As parents, it is essential to understand that our kids observe us very carefully. This is because they see us as the ones they need to mimic in order to succeed in life. Parental sacrifice is a common thing – we give up on certain benefits so that our children may have a better life but sometimes, the sacrifice we have to make is not time or money. Sometimes, the biggest sacrifice we may have to make is the one where we better ourselves by giving up our vices to further their needs.
What Habits Should Parents Give up for Their Children Immediately
Children develop habits based on the exposure they get. This exposure is usually of the non-verbal kind; it is what they observe around them and the interactions they have in different situations with people who have habits that are either appreciated or frowned upon. The ones they are most exposed to are us. This is why we must be very careful about the habits we incorporate in our daily life. Here are some bad habits parents need to break for the benefit of their children.
Smoking is considered one of the worst habits to have as a parent. Not only does this habit tell our kids it is okay to smoke, but it also actively harms their bodies. Second-hand smoking can lead to numerous types of cancers in children and adults. What makes smoking a worse habit for a parent is the fact that your child has a developing body, this means their lungs aren’t fully developed yet. Undeveloped lungs are weaker and more susceptible to illnesses that smoking can cause. Some of the conditions they can develop because of your nicotine habit include life-threatening cardiopulmonary diseases like asthma and bronchitis.
While small amounts of alcohol are socially acceptable, children are too young to realize that. You are a role model at this point; as such, it is imperative that you avoid drinking alcohol in front of them. Often, inebriation leads to unfiltered and often vulgar language that your child can also pick up. In various studies by numerous psychological institutions, it is proven that if your child sees you inebriated often as a young child, they may veer towards alcoholism.
Much like smoking and alcohol, doing any kind of drug should be avoided. This sets an example for your child. If you do drugs when they are present, it tells them that this is considered good behaviour. Your child doesn’t see you as a bad person; in fact, they idolize you. So everything you do is considered right by them. This, later in life, could lead them to attempt narcotics or worse, become addicted to substances.
4. Television Time
It is common to limit TV time for children. When they see you mesmerized by a screen for long periods of time, they consider the TV crucial to life. This can lead your child to be addicted to technology. Studies have shown that digital addiction is growing at a faster and more dangerous rate than narcotics, alcohol and smoking and can lead to cognitive disabilities. Limit your tv time when they are around so they don’t feel like television or gadgets are essential to life itself.
A common bad habit among parents is screaming. This, according to child psychologists, is more harmful than helpful. Children are sensitive, they don’t respond well to shouting and screaming. It is far more effective to talk to your child and ground them with an explanation of what they did wrong. Screaming or shouting at your child is known to have bad psychological effects on them as adults. It can lead to anxiety and depression. It can also lead to a gap in trust between your child and you.
6. Comparing Your Children
Considered by early childhood development specialists as the worst habit in parents, the one thing you must stop doing or never try to do is compare your children to other children. This leads to numerous dangerous side-effects for their growth and development. Some of these include intense self-esteem issues, a loss in confidence and a lack of self-worth. It is essential that you encourage your child to grow in a way where they feel appreciated and centred in their strengths.
Physical violence of any kind must be stopped immediately – this kind of violence can cause irreparable harm to your child’s psyche. Beating and hitting your child will lead to numerous psychological disorders. It is also a well-known fact that children of domestic abuse likely also will become abusers. Whether it be substance abuse or spousal abuse or even self-abuse. According to numerous medical and psychological studies, any form of violence, even the smallest slap, can be traumatic in dangerous ways.
While encouraging is seen as the most important part of nurturing your child’s development, degrading them or directing harsh words at them is considered counter-productive to their growth. In fact, degradation of your child may not be considered physical abuse but it is categorised as mental and emotional abuse and as such can harm your child for the rest of his life in both a psychological and emotional manner. It could lead your child to struggle to connect with others and develop social anxiety. It could also shatter their confidence, or in the worst case, make them abusive towards themselves or others.
While friendly banter treads the line of gossip, it can become dangerous. This tells your child it is healthy and good to spread rumours or speak in a negative manner about others behind their backs. Your child will mimic this with friends and it can lead to emotional harm, social strains and loss of friendships. In a really bad situation, your gossip could also lead to your child being isolated. Avoid gossiping, for your good and your child’s.
10. Body Shaming
One of the most common causes of depression, anxiety and a complete loss of self-worth and self-confidence is body shaming. If your child is overweight or underweight, if a feature on their body is bigger than the average, do not shame them for it. You may comment on it with good intentions but this tells your child that they are not enough. Accept them as they are; don’t shame them and force them to become someone else. It is essential that you do not point out flaws in their bodies but rather emphasise their positive qualities. Body shaming is one of the leading causes for teen suicides in countries like India, Japan and South Korea.
Parents are the icons of their children – every kid wants to be like their mom or dad. This is why they mimic your actions and try to follow your examples. To better understand how these habits and some others can harm your child, please talk to a child psychologist.