12 Ways to Mess Up Your Kids

In her article on The Doctor Will See You Now article Alice G. Walton summarizes research and viewpoints from child psychologists, child psychiatrist, and pediatricians on parental behavior to away “to help your child develop into a happy, confident, and well-rounded little person.” The DO NOT parenting list includes:


  1.  Threaten to leave your kids behind.
  2. Lie to your child.
  3. Ignore your own bad behavior.
  4. Assume that what worked for your first – or for you – will work for your second.
  5. Have a panic attack because your child broke a rule.
  6. Think your baby shouldn’t be babied (and related Push your child to gain independence: the earlier, the better).
  7. Punish or scold your child when she acts out, hits, or throws things.
  8. Try to be your child’s friend rather than his parent.
  9. Fill your cupboards with junk food and skip family meals.
  10. Don’t walk; drive everywhere.
  11. Think you bear sole responsibility – or NO responsibility – for your child’s development.
  12. Assume there is one way to be a good parent.

How many of these have you done? I’m certainly guilty of at least a couple of the listed ways of misguided parenting. The researchers quoted in the article bring up some good examples for each of the listed items. Most of this advice seems obvious, but as it often happens, without explicit acknowledgment of such behavior, it’s unlikely to change. So, I encourage you to read the full article. It has already helped me be more aware of how I interact with my kids in certain situations.

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3 Responses to 12 Ways to Mess Up Your Kids

  1. Isabel says:

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  2. I heard a couple of guys talking about this in the New York subway so I looked it up online and found your page. Thanks. I thought I was right and you confirmed my thoughts. Thanks for the work you’ve put into this. I’d love to save this and share with my friends.
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  3. Mary Wardley says:

    Great list with really good background information.

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