7 Things You Do That Will Screw Up Your Kid

boy licking tree
He was told not to lick that tree!
You are doing something that will mess up your kid in some way. No matter how careful you are. No matter how many books you have read. You will instill some trait(s) in your kid that they will need to fight off as they get older ... or will blame you for when they are paying their therapy bill. It is inevitable. Our parents did it to us (hopefully, unintentionally) and we will do it to our kids.

Last week a disciplinary mistake of mine came back to bite me in the ass.

What I did: I realized about a year ago that the best way to get my kids to do something (when all else failed) was to threaten them that I will take something away — or not allow them to do something — until they did what I needed them to do. Often it is brushing their teeth. I've obviously employed this method more than I realized.


Kids' Reaction: My daughter and son now threaten each other whenever they want something but get resistance from one another. As in: "If you don't play with these toys the way I want to play with them, then you can't come in my room ever again" or "If you don't share your candy bar, then I won't ever let you play with my friends. Ever!" Parenting FAIL.

Here are some other common parenting actions and reactions ... taken from a very informal survey among friends. Do you see yourself in any of these?


What You Do: You are awful with your money. You just can't budget yourself and can't stop spending. Even when you have extra money, it gets spent. Your kids see you go for a much needed manicure but they never seem to get the new sneakers they desperately want/need.

What They Become: When they grow up, they get all of their bills paid on-time but are so cautious with their money that they never allow themselves to buy things they really want/need — even if they have the money to do so. Their bank account is filled and their bills are paid but they've never learned that it's okay to spend money on themselves.

What You Do: You had no money growing up and you don't want your kids to ever feel the pressure and angst you felt as a child. Problem is, you forget to teach them the value of the dollar and give your kids everything they ask for ... to a fault.

What They Become: Twenty years later your poor kiddie can't budget himself at all and doesn't understand why his bank account no longer magically refills after every withdrawal.

What You Do: You are a neat freak. Well, you don't call yourself that, of course. Everything has its place and you don't see why your kids can't abide by those rules. Your home needs to be clean and those kids will keep it that way — even if you have to say it over and over and over again. And if you have to, you will just do it for them!

What They Become 1: Grows up to be a neat freak, just like you, torturing another generation of children and spouses.

What They Become 2: Grows up to be a complete slob. Literally, your adult child cannot find the hamper, dishes are piled up in the sink, and magazines are thrown about — all because you aren't there to clean it up for her!

What You Do: Limit television time with too much vigor. It's like your parents telling you that you can't date a certain boy and then ALL you want is that boy. 

What They Become: They become completely obsessed with the television. For that hour a day your child is actually allowed to watch television, he looks like he is possessed by an alien force. There could be an earthquake going on around him, but as long as the power is still on, he will not move his butt from that couch.

What You Do: You are on your phone all of the time. Maybe not actually talking. Maybe texting or checking Facebook or tweeting. The phone is next to you at the dinner table. It's beside you when you are on the playroom floor with your kids. You feel empty if your phone is not readily by your side. You know who you are.

What They Become: They feel there is always something going on in your life that is more important than them and so they must have that "something" in their lives as well. There is no place that is too sacred for the phone and it gets them in countless trouble with their future spouse, employers, professors, and clergy. 


What You Do: You hate exercise and never really developed the taste buds for veggies. But lucky you, you are thin as a pencil and are in perfect health. You don't run, you don't swim, you haven't had broccoli in years — and you are proud of it!

What They Become: Kids learn by example, so when your kid is 22 and doesn't know how to do a proper sit-up, refuses to eat anything green, and doesn't understand why her metabolism isn't the same as yours ... who is flipping the bill for the nutritionist?

Any bad habits you know your kids will end up with because of YOU?

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