Having a child, especially for the first time, is one of the hardest things you will ever have to deal with, not helped by the multitude of conflicting advice that will be thrust upon you.
Sadly babies don’t come with a user manual and as they grow into little people and then oh-too-quickly into adults, as parents it can be difficult to always make the right decision.
Every parent makes mistakes from time to time, usually with the best of intentions, but in hindsight it can be easy to see how you might handle things differently if you had your time again. Here are 10 parenting mistakes which could ultimately have an impact on your child’s education.
1) Over protection
As a parent it’s natural to not to want your child to suffer but in reality, it’s necessary for your youngster to work through life’s ups and downs to develop the necessary coping skills. Of course you can be there to support them but sheltering them from any possible upset will make life much more difficult for them to cope with in the long term. And this could well have a knock on effect firstly in the classroom, then later with their social skills and job prospects.
2) Use the word ‘no’ sparingly
A young mind is like a sponge and curiosity plus a natural thirst for knowledge are some of the best motivators for a child to learn. Being too strict and stamping out an inquisitive nature can lead to a child being too afraid to engage or ask questions.
3) Not every story has a happy ending
Children need to understand that not everything ends with a happy ever after and protecting your child from anything which has a less than perfect conclusion can give a false impression of the world. This can make real life feel far more shocking and leave the youngster unprepared to deal with bad news or even things which don’t quite turn out as planned.
4) Don’t help them to make excuses
Helping your child to tell fibs to their teacher about why their homework wasn’t done, or even worse making up reasons yourself, teaches your child that they do not have to worry about cause and effect. If your child has not done their homework, they need to appreciate what the consequences will be. Learning cause and effect helps children to understand about taking responsibility for their actions.
5) Let them fight their own battles
Of course, if your child is being bullied, getting involved is sometimes essential but everyday playground disagreements and scraps can be resolved without your intervention. Your child needs to develop the social skills to resolve conflict and you hovering over them constantly ready to help them out will actually hinder their progress.
6) Making choices
You might shake your head in bewilderment over your child’s choices but making their own decisions, big and small, from a young age will help them develop self confidence and decision making skills. You should never rubbish your child’s choices, even if they are a little eccentric, but discussing why you think something else might be better can help to change their mind in a more subtle way.
7) Labeling children
This is an easy mistake that most parents make at one time or another. ‘He’s so good’ or ‘she’s a little madam’ repeated often enough will become a self fulfilling prophecy with the child adopting the personality they have been allocated.
8) Not following up on punishment
When children are misbehaving it can be incredibly frustrating and threatening them with dire consequences can be a desperate way of getting them to behave. However, if you do not follow through on what you have warned, your child will learn that they can behave how they like with no effect. A lack of discipline can lead to educational problems caused by a poor concentration and focus.
‘Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?’, a phrase often uttered by despairing parents at the end of their tether. But comparing children is a short way of creating animosity and jealousy between siblings and also causing a lack of confidence in the child being berated. This could ultimately result in a lack of effort at school, preferring to deliberately misbehave instead of failing.
10) Show your child it’s OK to be wrong
If you make a mistake, showing your child that’s it’s OK to admit it and say sorry is one of the most powerful lessons you can provide. This will teach them to learn from their mistakes and that everyone gets things wrong sometimes.
Education has a lot to do with attitude and behaviour, more so than children’s academic ability. The willingness to try hard, to ask questions and not be afraid to speak out contributes a huge amount to the performance of a child at school. By avoiding the common parenting potholes everyone trips up on occasionally, you can help equip you child with the skills necessary to give them the best chance to get a good education.