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The consequences of the choices we make in life become heavier once we become parents. The habits we keep will affect not only us but also our children. The things we do around our kids may have lasting, adverse effects on them.

For the sake of our young ones, let’s look at some harmful practices we need to quit.

Destructive Conflict

Many parents will make the mistake of vowing not to fight in front of their kids. The reality is that it’s going to happen eventually. While this may sound like something that can harm your kids, it’s not actually all that bad. Arguments become harmful if you deal with conflict destructively.

Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC explains that “An anxious or angry child is in flight-or-fight mode with their body primed to handle a perceived threat.” We tend to picture parents fighting as two people yelling, throwing things, and lashing out at each other. This hostility can cause children to become troubled, anxious, and stressed. They tend to become insecure and withdrawn. For others, they act out and develop problems at school as well as at home. 

Conversely, a better approach is to have a mature conversation where you discuss things like adults. Your children will also go through conflict throughout their life. They will need to learn how to deal with these situations appropriately and effectively. Focus on the kids’ growth and developmental differences. “Developmental differences include: physical, social/emotional, cognitive/thinking/learning, and morals/values.” Sandi Lindgren PCC, LICSW explains. 

Overreacting

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Have you ever wondered why kids don’t tell you things or why teenagers have to lie about what they do? Often, this stems from a fear of how their parents will react. Perhaps mom and dad found out about that broken plate and went ballistic.

It’s precisely this outburst of emotions that push them away from us. As Marla W. Deibler, PsyD explains it “overwhelm might manifest as an intense emotion, such as anxiety, anger or irritability; maladaptive thought process, such as worry, doubt or helplessness; and behavior, such as crying, lashing out or experiencing a panic attack.” Overreacting to our children’s mistakes can make them fearful of us. Instead of coming to us for help or to open up, they’ll try their best to cover things up. This practice will only create kids who act out and are quick to become upset.

Before you get angry over spilled milk or a broken vase, get down and help your kid clean up. Teach them how to be more cautious, but don’t blow up over small things such as this. Otherwise, they’ll be too scared of making mistakes.

Hiding Your Emotions

While we mentioned that it could be harmful to overreact, that doesn’t mean that you should mask your emotions either. While you shouldn’t yell at your kids over small things, it doesn’t help to lie about how you feel. This practice will make them confused about their feelings. 

Show your kids your sentiments and how to deal with them. If you experience loss, teach them that it’s okay to be sad. Being positive all the time can be harmful because it sets an unreasonable standard of happiness. It is not the only emotion we should be allowed to feel.

Trying To Solve Everything

As hard as it is to resist, parents have to stop trying to be superheroes to their kids. We shouldn’t try to solve everything for our children.

This practice will do nothing but teach them that we will deal with every road bump they face. As much as we want to be the people they run to for help, they may become too dependent.

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Instead of swooping in all the time, teach them how to deal with problems and conflict. It’s another one of those situations where the “teach a man how to fish” saying comes into play.

The things we do around our kids will leave lasting effects on them until their adulthood. As parents, we have to do our best, even if it means breaking bad habits that are hard to quit. The sooner we kick these types of behavior to the curb, the better mothers and fathers we can be.

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