From dealing with your toddler’s temper tantrums to trying to talk sense into your teen, parenting can be quite tasking. Add to that the harsh criticisms from other parents who judge your parenting, and you’ll suddenly feel like taking a break from parenting!
However, things can be a bit easier if you become aware of your parenting strengths and weaknesses. You will interact better with your children, reduce misunderstandings, set good examples for your kids, and nurture them as best as possible.
This post looks at the common parenting strengths and weaknesses and offers helpful tips for overcoming the flaws and becoming an incredible parent.
Common Parenting Strengths
Here are the common parenting strengths every parent should strive to embody.
1. Patience (Lots of It!)
Successfully raising level-headed kids is nearly impossible without a hearty dose of patience, making the quality one of the most important parenting strengths to develop.
Practicing patience results in a win-win situation. First, you demonstrate tolerance and help your child learn to calmly manage difficult situations. This way, young children learn to communicate without using force and how to respect others.
Secondly, patience improves your connection to your child, and it tells them that you care about them more than any words can ever say.
Showing compassion toward yourself and others is an excellent way to teach kids to be kind, considerate, and respectful. To be compassionate means you are less reactive in relating with your children, and this allows you to understand your kids better and be a good parent.
Children raised with compassion will likely mature into sensitive individuals with good moral values.
3. Involving Kids in Decision-Making
Making decisions as a family is part of positive parenting. It fosters a sense of belongingness or inclusiveness.
When you carry kids along in decision-making, you teach them to air their views. But most importantly, it helps build their confidence and teaches them to trust their decision-making abilities.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t only help you become happier; it also teaches children to be thankful and appreciative of everything in their lives.
Besides, your kids will feel cherished, loved, and special when you express gratitude for having them in your life.
Having a routine may not seem important in parenting, but it helps build structure and develops organizational skills in kids. It takes a lot of inner strength for parents to stick to established routines at home and in life, so it definitely ranks as a major parenting skill.
Routines create a sense of security and safety, especially if parents are consistent with boundaries, rules, and restrictions.
You’re not too hard on your child by establishing routines, provided they are realistic rules (meaning you and other family members can abide by them).
Common Parenting Weaknesses
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Still, you can’t improve if you don’t know your weaknesses. Here are some flaws common with most parents.
1. Snapping at Your Child
It is normal to be agitated, irritable, or even lose your temper once in a while because no one is immune to bad days.
That said, you should consider re-examining yourself if you tend to become snappy at your kids too frequently.
Developing a nurturing relationship with your child can be difficult if you lose your cool too often, especially when your anger is directed at the child.
Here’s another thing to consider.
Children are quick to pick up habits from the authority figures in their lives. Your child will soon start yelling at other kids (and even you!) if they repeatedly see the behavior in you.
2. Controlling Your Child
There is a thin line between guidance and control, and often, many parents cross this line without even realizing it.
It is okay to be strict with your child, but an overbearing parenting style makes it difficult for the child to confide in you. Kids, especially older ones, will have difficulty telling you their whereabouts or sharing their feelings with you if you constantly monitor them.
Controlling behavior can cause low-self esteem issues in children. It might also lead to poor academic performance, anxiety, and a loss of interest in basic activities.
If you struggle with controlling behavior, I recommend reading this article to learn effective ways to be more accepting.
3. Dishing Out Orders
Children should feel safe, secure, and loved unconditionally in the home environment. Using force to ensure obedience is a no-no, even in military families.
Instead of respecting you, your children will develop a sense of fear when they are around you if you boss or order them around. As you probably figured, this doesn’t give room for a warm and loving relationship.
See your child as an individual because that’s who they are. Children may be little, but they have a mind of their own and can feel positive and negative emotions, too.
Ordering children around will likely make them defiant or rebellious, leading to a relationship characterized by power struggles.
Your child deserves to be respected as an individual. For this reason, learn to voice your request when you want something done instead of ordering or commanding.
4. Swearing, Arguing, and Disrespectful Behavior in Front of Your Child
A child who curses or uses swear words definitely picked it up from an adult. In most cases, one or both parents are guilty of swearing in front of that child.
This is one parenting aspect many parents are found wanting, and if not addressed, children will grow up to become disrespectful and impolite toward others.
5. Using Threats and Shaming Your Child
Shunning, shaming, and threatening your child into compliance can backfire in the long run. It is a mistake to let your child feel your love for them depends on how well they behave.
Unconditional parenting can be challenging, but it is well worth the effort, as it helps raise well-rounded children capable of fuller self-expression.
6. Being Overprotective
You rob your child of valuable life lessons and experiences if you always buy them out of trouble or overly shield them from experiencing loss.
Protecting your kids from the consequences of their actions is training them not to respect anything.
7. Overindulging Your Child
It is okay to say “no” to your child, especially if saying yes to a request can cause immediate or future harm. Saying yes to your child’s every request is not a show of love. It is a serious parenting weakness that must be addressed urgently to save the child.
Overindulging can make your child think that happiness only comes from acquiring things. This can lead to a future marred by uncontrollable compulsion and addictions.
Tips for Turning Parenting Weaknesses Into Strengths
Having one or more parenting weaknesses doesn’t make you a bad parent. Nearly all parents struggle with a few flaws; after all, we are humans!
However, that’s not an excuse not to improve your parenting skills. Follow the tips below to turn your weaknesses into parenting strengths.
Keep in mind that it will take consistent practice and a bit of time for these skills to stick. For this reason, you need patience (plenty of it!) when dealing with children, especially your kids.
1. Reflect When Listening to Your Child
Most parent-child misunderstandings stem from not listening on either or both sides. Practice what is known as reflective listening when conversing with your child. This will save you a lot of unnecessary heated arguments and fights.
Here’s the basic idea of reflective listening: hear what the speaker (in this case, your child) is saying, and repeat what you hear.
The goal is to understand what the child is telling you without misconstruing or reading too much into it.
For example, when your child tells you something, use phrases like, “So, you’re wondering if…” or “It sounds like you feel….”
Reflective listening removes reactive living toward your child. By repeating what you hear your child say, you reduce the chances of a misunderstanding and exemplify empathy for your child to learn.
2. Be Firm Even When Kids Whine
Giving in when your child whines is a common parenting weakness. This is especially true if allowing children to have their way won’t cause any apparent (immediate) harm, and you’ll get some temporary peace.
No doubt, whining is a severe form of emotional torture for any loving parent, especially when it comes from your child. But you must put your foot down if you want kids to learn to take you seriously.
It is okay to be kind, but be firm, too!
If you set a house rule or boundary, ensure it is adhered to. When you repeatedly give in to whining, you train your children to believe they can have their way if they use emotional blackmail.
3. Stop Raising Your Voice
Wait, what? Is it possible to raise kids without raising your voice?
Admittedly, this is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. Still, it is possible to catch and stop yourself from screaming your head off, even when rowdy kids get on your nerves.
The “trick” to stop yelling is anticipating when the urge to shout down everyone is coming on. Usually, parents yell at their children when it seems they are not being heard (whether on an emotional level or because of loud noise).
Notice when you feel like screaming and stop yourself, even for a few seconds. Deliberately adjust the tone of your voice and choose your words carefully before speaking.
As you can imagine, this takes a bit of practice to master. Don’t beat yourself up if you end up raising your voice. It is okay to slip up occasionally; just remember to do your best to stop shouting at your kids.
4. Avoid Vague Responses
Children are expert negotiators, and if you let them, they will harass and push you until you give in to what they want (even if it is not good for them).
Unfortunately, many parents qualify their answers when children ask for something. The best way to overcome this weakness is to always give a yes or no answer.
Don’t waffle, qualify your answers, or give vague responses. Trust your first instinct ― it is usually right.
Say “yes” or “no” and mean it, even if your child complains. Avoid saying things like, “Well, if you do so and so, maybe….” You’ll give room for negotiations and incessant pleas if you do this.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency is one of the most important parenting strengths to develop. Children need to feel secure, and one way to do this is to avoid shifting the goalpost regarding routines and ground rules, both in life and at home.
Of course, you should allow room for flexibility, but don’t change things up at the slightest opportunity, as that can cause confusion for kids.
Here’s an example.
Suppose you have a family routine of having dinner together every day at 6:30 pm. It is okay if you don’t stick to eating at this time on some days (perhaps because someone is working late). However, you can still eat together every day (stick to a consistent routine), even if the time changes.
In other words, ensure to establish realistic routines suitable for your family and consistently follow them, no matter the changes to the timing or other factors.
Parenting can be quite challenging, to put it mildly. In addition to shaping another human being, the process brings out your worse and best qualities.
And regardless of how hard you try, you will make mistakes along the way. This is totally fine, but you must seek to become a better parent. You owe yourself and your kids that much.
Hopefully, this article has helped you become more aware of your parenting weaknesses and how to overcome them. Be easy on yourself, even if you think your flaws are too many. Identifying them is the first step to changing them, so you are already on the right path.
Want to read more parenting articles? Follow this link to access my collection of parenting posts, designed to help you develop parenting strengths and skills and make parenting a bit easier.