School is in session… are you failing Parenting 101? Do you wonder, “Am I failing as a parent?” I am never one to judge or question somebody’s personal parenting style or wisdom. Hey, they are your kids, you do what you want. Good or bad, right or wrong. You ultimately have no one to congratulate (or blame) other than yourself! I truly feel there are many ways to raise a great child and we all have our tips and tricks and techniques. My parenting style is certainly not very “normal” by traditional standards but it works and I have a great young son.
However, with all that being said, there are some general rules and ideals that apply no matter how you parent. Simply loving your child does not make you a good parent. I love my son more than anything in the world but that is not enough. We all have to step up and make an effort is so many other ways. Us parents need to make sure that we do everything possible to get our children through childhood safe, happy, educated, well adjusted, and healthy. Even more so, we must also set them up to be great adults. Well rounded, smart, kind, wise, and healthy humans who contribute in a positive and meaningful way to society.
So here you go. These should be simple and obvious but unfortunately, we all still see them happening everyday! Here are eleven no-brainer basics that you should NOT be doing but, if you are, then you are indeed failing Parenting 101 – like it or not! But the good news is – you can change and get a passing grade!
11 Ways You Are Failing Parenting 101!
1 – You allow disrespect
You let your child treat you or anyone else with disrespect – physically, verbally, emotionally, or otherwise. You have read here on FFB my three parenting rules and you remember that number one is respect!
2 – You don’t know where your child is
You don’t know where your child is… right now! If he or she is under the age of 18, you should know where they are always.
3 – You don’t know your child’s friends
You don’t know who your kid is hanging out with. You haven’t met your child’s friends and you don’t know the parents of those friends.
4 – You aren’t communicating
You’re not talking or listening. You are not teaching your child just how important communication is in life and what a positive impact that “people skills” can have on their world.
5- You aren’t teaching manners
If you are not teaching kids common courtesy and good manners, you are doing them a grave disservice. People who don’t know how to be polite have a harder time in the world.
6 – You are teaching your child to be judgmental
You are teaching your child to be judgmental in any way. Whether it be regarding gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, or toward people less fortunate than they might be.
7 – You aren’t following through
You’re setting rules and telling your child that there will be consequences and discipline for bad behavior but then you don’t follow through. On the flip side of that, you’re telling your child that there will be rewards and praise for good behavior but you don’t keep those promises either.
8 – You aren’t teaching your child about money
You’re not teaching your child about money. How to earn it, respect it, save it, spend it (wisely), and realize that it does not, in fact, grow on trees! Also, if you are fortunate enough to make a lot of money as a parent that is great, congratulations! But do not allow your child to grow up being an entitled brat who thinks that life is easy and the world “owes” them. This also gives you an “F” in parenting.
9 – You are letting your child get fat.
I am not talking about obesity that is caused by medical problems or out of their control. Nor am I talking about few of extra pounds of baby fat. I am talking about seriously overweight. I am talking about you not teaching your children about good eating habits, good health habits, and good exercise habits. If you let your child live on sugar and fast food and lay around on the couch all day with no physical activity then you are seriously endangering their life and future. They don’t need a perfect diet but some fruits, veggies, and water every once in a while, instead of soda and potato chips, is a very good thing!
10 – You are smoking in front of your kids
You are allowing your child to be around anyone who smokes – or to be around second-hand smoke. If you want to light up and hurt your health that is your right but do not subject your five year old to it!
11 – You aren’t modeling good behavior
Finally, you think that you are only teaching your children through your words and not also through your actions! This is the BIG one. If your own life is not something that sets a great example for your child then you need to take a serious look in the mirror. If your behavior is not something that makes your child proud, you need to make some adjustments and be a better role model – period! Your child will learn ten times more in their lifetime from your ACTIONS than they will from your words.
You may not like all of the above statements but if you are truly honest with yourself, you know that they are true. Just because you don’t see any bad results today doesn’t mean you’re not setting your child up for problems later in life. If you notice any of these bad parenting choices in yourself, make a change and hold your yourself more accountable – the same way you hold your child accountable for their actions! Don’t despair, we can all do better. We don’t have to be stuck in our ways.
Rob Youngblood is a Single Dad, Keynote Speaker, Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Communication Expert, Life and Reality Coach. Learn more about him on Twitter.