Ten Things Parents Should Stop Doing Now!

This list is capturing the first top ten things that come to mind when thinking about what parents are doing WRONG! These simple actions (or lack of) are the ones I hear and see most frequently in schools. These small things, many times done without thought of long-term repercussions, lead to habits and mold our children into young adults, and then adults running our society. So as always, I think children are very important. What they believe, how they act,  and think is very telling of the future. If I am witnessing and hearing about these issues frequently and they are preventable, then I think as the adults, we need to make some changes. As a parent, I am not exempt from this list. And, no one is perfect. However, I do think there are some simple fixes that could lead to more success academically, socially, emotionally, and with their health if we lead children and make some decisions that aren’t always fun or easy.

As a School Counselor, I work with all kids ages 5-11. And like other observations I have made, this list does not just apply to one subgroup. I know parents at my own children’s  elementary school who may not realize what they are or are not teaching their kids. Likewise, I know plenty of children in lower socioeconomic households who also are being led to believe some of the same dysfunctional things. As a society, we need to be more aware and conscientious of the values we hold and are teaching our kids. These are just a few of the most frequent problems I have seen this year.

Parents need to STOP doing these things NOW!:


1. STOP- Not saying no

I do not understand how parents can let their kids call the shots. We have been around much longer, we have our frontal cortex fully functioning and we can understand long-term decisions. But too many times, parents want to please their kids and keep a peaceful household. But at what cost? When we say yes over and over, then the kids become spoiled brats. And, more importantly, it messes up the hierarchy of order. When children are not used to hearing no, then it’s also hard to accept ‘no’ from their teachers and coaches too. These kids get way too bent out of shape or think it’s “not fair” when they get consequences at school, or even when things don’t go their way. These kids argue and don’t follow first request because that’s what they do at home too. They manipulate to get their way and they’re good at it too.

We have to let our kids understand what disappointment feels like regularly because it does help them train them for life. Things won’t and often don’t always go the way you want them to. But, do you throw a tantrum because you didn’t get your way? Do you stomp, yell and cry until you get your way. If you do, then your children naturally will too. Nip it in the bud and get your kids used to not always getting what they want. Say no more frequently, not less!

2. STOP- Not giving chores

This one really surprises me. More kids than not, do not have regular chores. They are not expected to contribute to keeping their household running smoothly. They’re too busy with their daily after-school extracurriculars (oh, poor kids) or their video games. Now what makes sense about that? Kids get to have all the fun and the parents have to do all the work? Now, this is not every kid I know but it is the majority at both of my schools. It’s so surprising that parents aren’t getting the help they need when we could if we just require it.  It teaches  children about how they must take care of themselves. And, I do think it increases their feelings of self-worth because they know they can do things and don’t always have to rely on others. Plus, they learn cause and effect. You swifter the floor, and it looks better afterwards. You unload the dishwasher, and it’s ready for more dishes.

And at our house, they don’t get paid to do it either. Now that may be a personal decision because we really don’t have the extra money to be bribing our kids to help out around here anyway. But, I want it to be expected too. As they grow older, I’ll let them earn money by doing extra chores.  Before my kids can do anything in the afternoon, they eat a snack, do homework and then choose 2 chores. In the summer, same thing. Two chores are required in order to play or do electronics. That’s more than fair and it’s not a decision they get to make. As parents, we call the shots. Stop negotiating and start training them to be responsible. They argue or complain, give them more!

3. STOP- Expecting good things to happen without hard work

4. STOP- Thinking your kid is always right and never to blame

I hear teachers all over America shouting AMEN right now! Sadly, one of my good friends and an amazing teacher just quit her teaching career. Why? Because of whinny parents, irresponsible students, and lazy kids.  The two groups are not exempt from each other. She is sick of kids thinking they can have it all without the hard work. Kids think that if they wish for getting good grades, it’ll just miraculously happen. Students act dumbfounded when the report card comes. Her biggest frustration is the parents, though. And while it’s not all of them or even half of them, the ones who complain and don’t hold their children accountable overshadow the quiet parents.

And if you think your kid is capable of doing no wrong, think again. We all are.  It is maddening when your own child that should know better throws a rock at a car window (yes, my sweet little son did that one in first grade and I about imploded!). My kids are FAR from perfect and I recognize their faults. I recognize my faults. Denial is a strong coping mechanism..(my child would never….; yeah right!) Get real. Stop and think about the improvements or changes you could make. Realize your kids may be idiots sometimes. And when the teacher lets you know there is a problem, trust them. Instead of blaming someone else or making excuses, ask your kids what they could do differently. It’s not always someone else’s fault because no one is perfect.

Not everyone can get straight A’s, be on the Safety Patrol, be the Student Council President, and handle all the after-school activities too. That’s ok. Just because your kid wants it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. Be realistic. My kid isn’t perfect; neither is yours’. What do you teach your child when you tell them they don’t have to listen to an adult or that the adult is wrong? I have had plenty of kids have that mentality, that respect is earned not given. How does this kind of thinking pan out long-term with your boss? We need to teach our kids to act respectful even if it’s not something they like or agree with. Sometimes we have to bite our tongue as parents too. If we don’t show that we respect the decisions of adults that care for our kids, then they won’t respect them either.

5. STOP- Not making kids get enough sleep

Do kids love going to sleep? Often times, not. They don’t always ask to stop the fun and end their day (although, mine sometimes actually do)! However, it’s what’s best for them. Too many kids, even very young kids, are not getting enough rest. Sleep deprivation can make them cranky, unable to sit still, too sleepy to concentrate, angry, and sick. It is so important but most kids are getting short-changed by several hours.

Yet, it is amazing and atrocious to see what some parents are sending in for their child’s snacks and lunches. ADHD kids eating ice cream every day, gummies, and Cheetos. Or, is it that parents are letting them bring what they like eating and letting the child choose. Either way, it’s an easy fix that teachers would thank you for!
Even some of the  food provided by our school system is ridiculous. Who decided feeding kids coco puffs and cinnamon rolls is helpful? The healthiest free option at my free-breakfast school is sausage biscuits. And those kids don’t have a choice unless their parents take the time to raise a stink. Knox County schools even received a Nutrition award from the White House, and I look a the school lunches and am still confused!
If you have a choice and you do the grocery shopping, think about what you buy. I am a ALL about my treats but if I let me kids choose, they’d eat treats at every meal (like some kids I know). I do include empty calories like chips and packaged goods in the ‘treat’ department too. Take a the time and make the decision to not allow junk at every meal. Not only will be help their health but also their behavior.
7. STOP- Not giving limits on gaming
Another one I hear about WAY to often is children’s, particularly boys’ addiction to gaming. It just clicks with some kids, like my son. Give them all the time in the day and they’d want to play a video game. Once they start, they don’t know how to stop. Why in the world are we not limiting the amount of time they waste doing these mindless activities!?
And even if it is “educational”, as my children would try to argue, there should be limits.  This is not how most kids, or mine, are expected to learn in school, with all the bells, lights, and whistles.  It’s fun but they are designed to suck kids in. Don’t get sucked in just because they buy you time and serve as your sitter. It’s pretty simple, give limits. Give kids other healthy outlets because they don’t have a choice. I know way too many good but brain-dead kids who cannot talk about anything but gaming. Urgh, so annoying…
8. STOP-Thinking the best way to handle violence is with violence
As a counselor and someone preparing children for a bright future, I am disheartened to hear kids tell me their mom or dad said they need or even “have to” fight back or hit someone if they hit them or even say something they don’t like. Many kids even tell me they won’t get in trouble because their parents tell them to handle problems with violence. Are we still this un-evolved? I would love for children to hear and see what it’s like to resolve problems peacefully.
While many families are doing this, our society tells us that violence is ok. Look at the games they are playing and the shows they are watching. And look at the way the parents solve their problems. If we expect for ‘our’ kids to grow up to be successful, we must teach them to be problem solvers. Not pushovers, but assertive, confident, and smart kids.
9. STOP-Exposing them to too much adult information
Kids need to be kids. They aren’t in a rush (until 5th grade 🙂 so why are we? Kids just hear and know too much. Oh, the stories I hear from these kids. They even talk like a little adult when telling me about what mama’s in jail for, who daddy’s breaking up with, or that they’re about to be “on the street”. Talk about stress. If the adults can’t get it together, how do you think kids feel knowing all this adult information?
Too may times our kids are hearing things their little minds aren’t capable of comprehending and this only leads to unrest and anxiety. They may hear what adults are saying or even foolishly telling them but they don’t have the coping skills yet (so, often times they act out or come to me)! If they don’t need to have the information, don’t tell them. Don’t let them see adult movies and shows. Don’t let them play “mature” games. Don’t tell them about your martial problems. We don’t need ignorant kids but we don’t need to expose them to information that doesn’t help them grow either.
10.  STOP- Acting like things matter more than people
100 dollar bills bill,currency,dollars,excess,god,green,money,rich,trust,usa
100 dollar bills bill,currency,dollars,excess,god,green,money,rich,trust,usa
The kids who value things or objects over people are destined to have social issues and experience disappointment and depression. This isn’t just the very affluent but also many impoverished families as well. This can be any child when their role model is always showing off their possessions instead of their personality. When we act like what matters most in life should be the new car, the new house, or the new fashion accessories, then we are teaching our kids that these superficial things really matter. While they do bring us some security and a short buzz, true contentment and happiness has to come from within. Shiny objects, bling, and fancy cars are not going to bring lasting satisfaction so we don’t want our kids reaching solely for these goals either. Reach for something deeper.
Rant over. This may sound preachy; it is. I just think we have an obligation to lead our kids and our society in the right direction. Little things make a big difference. All of us have an impact and can make changes. Choose to be the type of role model your kids need and step up to the plate!

4 thoughts on “Ten Things Parents Should Stop Doing Now!

Add yours

  1. Shout it from the roof tops! Although, if I was ranking by priority, as a preschool teacher/administrator,I would move #9 to the top of the list. It just isn’t appropriate for children to watch Breaking Bad or American Sniper, or play (watch) violence based video games, etc. I guess parents don’t understand how detrimental viewing such graphically violent media is to those developing brains. I have had a student, who mimicking the game Zelda, slashed at a student with a pair of scissors. This child simply didn’t understand what she did was wrong.


    1. Yup, I’ve had the kids talking about Breaking Bad too. And, I can’t even keep up with all the video games! It’s so sad and SO preventable. Lucky the children have someone like you as a role model in their life.


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