Parenting Tips: Bad Parenting Habits to Break

It’s easy enough to point the finger at other people’s bad parenting, but identifying these five habits of your own can help teach kids better behaviour  

Credit: Flickr/jonathancohen


You can’t blame the kid for bad behaviour if you’ve fed him the world’s largest candy

Don’t accidentally model bad behaviour for your kids. Break these bad parenting habits now

I was on a train from Seattle to Vancouver when I noticed the grandma with two small kids, four and five, in her care.

They didn’t want to go to the snack car, so she had to cajole them. They came back with a full-sized can of Coke and a chocolate bar, which the kids proceeded to consume. Grandma then got on her cellphone and began calling people to complain about the kids’ bad behaviour.

Identifying bad parenting in others is easy enough, but cluing in to your own can be tougher. Here are five habits to catch yourself in and, if applicable, try to nip in the bud.

Lessons You Don’t Want to Teach

  1. Let’s go – let’s stay. Have you ever pried a child out of a store or a friend’s house with threats, bargaining and finally main force, only to linger at the doorway or at an enticing display afterwards? If you ignore your “Time to go – I mean it!” why shouldn’t they?
  2. Stuck on repeat. Issuing instructions over and over only teaches one thing: no need to tune in first time around. Say it once, twice or three times at the very most.
  3. No follow-through. “Don’t do that or we’re leaving!” The child does it, and the dad continues to linger in the park — he’s having a good conversation with a fellow parent. Guess what? That kid just learned consequences don’t matter.
  4. Rewarding bad behaviour. “Don’t interrupt!” you say, then turn to get him the toy he wanted. Lesson learned? Ignore the reprimand, and use whatever works (like screaming, sobbing, and yes, interrupting) to get what you want.
  5. Parental responsibility. Like the grandma who gave them chocolate and Coke, you can’t blame kids for being whiny and obnoxious if they haven’t had enough sleep, good nutrition and especially sufficient exercise (2 hours a day is the guideline).