Five Ways Parents Damage Their Kids Without Even Realizing It
“Obviously, there’s no end to the types of mistakes parents might make. However, certain parenting blunders are especially common today. Here are five big ones to avoid.
Parents can be teaching their children the wrong lessons or missing out on teaching them the right lessons, without even realizing it.
One of the primary reasons God instituted marriage is so married couples could produce and nurture Godly offspring (Malachi 2:15)—that is, children trained in the ways of God. Christian parents are to diligently teach their children about God’s truths (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), discipline them in a loving manner (Proverbs 13:24) and provide for their needs (1 Timothy 5:8). God wants parents to take these responsibilities seriously.
But life gets busy. We might have stressful jobs and not have much energy left at the end of the day to deal with “kid problems.” Maybe we just go “on autopilot” when we’re home so we don’t even think about what we’re doing or saying, or how we might be coming across to other family members. Perhaps we just go along with what all the other parents are doing, or do what “feels right” at the moment, without stopping to think about what effect these actions might have on our children. The trouble is, when we get into these kind of mindsets, we can end up making some serious parenting blunders.
Probably most parents reading this can relate. No matter how conscientious and loving we may be, we all fall short at times. Very often our mistakes are unintentional. But even unintended slip-ups, if done repeatedly, can negatively impact a child’s emotional and moral development. Parents can be teaching their children the wrong lessons or missing out on teaching them the right lessons, without even realizing it.
On a positive note, most parenting mistakes can be prevented. The basic solution is to be aware of what the potential pitfalls are, so we can make the right adjustments before any problems develop. Obviously, there’s no end to the types of mistakes parents might make. However, certain parenting blunders are especially common today. Here are five big ones to avoid:
1. Skimping on quality time.
The first big mistake was alluded to in the introduction. Families today are pressed for time. Both Mom and Dad usually have jobs outside of the home, in addition to having household and childcare responsibilities. When time runs short, it’s usually the kids who suffer. Numerous studies have confirmed this trend. A 2019 survey commissioned by Crayola Experience found that 55 percent of American parents think they are “too busy” with other commitments to spend quality time with their kids.
One mom of two preteens admitted: “Most of the ‘interacting’ I do with my kids is when I’m rushing to them to school or sporting events, or when they’re doing their homework at the kitchen table and I’m trying to get them to focus on that while I hurry to get dinner made. There’s very little time to just sit down together and talk.”
Your children need to know they’re important to you. You’re not going to have strong bonds with them if you hardly give them any attention. Make sure you have some focused quality time with them each day (even just 15 minutes), to talk or do something enjoyable together, where you’re not only physically present with them, but emotionally connected as well. If you don’t think your schedule will allow this, take an honest assessment of your priorities and see what can be cut out.
2. Giving them what they should earn.
Every child likes presents, and it’s certainly nice to be able to give them. But too often parents overindulge their kids, showering them with all the toys, electronic gadgets and designer clothes they could ever want. Many times these are “guilty gifts”—given to kids by busy parents to try to make up for not spending time with them. Another common scenario occurs when a parent and her children are out shopping, and when the kids start begging for something, she caves in and puts the item in the cart to appease them.
These are huge mistakes. Studies have shown that giving children everything they want can foster an entitlement mentality and train them to be materialistic and expect immediate gratification. Moreover, if everything’s just handed to them, they won’t see the point in working hard to achieve goals.
While it’s certainly fine to give gifts with “no strings attached,” you shouldn’t finance all your children’s desires (even if you can afford to do so). Require them to make an effort to obtain at least some of these nonessential items on their own, rather than buying it all for them. They could save up allowance money to purchase items they want, or you could have them do some extra household chores to “earn” them. Teach them that working for the things we need and want is a biblical principle (Proverbs 12:11, Proverbs 12:27; Proverbs 13:4, Proverbs 14:23; and 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).
3. Not enforcing limits.
Kids need to understand what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable, and the consequences for noncompliance. They should know what the expectations are for chores, electronics usage, schoolwork, curfews, bedtimes, mealtimes and so on. When they’re aware of what’s required, it reduces confusion and uncertainty, which in turn decreases anxiety. Children feel safe and secure when they have clear boundaries and rules, because that tells them their parents are managing the household.
But truthfully, it’s not always fun being an authority figure. We can start worrying that our kids aren’t going to “like us” if we make too many rules. And frankly, it’s a lot easier to be permissive—to let the kids do as they please—rather than confront them about their behavior. If that’s been your thinking, remind yourself that everyone has to abide by rules. Kids need to get used to that. You’re not doing your kids any favors by letting them decide for themselves how they should live.
You need to establish and enforce limits for your kids not only because it helps your household run smoothly, it’s also an important life lesson. Ultimately, children who grow up with family rules learn that it’s normal and necessary to submit to authorities (Hebrews 13:17), whether that’s their parents, teachers, bosses, police officers, or most importantly, God.
4. Fixing their problems for them.
Some parents try to protect their children from all forms of hardship. A friend told me how when she was a teenager, whenever she faced any kind of difficulty or disappointment, her mother would step in and try to remedy the situation for her. “If I was excluded by the ‘in’ crowd, she’d go talk to the parents of those kids and insist I be included. If I didn’t make the cut for the cheerleading squad, she’d talk to the coach to see if I could get another chance at trying out,” my friend related. “I know my mom was trying to help. But what she really taught me was that I didn’t need to try to solve my own problems or take responsibility for my actions.”
Unless your kids are facing a difficulty that’s too big to manage on their own or could cause serious harm, you should resist the urge to “rescue” them. Definitely be there to offer support—to listen to their concerns and share your perspectives, but don’t take over and solve the problem for your children. Let them handle the situation for themselves. Remind yourself that someday they’re going to be on their own. Afflictions and struggles are part of life (1 Peter 4:12), and they need to learn to be ready for them.
5. Misusing praise.
Praise can be an effective tool to encourage kids and motivate them to “stay on the right path.” But it can also be misused. For instance, you might extend “inflated praise” (e.g., exclaiming “You’re the best swimmer I’ve ever seen!” or “What an incredibly beautiful painting!”) or overuse positive affirmations (e.g., blurting out “Great job!” or “You’re the best!” every time a child finishes a routine task). While you may be trying to make your kids feel good, these kinds of platitudes can come off as insincere or manipulative. Most kids can see through the exaggeration. They know that don’t deserve that kind of flattery and might conclude that you don’t really mean what you say.
Another mistake is to focus your praise on your children’s innate abilities or attributes (such as beauty, intelligence or natural talents), which they have no control over. Remarks like “You’ve got a photographic memory!” and “You’re brilliant!” send the message to your kids that their accomplishments are due to their inborn abilities, and therefore effort and hard work are not necessary.
To be an effective form of encouragement, praise should be directed at your children’s character (hard work, effort, perseverance, good moral choices, obedience, right attitudes, etc.), which is what is in their control. So rather than tell them “You’re a natural at math,” it’s more helpful to say, “I can tell you’ve been practicing those story problems!” When you point out what they’ve done right, they will start to see the connection between hard work and success, which will motivate them to continue putting out effort.
Granted, no parent handles every situation perfectly—especially when they’re stressed, tired or preoccupied with life’s challenges. It goes without saying that you should ask God daily for His help and guidance in rearing your children. If you do that—along with being aware of what the potential parenting pitfalls are and have a plan for dealing with them—you’ll likely make far fewer mistakes than if you just went on autopilot.” From: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/blogs/five-ways-parents-damage-their-kids-without-even-realizing-it
Wisdom and the genie in a bottle
“A common fairy tale theme in children’s stories is of someone finding a genie in a bottle. When the finder rubs the bottle to release the genie inside, the genie is so grateful that he grants the finder his greatest wish, or three wishes, depending on the story. Have you ever stopped to consider what you would wish for if the offer was made to you?
I have, and my answers are no doubt quite a bit different today than they would have been if you had asked me when I was, say, eight years old! We know, of course, there is no such things as genies, and no ancient bottles harboring one just waiting to be released. But we do know and have access to the God of all creation (much more powerful than any mythical genie). So what would you ask for if He offered to grant you a wish? Believe it or not, this is exactly what happened some 3,000 years ago!
Very early on in his reign as king, Solomon had a most unusual experience. “At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’” (1 Kings 3:5). Can you imagine it? Far better than any fable about a genie in a bottle, the Creator offered to give Solomon virtually anything he would ask for!
You may already know what his answer was, but if you can, imagine for a moment what you would have asked for! Solomon expressed his awe for God, acknowledging that he was greatly humbled by being given such a huge job. Then he prayed, “I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people who You have chosen, a great people too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (verses 7-8). Solomon’s request pleased God, who responded, “Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart” (verse 12).
That proved to be a powerful gift! The Hebrew word for wise is chakam, and one of the meanings is skillful. It would be used of a craftsman who was skillful in his trade. Spiritually it would be someone who skilled in knowing the Word of God, and skilled in using it in his or her life. While there are people who are more naturally gifted in some areas–such as mechanics, music or athletics–in order to truly excel they must work to hone that natural talent. A tradesman who is wise, skillful in his trade, has had to work to develop his knowledge and ability.
And so it is with us spiritually. Wisdom or skill with the Word of God doesn’t just happen. God opens our minds to understand His Word, which you might liken to us having been given a natural talent. But we then have to spend time and effort to build and develop that skill, honing it to a fine and valuable point! A skilled mechanic doesn’t get that way by sleeping on a stack of manuals, and we can’t become skilled in God’s Word by sleeping on a Bible!
We have to dig in and learn! Are you wise in the Word of God? Let me suggest three simple ways to grow in these things:
1. Do the same thing Solomon did, and ask God for the wisdom and understanding you need. God hasn’t come to each of us and asked us what we’d like Him to give us, but there is no reason why we can’t go to Him like children often do, and ask for the things we really need and want. How should you ask? Learn how to pray.
2. Seek biblical wisdom/skill through a constant and daily application of Bible study, prayer and meditation. Many years after God asked Solomon that momentous question, Solomon counseled all who would listen to him to seek wisdom (Proverbs 4:7; 19:20; Ecclesiastes 7:12). Take his counsel and spend time studying the Scriptures, seeking to learn from them. How do you study the Bible? Here are some practical tips on how to start studying.
3. Put what you learn into practice in your life. “Book knowledge” is not the same as experiential knowledge. I don’t want someone operating on me who has studied a lot about taking out an appendix but has never done it! If I had to have an appendectomy, I want it done by someone who has not only studied, but also has a lot of experience successfully removing appendixes! That is exactly what you and I need to be doing with the truth of God. If you'd like to start practicing what we learn in the Bible, read our article “How to Please God.”
In order to become wise—skillful in handling the Word of God—we need to ask for wisdom, seek to gain it through our own study, and then practice what we learn. The results of a life lived like this will be far greater than the results of being granted three wishes by a genie in a bottle—even if there was such a thing!
Here are some additional resources on wisdom from our website:
- The Importance of Wisdom and How to Become Wiser
- Priceless Benefits of Wisdom
- God’s Words of Wisdom for You
Kind regards, and have a great week, Tom Clark, for Life, Hope and Truth”
The #1 Most Dangerous Food in the World
“Today, we're going to talk about the most dangerous food you can eat and what makes it so dangerous. Factors that make this the worst food in the world for your health:
1. It combines starch and fat under high heat • This creates advanced glycation end products, which affect your eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys.
2. Hydrogenated oils • This contains trans fats, which affect your cells, harden your arteries, and may increase your risk for cancer.
3. Acrylamide • This is a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer's.
4. Sugar • Sugar can lead to many different health problems. This food may contain sugar, beet sugar, dextrose, or maltodextrin. All of these types of sugars are very dangerous.
5. Glyphosate • I believe glyphosate can potentially alter a person's microbiome and may lead to negative health effects.
6. Seed oils • These oils are very inflammatory.
7. Ketchup • Ketchup contains high fructose corn syrup, which can lead to fatty liver and insulin resistance. It also has corn syrup, modified corn starch (MSG), and soy oil.
You probably guessed it—the most dangerous food in the world for your health is French fries.” From: Dr. Eric Berg DC (235) The #1 Most Dangerous Food in the World - YouTube