. Some of the time parents are clueless, especially when they have their first kid. So in what ways have your parents screwed up your brain?
First of all, parents generally don’t know how to properly discipline a child. Every time they act out, the parent yells at them, spanks them, or gives them a time out. This can make a child anxious or violent, and give them all kinds of bad issues later in life. It’s best, depending on the severity of what they did, of course, to talk to them about what they did in a reasonable way. You don’t have to communicate with a child by yelling at him. Most of the time, this just makes them angry and more prone to lashing out.
Lack of Discipline
Second, it’s bad when a parent does the polar opposite of this – tries to be your friend. While it’s important to keep communication open with your child, and not act cold their entire life, a parent shouldn’t try to be a “cool mom”. These are the parents you see on the news who let their kid drink, or acts completely irresponsibly. A good parent needs to maintain a parent-child relationship. This may seem cool when you’re growing up, to have a mom that lets you drink in the house and have tons of friends around, but this can seriously screw a kid up. Usually when a parent acts like this, they are having a midlife crisis and want to be young again. People like this are absolutely not good role models for children.
Lack of Proper Nutrition
Third, parents who stock the cabinets with junk food and only buy fast food. This might seem like a stretch, but your brain can get seriously messed up from junk food. Bad food can make kids depressed (even into adulthood) and overweight. While junk food and fast food might seem easy and effortless for the parents, and not have immediate bad effects, it will really make their kids sick eventually. Parents, especially now, are so busy, and can’t find time to cook dinner, so sadly, this is the case more often than not.
Failure to Adjust Parenting to the Child
This may seem innocent enough, but when a parent thinks that one parenting technique is proper for all kids, this can mess their children up. All kids are different. It might not seem like that when they’re infants, but kids are really complicated. Whatever parenting technique worked on your brother might not have worked on you. After a few years, parenting a kid can get really tedious and difficult, and parents may not really try to cater to each child’s individual needs.
Lying to Your Child
Finally, your parents may have screwed up your brain by lying to you. All parents lie to their kids one time or another, mostly to make sure they don’t get their feelings hurt. While this might seem like the right thing to do short term, it won’t work out in the long term. Parents should be straightforward with their kids. They might get sad at first, but when they grow into well-adjusted teens and adults, it will have been worth it.
These are easy things to avoid. So if you’re planning on having kids, don’t repeat the mistakes your parents made. You’ll be thankful when you have well-adjusted, happy kids.
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Lisa Goodson works a guidance counselor and has written many helpful articles promoting healthy attitudes in children and contributed to www.bestpsychologydegrees.org.