10 Things Parents Who Tried Their Best But Raised Difficult Kids Wished They Had Done Differently

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, and none of the parenting books in the world can prepare you for the ups and downs of turning a child into a responsible adult. The most annoying thing about parenting, apart from the fact that each child is unique, is that no matter how much you try, your kid could turn into a jerk. Here are some things that could prevent you from raising a creep, though even if you fail, you can find comfort in knowing that you are just human. 

1. Do as I say 

Children imitate their parents since they are toddlers. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship, but it does not end with long, open conversations. Your actions also communicate which behaviors are acceptable, so if you think that just telling your child not to do something is enough, you’re wrong. Drop the “do as I say” ( or, even better, “don’t do it”) attitude and embrace positive reinforcement. You cannot punish your teen for driving over the speed limit if you constantly break traffic rules. But you can reward them for respecting the curfew. 

2. The blind spot

Most parents think their babies are going to achieve great things. Instead of seeing their child, many see them as what they think they should be. If you remove your rose-tinted glasses, you will do your kid a great favor. You will see their flaws, but more importantly, you will see their true potential. Most parents have this blind spot for their kids, and they overlook their struggles and even some disturbing behaviors. 

3. Keep it consistent 

Instead of being the fun parent or best friend, try keeping up with their routine and consistency. Be predictable because that will teach your child what to expect from you. That will decrease their anxiety if they get a bad grade or do something stupid. With structure, children are less likely to develop behavioral problems or, to put it bluntly, become jerks. 

4. Roleplay 

Perpahs your older child is well behaved, so much so that you are comfortable with them taking over your parenting role in part. That’s called “parentification,” and it will cause your loving child to become a caregiver for life. Some great parents believe this is an excellent way to create strong bonds among siblings. Still, it will likely result in an older one being always available, with the younger one thinking they can get away with anything since their parent was a 12-year-old. 

5. Sibling rivalry 

What works for kid number 1 will not work for kid number 2. Your children are individuals, so you should not compare them, and more importantly, you should not treat them equally because they do not have identical emotional needs. This goes for twins as well. You are not raising one person and their clone, but two strong, healthy individuals. Just because you did a great job with the first child does not mean you must use the same techniques with child number 2.

6. Listen to your gut 

The number of children who experience abuse at the hands of people you trust can be overwhelming. On the one hand, you want your child to trust people, while on the other, you know there are many bad people out there. First, you should trust your child’s instincts, so if they do not want to kiss Aunt Edna, let them be. Second, if you notice your child is behaving strangely near someone close to you, listen to your gut. 

7. Seek help 

You can be a solid family unit, and your child might still need the help of a professional. There is a stigma surrounding mental health at any age, but with children, people tend to be even worse. Talk to a professional if your child is acting out, regardless of age. Perhaps your child is ashamed to admit they were bullied, or they have a hard time dealing with the loss of a beloved pet. You don’t have all the answers, and that’s fine, so ask those who might be helpful. 

8. Actions and consequences

The kid’s version of crime and punishment should not be overlooked. If your child destroys a neighbor’s yard, they must understand that their actions have consequences. This learning curve starts when they are toddlers and ends, well, it never ends. In the neighbor’s example, tell your child to clean up, apologize, and explain calmly and rationally that this is not up for negotiation. 

9. Growing pains 

Rejection, failure, and other unpleasant life lessons will be easier to accept if your kid starts experiencing some negative emotions early on. This does not mean you should be the cause of your kid’s pain. Instead, talk them through a breakup, the death of a relative, or a bad grade. Give them comfort, but explain that this is all part of growing up, and let them fall because that’s the only way to learn how to get up. 

10. Remember that you are only human 

Kids often see their parents as superheroes. Burst their bubble to save yourself. Do you know how, on an airplane, you first put a mask on yourself and then on your child? Without draining yourself emotionally, you can still be your child’s favorite person, a source of love and support, and a role model. And even if your kid turns out to be a jerk, at least you will have the strength to deal with them, which certainly wouldn’t be the case if you continued playing the role of a superhero while they were younger.  

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