Parents | Seven Mistakes That Put Your Children At Risk

1. Protecting kids from the consequences of their choices and still expecting them to learn critical lessons.

Instead: Allow children to learn from their choices. It’s essential that choice and consequence be experienced. It’s damaging if you don’t.

2. Working harder at your kids’ happiness and success than they are and expecting them to get it.

Instead: Be responsible for creating the conditions where your children can discover happiness, but don’t try to do it for them. Do not work harder than they do at finding it.

3. Modeling what you don’t want your kids to do (e.g., yell and scream), and then expecting them to not do it.

Instead: Be impeccable in modeling what you value. If you model calm in the face of challenges, your kids can learn positive skills from this.

4. Investing energy into what you don’t want and expecting it not to grow. Flip side: Ignoring what you do want and expecting it to flourish.

Instead: Condition yourself to notice and invest your attention and energy in what you seek while ignoring the small, trivial negatives of life.

5. Incessantly trying to control your kids with demanding, controlling and forceful language.

Instead: Get with reality. We don’t control our kids, we influence them. Embrace that reality and you suddenly expand your ability to have influence.

6. Refusing to accept the importance of a consistent structure with clear limits.

Instead: Kids are calmer, happier and better behaved with structure and limits. Learn how to get this in place right away, and surrender to it.

7. Being a parent of words and not action.

Instead: Lead with action, not words. Make sure your life is an example based on the way you live and that words are mostly unnecessary to demonstrate what you really value.

Dr. Randy Cale, a Clifton Park-based parenting expert, author, speaker and licensed psychologist, offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. His website,, offers free parenting guidance and an email newsletter. Submit questions to [email protected]

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