Parents aren’t perfect. We all slip up every now and then with our kids. So, here’s how to handle two common mistakes, courtesy of the researchers at Woman’s Day magazine.
- First slip-up: Not saying NO. You ask your 10-year-old to give up a Saturday afternoon with his friends and visit Aunt Susie with you – and he throws a tantrum – so you cave. Dr. Ben Leichting is the author of Parenting Bully-Proof Kids: Stop School Bullies in Their Tracks. He says that in situations like this, you need to hold your ground. Giving kids everything they ask for because it’s easier than dealing with conflict creates a sense of entitlement, and teaches them to expect instant gratification. Leichting says when your kid throws a fit, ask yourself, “Is this just a case of him doing whatever it takes to get his way?” If the answer is yes, tell him “no” - and make sure he understands that even when he doesn’t get what he wants, he will survive.
- The 2nd slip up: Fighting over food. You’ve probably uttered the bribe: “Finish your broccoli and you can have ice cream for dessert.” Karen Romine is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Seattle. She says one of the biggest mistakes parents make is trying to control what kids eat by using food – namely dessert – as a bargaining chip. Kids need to learn early on that eating is for nutrition and energy. Bribing them with sweets teaches them to crave empty-calorie foods, and to eat when they’re not hungry – which can cause kids to pack on dangerous extra pounds. Romine says don’t get caught up in the power struggle. Simply keep the focus on healthy food and don’t make a fuss over sugar. Your kids may put up a fight at first, but once they get hungry enough, they’ll take their pick from what you provide.