The Biggest Parenting Mistake You're Making

Plus 5 Ways to Be a Better Parent

by: Alex Thom

If I tell you I worry I'm not a great parent, you might tell me that because I'm worried, it means I care, and so I am obviously a "good mom." Or maybe you'll say I need to just chill out! Or maybe I'm worrying about the wrong things. 

If I say certain words to my kids, I run the risk of crushing their wee spirits.

Or maybe I will over-praise them and damage them as adults?

When I was a baby, my parents were told to place me on my tummy to sleep. When my daughter was born 31 years later, nobody would dare put a baby to sleep on anything but their back. When my kids were both born, it was standard practice to wait to introduce peanuts until they were at least one year of age, and now we're told there's no need to wait.

Things change. Advice changes. Rules change.

I honestly feel that the very biggest mistake we're all making as parents is reading all these articles highlighting our mistakes. 

Sure, there are plenty of amazingly helpful and insightful articles out there, but for each one of those there are five waiting to tell us just how badly we're screwing up our kids. 

I think these are five no-fail ways to be a better parent:

1. Stop second-guessing yourself.

I know my kids best, and I know that despite making mistakes, my kids will grow up just fine. I bet the same goes for you.

2. Read fewer articles pointing out your mistakes.

You clicked this article, right? That means the idea that you're not already a good enough parent is ingrained in you. You're good enough.

3. Trust your gut.

I don't care what anyone says, co-sleeping was right for my family. I don't care if it's right for yours, and you shouldn't care what's right for mine. Go with what works for you and your family. 

4. Be flexible.

I have eaten a dictionary's worth of words since becoming a parent. Rules are fluid, and things change along the way, and I'm okay with that. It's okay to change your mind, it's okay to change expectations. Ride the waves of parenting and enjoy them instead of fighting them every inch of the way.

5. Love the small moments.

The saying goes that the days are long but the years are short, and any parent of a grown child can tell you this is true. I know it seems like a waste of your evening snuggling the kids to sleep. I know it's frustrating repeating, "Put your boots on," ad nauseam. I know temper tantrums suck. But I promise you'll look back on all this and laugh. What makes parenting isn't the big picture, it's all these small moments that matter.

Now, stop focusing on the negative, will ya?




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