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Parenting Booboos: 3 ‘Good’ Habits Keeping Kids from Reaching Full Potential

Parents have the best intentions when it comes to maximizing their kids’ potential. There are times, however, when even the noblest plans backfire. In wanting your kid to be better, the opposite happens: they learn less, get discouraged, or fail to follow through. Worse, you could be oblivious (or in denial, perhaps) to this parenting booboo. If you’re doing these so-called good strategies, know that you’re actually making it more difficult for your child to reach their full potential:

You’re protecting your kid too much.

Risks are everywhere. You’re at a point where you’ve become well aware that there’s always the possibility of being rejected, experiencing disappointments, hitting rock bottom, and feeling the pain in the end. These are the ugly realities of life you don’t want your kids to go through, of course. This is why you protect them as much as you can. If this kind of care goes overboard, to the point that you keep your child from taking risks, you’re doing a disservice to them. While you’re insulating them from disappointments, you’re also keeping them from lessons they could pick up from those disappointments. These can be relevant in their adult life when they’re already deciding what to do with their life. Yes, risks are everywhere. The proper response isn’t to dodge them, but to help your child deal with them smartly. Avoid overprotecting. Rather, encourage taking risks and pursuing interests. If they’re into music, take them to flute or violin lessons. Lehi-based childhood development experts say that this will instill the attitude of going out of their comfort zone and being confident about what they do.

You praise them too quickly.

mother helping her child with toy blocks Complimenting kids for what they do is almost a reflex for many parents. In fact, even if your child’s team lost in the last football game in school, for sure, you’ll still say that they’re a winner. Everybody wins. Everyone gets a trophy or a medal. This is what it means to comfort kids. As much as it looks noble, it’s actually damaging. For one, your kids will eventually see that you’re the only people who think they’re doing well. In the end, they’ll question if you’re telling the truth or not. It might create distrust. Moreover, this everybody-wins perspective sends the message that losing is bad and that winning is the only acceptable situation. Next time, kids will do everything, even if it means cheating or lying, just to avoid being losers. The solution is simple: Be honest and open about the reality of competitions. At the end of the day, there truly are winners and losers. Failure at one thing doesn’t mean failure at everything. Losing at the football game doesn’t mean losing as a person. It only means one thing: pressing on further.

You tell them what to pursue.

Many parents underestimate their kids’ hobbies and interests. The scribbling on sketchpads cannot be a craft. The occasional impersonation of cartoon characters won’t count as real acting, or you probably think that your child’s love for dancing is just a phase or something they don’t know well. You want to save them from wasting time on these things, so you tell them what exactly to pursue (interests that were probably your childhood frustrations). Here’s the thing: You need to give your child a little more benefit of the doubt. If you’ll just stop and observe what they love to do, you’ll realize that they know a lot more than you expect. Rather than imposing, follow their cue. Support what they love doing. It’s every parent’s desire for the children to use their talents to its full potential. Sometimes, in your zeal, you’re probably overlooking your kid’s own interests, feelings, and ways of thinking. Quit on the habits mentioned above to maximize your child’s skills and talents.
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