Parents want to raise their kids the right way.
But many are hampered by some prevalent misconceptions of modern-day moms and dads.
Which lead to mistakes parents make that actually promote, rather than discourage, negative behavior traits in their kids. Which can actually increase the odds of teenagers later turning to drugs or alcohol to address their issues.
By correcting these mistakes, parents can help their kids develop more positive behaviors which will protect them from substance abuse problems and live a happier life.
Mistakes Parents Make
Mistake #1: It’s my job to make sure they are happy.
Reality: If you give them whatever they want, what you really give them is a sense of entitlement.
Parenting step: Being a parent includes saying “no” and teaching kids to appreciate what they have.
Mistake #2: I can control their lives so they don’t make any wrong choices.
Reality: If you try to manage their lives for them, it will actually add worry to their life.
Parenting step: Like it or not, you can’t totally control your teenager. Instead, give them opportunities to grow and make mistakes so they mature naturally.
Mistake #3: It can’t happen to us; there’s no way our son or daughter would take drugs.
Reality: If you believe your family is perfect, and demand perfection, you encourage pride.
Parenting step: It is quite possible that one of your kids could have substance issues. Deal with them with love and grace, even when they go astray for a season.
Mistake #4: If I ignore their issues, they will go away on their own.
Reality: If you don’t talk about what’s going on in their life, they won’t develop self-awareness.
Parenting step: Talk to your kids about challenges teenagers face and build a supporting environment where they can share their issues with you.
Mistake #5: My kid is a screw-up, so I have to be tough to teach him a lesson.
Reality: If you use anger to win every battle, you will lose the war, and they will choose resentment.
Parenting step: Every child is designed by God, and there is hope for each one. Recognize their God-given strengths while calmly dealing with any problems they create.
Mistake #6: We shouldn’t let people know about our problems.
Reality: If you cover up their issues, you teach them that isolation is a way to address problems.
Parenting step: Talk to someone and get help. Isolation is the worst thing you can do when there are issues with your kids.
Mistake #7: If I set boundaries or confront them, it will make them act out even more.
Reality: If you let them do whatever they want without consequences, they learn impulsiveness.
Parenting step: Set boundaries with consequences and calmly, consistently enforce them.
Mistake #8: I need to teach my kids to control every situation.
Reality: None of us are in total control all the time. If your teenager believes they are supposed to be, they will not develop the ability to handle stress on their own.
Parenting step: Help them learn to turn first to God for guidance and support.
Mistake #9: I can protect them by taking care of consequences of their bad choices.
Reality: If you shield them from the pressures of life so they don’t have to address them on their own, they will develop insecurity.
Parenting step: Learn to not enable inappropriate behavior by taking away negative consequences they have brought on themselves.
Mistake #10: It’s not my job to talk about God to them.
Reality: If you allow them to obsess on their problems, they may turn to depression.
Parenting step: It is your job to talk to them about God and help them find their purpose in life.
How much should parents worry about drugs and alcohol?
- More than 60 percent of teens report that drugs are used, kept, or sold at their schools.
- They say that 47 percent of their classmates drink alcohol and 40 percent use drugs.
- 90% of Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18.
The study cited above (CASAColumbia survey of teenage substance abuse) also states that, “Parents can be a powerful, and indeed decisive, influence on the behavior of their children.”
A good start is to study the mistakes parents make and seek to avoid them.
All parents make mistakes. But there’s a lot each can do to get better.
And what could be more important than that?
Question: Which of the 10 Mistakes Parents Make do you need to work on the most?
Action: Commit to read the rest of this STEPS Journey Blog series.