20 Rookie Parenting Mistakes We're All Guilty of Making

Kathleen Wong | Mar 17, 2020 Baby
20 Rookie Parenting Mistakes We're All Guilty of Making

If there's one truth out there, it's that parenting sure isn't easy and there's no right way to do it. In this day and age, there are countless approaches to parenting and at times, it can seem overwhelming. What's going to work best for us and our family? What's going to ensure happy, healthy children and set them up for success? These are pretty whopping questions, folks. 

Since these are such important questions, it only makes sense that we're going to make a mistake here and there. I mean, c'mon, we're only human (and most likely running on three hours of sleep.) 

We gathered up 20 rookie parenting mistakes that we've all made at some time or another. Read them and relate or use them as a precaution. Either way, this list isn't meant for anyone to beat themselves up. Parenting is hard, we know!

  • Believing Every Piece of Advice

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    new moms talking
    SolStock/iStock

    Being a new parent is tough. From pregnancy on, expect unsolicited advice from pretty much everyone -- from random people at the grocery store to our best friend's mom. That being said, don't listen to everything everyone says because the advice will often be conflicting and overwhelming. Instead, we should focus on listening to our guts and our doctors!

  • Too Much Praise

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    mother and son
    skynesher/iStock

    In the pursuit of making our children confident and feel good about themselves, we can risk praising them too much. Many experts agree too much praise can set them up for disappointment later in life. They might end up feeling pressured to always perform well or need constant external validation.

  • Letting Them Always Win

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    mother and son playing basketball
    Liderina/iStock

    It's not easy beating our child at a game, but sometimes it's necessary. Letting them always win can give them a false sense of control and accomplishment -- or even worse, turn them into a sore loser when they do eventually lose. Teach them the value of winning naturally.

  • Cleaning Up After Our Child

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    Cleaning up after our child
    SolStock/iStock

    We know, we know, it's almost second nature to pick up after our child. However, it's important to teach our children to clean up their own messes and to not expect others to. This will also turn them into hard workers who value their belongings.

  • Not Bringing Extra Diapers

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    baby with a diaper
    mapodile/iStock

    Even when just running to the corner store or simply dashing around the block for a walk, not packing diapers for a newborn is a mistake. There's nothing worse than being out somewhere and realizing we're out of diapers. Always stash a few extra in every bag, heck, even the car. Because really, who wants to deal with an explosive poop with no backups? 

  • Packing Our Child's Bags

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    child packing suitcase
    FluxFactory/iStock

    Even though it'll probably take longer, it's important to not pack our child's bags or suitcases for them. Teach them how to organize and plan for the future, even if that's just a short weekend trip. Bonus points if we get them to start with creating a list.  

  • Letting Them Have Too Much Screen Time 

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    Child playing on phone
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    These days, children and teens have easy access to phones, tablets, computers, and televisions. It entertains them so that we can have some quiet time, we get it! However, it's important to limit their screen time. The American Heart Association warned that too much screen time can lead to sedentary children and other health issues. 

  • Yelling at Them

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    shouting parent
    O_Lypa/iStock

    We know it can be difficult to stay calm and reasonable in the moment when our child is throwing a temper tantrum, but that's what being a parent is all about. Unless an emergency is happening in that very second, we need to refrain from yelling at our child. Research shows that yelling is not only ineffective but it could make our children more aggressive as they get older.

  • Not Prioritizing Family Meals

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    Family eating dinner
    filmstudio/iStock

    We lead busy lives and it can be easy to let the kids eat in front of the television while we nosh standing up by the stove. In some cases, we might be grabbing takeout or fast food more often than we'd like. Teach them the importance of quality family time by having meals together at the dinner table. 

  • Leaving a Drink Near an Infant

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    spilled drink
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    All cups without lids have some sort of Murphy's Law attached to it. Leaving any cup filled with liquid near an infant is like asking for the kiddo to knock it over, TBH. Just move it a foot away. 

  • Not Teaching the Value of Money

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    mom and child with piggy bank
    andresr/iStock

    Obviously, talking to our children about Roth IRAs and mutual funds isn't really going to help them understand the concept of work and money. However, we recommend teaching our children the value of a dollar by letting them earn their allowance rather than just handing them some bills for no well-earned reason or staying hush-hush about money. 

  • Dismissing Our Child's Feelings

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    sad girl
    Solovyova/iStock

    It's instinct to want to tell our child things like, "Don't be sad" or "Don't get upset." However, we shouldn't brush off those feelings just because they're kids. We should ask them more about their emotions and feelings.

  • Letting Our Child Eat a Separate Dinner

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    child making a salad with mom
    xavierarnau/iStock

    Speaking of family dinners, we know how easy it is to indulge our children into letting them eat whatever they want instead of what we're planning to cook, aka chicken nuggets. However, a 2013 study found that children who eat what their parents also eat have a better chance at having healthy diets when they grow up.

  • Saying 'I Said So'

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    mother and daughter having a talk
    MStudioImages/iStock

    When we're trying to get from Point A to Point B, it can be easy to just tell our child, "Because I said so." However, it's important to take the extra minute to explain the rationale so they can learn from the situation.

  • Forcing Hobbies on Them

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    son playing guitar with dad
    South_agency/iStock

    We want our kids to be superstars and sometimes we end up projecting our own aspirations onto them. Even though we wish we knew how to play guitar, our kid might not. Let it rest and see what they are interested in naturally. 

  • Poking a Sleeping Baby

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    sleeping baby
    FatCamera/iStock

    New parents can get paranoid about their baby. However, we wouldn't poke a sleeping giant. Don't poke a sleeping baby either to make sure he's still breathing. It'll just wake him up and he'll cry ... for hours.

  • Being in the 'Splash Zone'

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    mom and baby in diaper
    damircudic/iStock

    When we first start out changing diapers, we might want to tend to them as quickly as possible. However, that might result with us standing in the "splash zone." Give it a pause to make sure the baby is fully done going! But also, that's just part of being a parent, right?

  • Comparing Babies

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    two toddlers
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    There are not many experiences similar to that of being a new parent, which means we might look toward our friends' or family members' own experiences of raising a newborn. That being said, it's important to not compare little ones! Maybe our baby isn't growing as fast as our niece or walking as soon as our best friend's. That's OK.

  • Not Bringing Our Own Change of Clothes

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    woman in closet
    LENblR/iStock

    It's no surprise that we need to bring a spare change of clothes for our baby. But just think about it: with poop, spit-up, and straight-up vomit, we should also pack an extra outfit for ourselves! 

  • Not Living in the Moment 

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    baby and mom with phone
    mapodile/iStock

    It's easy to want to record every special moment of our newborn's life. While we definitely support taking photos and videos to look back on and share with our loved ones, we should also remember to put down our phones and live in the moment more!

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