15 Bad Habits Parents Need To Break For Their Child’s Sake

It’s no news that parenting is difficult. But instead of focusing on the tough aspects, you can think about how to be a better parent. 

Bad Habits

parents fighting

Bad habits are repeated actions that may lead to long-term problems. Here are 15 bad habits you should stop for your child’s sake:

1. Overprotection 

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“Overprotection can prevent your child’s ability to explore, learn, and build resilience,” says Bayu Prihandito, life coach and certified psychology expert. 

“It’s essential to find the right balance, allowing children the freedom to experience and navigate challenges while ensuring they are safe.”

2. Projecting Aspirations 

dad and son talking

“Every child is unique, with individual passions and strengths. Imposing one’s unfulfilled dreams or aspirations onto a child can stifle their authentic self and interests,” says Dr Ryan Sultan, a psychotherapist and expert in mental health on parenting. 

Many parents often transfer their unrealized hopes and ambitions onto their children, which may lead to stress or anxiety.

3. Over-scheduling

wealthy father and son working

“In a bid to offer your children the best, you may fill their calendars with endless activities. While exposure to various experiences is invaluable, it’s equally important to ensure they have downtime,” explains Jess Brooks, a professional educator. 

“This free time is essential for cultivating creativity, processing experiences, and simply letting them be kids.”

4. Neglecting Quality Family Time

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“Family bonding helps in nurturing relationships and fostering emotional development in children,” Phoebe Noelyne, a mom and parenting blogger, reveals. 

“In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the importance of spending quality time together as a family.”

5. Excessive Criticism

strict parent

“Constructive feedback is essential, but constant criticism can erode a child’s self-esteem,” says Katie McCann, a breastfeeding counselor and child well-being advocate.

“Balance feedback with praise and encouragement.”

6. Using Technology As A Babysitter

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Andrew Lozovyi / depositphotos.com

“While devices can be educational and entertaining, overdoing them can inhibit the development of social skills, creativity, and physical health,” according to Dr Ryan Sultan, a psychotherapist and expert in mental health on parenting. 

“Parents should set clear boundaries around technology use and encourage alternative activities.”

7. Poor Communication

father ignoring son

“Engaging in open and honest conversations, even about difficult or uncomfortable topics, ensures that children are well-informed and feel supported,” notes Alex Anderson, a certified school psychologist and kids’ blog owner. 

“Avoiding such discussions can lead children to seek information from potentially unreliable sources and might make them feel isolated in their curiosity or concerns.”

8. Comparison

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“Whether it’s comparing your children to their siblings or peers, constant comparisons can be incredibly damaging. Comparison can breed feelings of inadequacy and undermine their self-esteem,” Haley Hicks, a licensed clinical social worker and Vice President of Admissions at Basepoint Academy, discloses.

“Instead, focus on celebrating your children’s accomplishments and supporting them in areas they may need improvement.”

9. Shielding Children From Negative Emotions

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“Parents should break the habit of protecting their children from negative emotions. It’s perfectly normal and healthy for kids to feel frustrated, disappointed, angry, or sad sometimes,” Rebecca Bonanno, a licensed clinical social worker at Bonano Clinical, believes.

“When parents rush in to try to make the painful feelings go, children have trouble learning to accept and cope with their emotions positively.”

10. Setting Bad Examples

drunk driving

“As parents, you need to be aware that your behaviors, attitudes, and habits are closely observed and mirrored by your kids,” Anderson, a certified school psychologist, explains.

“Exhibiting behaviors and attitudes that you wish your children to adopt, such as kindness, honesty, and diligence, is vital in shaping their character.”

11. Overly Praising Results

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“While in grad school, I took a class on motivation to learn, and I found that extrinsic motivation (praise, grades, prizes, etc.) actually reduces intrinsic motivation (wanting to do something for its own sake — just because you want to),” says Ashley Wright, an educator and game schooling blogger. 

“Children need to have a growth mindset, and you can build this by focusing on their efforts in doing tasks.”

12. Overindulgence 

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“Giving your children everything they want may appear to be a loving gesture, but it can lead to entitlement and a lack of appreciation for what they have,” according to Michelle English, a licensed social worker and co-founder of Healthy Life Recovery

“It’s essential that you instill in your children the value of hard work and delayed gratification.” 

13. Passive Listening

man ignoring son

“Parents often listen to their children while multitasking or pretend-listening, which can make kids feel disregarded and unheard,” says English teacher and owner of TPR Teaching.

“Active listening involves being fully present and engaged in the conversation with your child, showing empathy, and seeking to understand their perspective. This leads to better communication and a stronger bond.”

14. Solving Problems For Them

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“When you step in to fix every little problem for your kids, you accidentally chip away at their self-confidence,” notes Janice Chou, the founder of Parenting Style blog. 

“A little struggle is healthy for children and bolsters their sense of independence and self-reliance.”

15. Excessive Screen Time

young child using phone

“Screens are an inevitable part of our lives, but it is crucial for parents to set boundaries,” Kristie Tse, a licensed psychotherapist and founder of Uncover Mental, discloses. 

“Encouraging face-to-face interactions, outdoor play, and reading can help children build essential social skills, stay physically active, and develop a love for learning beyond skills.”

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This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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