If you are not careful, you will be a victim to one of these parenting traps.
With the influence of friends and the powerful media, it’s so easy to fall into these traps. And the scary thing is you don’t even realize that you are part of it.
I am very fortunate as I tend to keep things simple. Anything that sounds too complex and beyond the basics will be turned down by me. By keeping things simple, the chances of you falling into these traps can be minimized.
Let’s talk about the most common parenting traps that I’ve come about.
The Smart Trap
No doubt about it. Every parent wants their child to be a genius. In order to achieve that, parents send their child to every class imaginable on Earth. On the flip side, the child has a super-packed schedule and that leaves no room for activities that a child should do: play. Mind you some children have a schedule that is as packed as the adult’s. And I am talking about young children who are only 4-5 years old.
When the child grows older, some parents will do everything for the child in the name of education. They can go all out to find the so-called best school in town. If there is none nearby up to their satisfaction, some can even migrate to another country for the sake of getting the best education for the child. As if this is not enough, some parents choose to go there alone (without the other half) with the child. Arrangement such as this will surely have an impact on the stability of the family. As I mentioned in this article, academic excellence is only a small part of a child’s life. Hence, spending 100% of your attention on education is the ticket to disappointment.
Take a step back and think about this: Do all these classes/sacrifices worth it? Is this the only way to educate your child?
I believe every child has his own unique talents and strengths. We must not expect our child to be an all-rounder. What we should do is to find out their talent(s) and work around them. In doing so, it not only takes the pressure from the child, but he enjoys it tremendously. Additionally, as parents, there are only two important things to teach to our kids: emotional management and problem-solving skills. To me, it’s good enough to focus on strengths, EQ, and problem-solving. Anything else is just “noise.”
The Guilt/Bribery Trap
This is related to materials. Since some parents are busy with work and spare no time for the child, out of guilt, they stuff their child with material things: toys, gadgets, books, clothes, and so on. One thing you must be wary of is if you continue doing this, there will be one extra materialistic child in the world. Your child will talk about nothing but materials and rewards. Also, what will happen to those toys after a few days? They get bored with them and ask for more new stuff. And the cycle continues…
In fact, this is the last thing you want and you must lead by example to show your child that consumerism is NOT the way of life.
You know it. You can’t replace your guilt with materialistic things. Stop buying all those unnecessary stuff that keep filling up your garage. Tell yourself and commit to it that you are going to find time for your child no matter how busy you are. Treat spending time with your child as an appointment with an important client. You can’t afford to be late and you can’t afford to miss it.
Besides spending time with your child, another treatment to your guilty feelings is to show your child that you love him unconditionally. You know what the best part is? It’s free!
The Safety Trap
I have seen this a lot. Parents over-protect and over-worry about their child. These parents are called helicopter parents. They just hover above the child wherever he goes. If the child bumps in something or needs help, the parent just dives in and helps. From the surface, it looks fine. But what they don’t realize is they rob the child of the opportunity to grow, learn, and experience life.
Parents who fall into this trap always limit the child to activities they think are “safe” only. Some even go to the extent of thinking that going outdoors is not safe!
Come on. Relax and don’t get so uptight. You must remember that the best teacher is the experience itself. Once in a while, the child has to go through tough times in order for them to really internalize a lesson. It’s better than 100 times of your lecture. As long as it is not life threatening, let your child go wild and have fun. Even if it is, you can always take some safety measures.
I always encourage J and K to go out and play. I take them out for a monthly hiking and splash in a stream. And for the first time last September, I took them out for a camping trip. Of course, there were some parents who warned us not to go for the trip as it was dangerous due to rainy season. They might say this out of concern but to me the worry was irrelevant. After all, we came out one piece after the camping and we had one hell of a time there that we are going back there again… very soon.
Letting go of your child is the only way for him to learn to be responsible and independent – two very qualities that every parent wants their child to have. You are doing a disservice to your child if you hold on too tight and try to protect your child wherever he goes.
The Health Trap
It’s easy to make money out of parents. You just need to tell them that your product can help them raise healthy children. They will buy into everything just to have sick-free children. Better still, tell them that your pills can also boost the child’s intelligence!
I am not trying to be sarcastic. It saddens me to find out that there are still parents who believe in magic pills to health. Let me tell you this: there are no magic pills. And there are no shortcuts and there is no one super food that can replace everything else.
One good example of this is milk formula. The milk companies are spending a lot of money to make you believe that their formula is what you need for your child (On that note, breast milk is STILL the best) – which is of course not true. Another example is food supplements. Who needs food supplements if you eat healthy.
When it comes to healthy foods, I have only one principle to adhere to: eat natural foods (and stay away from processed foods). Go back to nature and back to basics, so to speak. If possible, try to include raw foods in your family diet. Besides exercise and positive outlook, the key to raising a healthy child is to have a healthy family diet.
Don’t buy into what the commercials say. They won’t work and they are just hype. Stick to nature and you won’t go wrong too far.