If you're a parent, chances are the success of your children is one of your utmost priorities. Yet there are so many ways to screw up the important job of raising kids to be high achievers. While proactively looking at ways to parent properly certainly helps, it's wise to know which common pitfalls to avoid as well. Here are a few negative parental behaviors researchers say you'd be wise to avoid.
Reactive parents have kids with more negative behaviors.
Reacting to a misbehaving child is easy to do, whether it's yelling or threatening punishments that may never actually be enforced. But according to research conducted at the University of Washington, kids behave better when parents practice mindfulness, meaning they stay calm and objective and respond intentionally and not reflexively. Researchers created and offered a program through which 50 parents of preschoolers were taught how to manage their own emotions and behaviors. Specifically, they learned how to pay attention to the present moment, respond warmly to a child's emotions, behave consistently and encourage independence, offering help when needed. Over the course of teaching and observing the parents and their children over three months, the researchers found that that the parents became better at managing their own emotions and behaviors. As a result, their kids demonstrated improved social skills and fewer negative behaviors.
Helicopter parents have kids who can't deal with stress.
That's according to research conducted at the University of Minnesota, which followed 422 children over eight years and analyzed parent interactions with children at ages 2, 5, and 10. Helicopter parenting was defined as constantly telling a child what to do, as well as being overly strict and demanding. Researchers found that kids treated in this manner tended to become rebellious, frustrated, or apathetic. Two-year-olds who were over-controlled demonstrated less emotional and behavioral regulation at age 5 compared with peers given some autonomy. On the flip side, 5-year-olds who had developed greater emotional regulation were more likely to do better in school, have better social skills, and exhibit fewer emotional problems by the time they were 10.
Parents who don't get enough sleep have kids who make more poor choices.
It's because not getting enough sleep often results in being a more permissive parent--being too lax or being an inconsistent disciplinarian--particularly for mothers. This kind of parenting has been shown to increase the tendency for teens to engage in risky behavior, including hanging out with peers who are a bad influence, skipping school, and substance abuse. Researchers at the University of Illinois studied 234 mothers who wore Fitbit-like devices that tracked the quality of their sleep and their teenagers who completed surveys regarding their mother's parenting. Mothers who got more sleep or were able to easily fall asleep had teenagers who reported less evidence of permissive parenting.