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my "epic parenting fails"

Family in cafeI was out at a restaurant the other day with my 3 kids. My daughter asks me if she can play on my iPhone while we wait for the food to arrive.

I tell her “no” and explain that you shouldn’t stare at your phone and ignore the people you’re sitting with in a restaurant.

Literally in the middle of explaining this, I got a text message from my husband that I had to reply to. I needed to send him some travel details, which I had to look up, so it took a couple of minutes.

My oldest son (he’s 11 going on 19) rolls his eyes and says, “Nice one, Mom. Epic parenting fail.”

This got me thinking about some of the other parenting mistakes I sometimes make… and my best advice for NOT making them in the future!


Parenting Fail #1: Using the “B” word

I will sometimes catch myself telling my kids that they’re being “bad” — and then storming out of the room… or sending them for a timeout.

Now, this usually results in the “bad” behavior stopping… but it doesn’t really help my children consciously avoid that behavior in the future.

Instead, I should have said something like: “Jumping off the table is not acceptable behavior. You need to stop doing that right now.”


Parenting Fail #2: “No Ice Cream For You!”

Did you ever see the episode of Seinfeld where the guy who ran the soup restaurant would kick people out of his shop for not following the rules?

“No soup for you!” he would yell at them.

I sometimes do the same thing — only it’s usually with ice cream, not soup.

And — I hate to admit this — I don’t always explain to my children WHY they’re not getting any dessert.

 The RIGHT way to use consequences is to remember to explain — clearly and calmly — why there’s no ice cream. “Pushing that boy at the park was not acceptable. Because you pushed him, you won’t be able to have any ice cream today.”


Parenting Fail #3: Using the “G” word

This one’s always hard for me to remember. If my children have been behaving well, I’ll often say something like:

“Wow, you guys sure were GOOD today!”

Now, they certainly appreciate the praise — but they usually have NO IDEA what specific behavior I’m referring to!

Instead, what I need to remember is to say things like “I really like how you sat quietly at the table and colored while we were out for dinner with Grandma. I’m proud of you for not running around the restaurant.”

I also wanted to give you some advice about the best way to use time-outs, but I realize this message is already pretty long, so I’ll post another one in a couple of days.

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