We will always remember the day – after a long day in labor, a ridiculously painful battle, a few scratch marks or bite marks on the love of your life and finally, your precious child was born. Everything seem so worth it as you enjoy a moment of absolute bliss. You kiss the forehead of the cutest baby you have ever seen and you make a promise to yourself that you will be the best parent to this child.
Fast forward 15 years later, you are now the worst parent you can ever imagine.
Here’s probably why:
You got too busy with everything else going on in life.
Life has its way to keep us occupied – an important phone call from your boss, an urgent email you have to send to your client, a new episode from a drama series you have been anticipating or even the latest shopping deals your best friend just sent you on whatsapp. Many parents are guilty of listening to your child while doing something else at the same time. This gives the impression that your task at hand is more important than what you child is saying. Do this enough and over time, your child will begin to lose interest when talking to you.
We have encountered many parents coming to our school holiday programmes complaining about how their child is not willing to communicate with them or are always looking at their phones while talking to them. Truth is, as parents, you have to be a role model yourselves.
You forget even your child have feelings.
Your children have feelings too. Many parents forget that as they ‘question’ their kids – “What did you do today?”, “Have you finished your homework?”, “What did you learn at school today?”, “Why are your hanging out with those kids?”. Stop asking questions as if they are not suspects in the police station going through an interrogation.
What’s worst is when a child is answering the questions, some parents are tend to interrupt and even condemn their thoughts. Instead of listening and showing empathy towards your child’s feelings, some parents point out problems and attempt to fix these problems immediately. The moment they do not like what their child is saying, they interrupt and pass judgement by saying things like “that is a stupid idea!”, “why would you do that?”, “you shouldn’t be thinking like that”.
You think just because you are ‘the parent’, you are always right.
Some parents are so used to talking at your child rather than talking with them. This happens with parents are too quick to give advice or impose opinions. It is not useful at all and it gives your child the impression that you are not interested in listening to what they think or feel, but rather, you want to control them and tell them what to do.
We have met many parents over the years that a common scary belief – that they are always right. Yes, parents do have more experiences in life, they are definitely older so probably wiser, however, we need to recognize that our children, especially as they grow older, wants to get increasing more control of their own lives. They will need your advice and guidance along the way, but more importantly, you need to allow them the freedom and space to make certain decisions on their own.
You act as if you own your child
Just because you gave birth to your child, it not automatically equates to you owning your child. This includes your child’s time, decisions, choices and yes, even when giving them advice. Many parents do not get their child involved in planning their time, they simply decide what’s best and slaps it onto their child’s timetable. Yes, there are decisions that you have to make on their behalf, like going to the doctor for a flu vaccination or signing them up for a course or school holiday programme so that they can work on the areas that they are currently struggling at. At the same time, let’s not forget the importance of communication. Many parents forget that they are dealing with a human and not a robot, when they make decisions without asking for opinions or sharing why they feel it’s important for their child.
Your actions today are going to affect your child tomorrow.
The change starts today. If you are reading this article and now realizing that you are guilty of some of the examples above, fear not, it is not too late to start taking action and make a change. Over the years, it has been our mission to debunk the myth that many parents are facing today – that as their kids grow up, they grow further apart. You can play a part in making this a reality too.