Most parents want only good things for their children. Their actions are based on what they believe will best serve their kids. Unfortunately, there are some mistaken ideas going around that are much more harmful to children than helpful.
When parents adopt these mistaken ideas they can take actions that will encourage children to be their worst self, rather than their best. These actions can even turn kids into sociopaths. This might seem like a shocking statement but sadly, it's happening as we speak.
How do parents turn their child into a sociopath? There are six parenting traps that together, will bring out the very worst in any child.
Parenting traps are behaviours that seem "nice" on the surface, so parents think they're "good" for their children. They're actually very bad for them.Article continues below
1: No limits. Instead of setting clear limits and guidelines around their child's behaviour, they completely indulge and/or enable the kid in being selfish, self-centered, self-indulgent, greedy, grasping, insensitive and/or uncaring.
Parents can think that limits are "mean" or that they prevent their child from expressing themselves authentically. Neither of these things are true. It's far more kind to let a child know what's expected of them and what's unacceptable than to allow the child to get into trouble down the road, because of their ignorance.
2: No consequences. They fail to give the child any meaningful consequences for these bad attitudes and behaviours.
Parents can think that it's hurtful to give a child consequences, but it's actually more hurtful not to. These parents are depriving the child of the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to correct their behaviour.
In combination with a lack of limits, the absence of consequences causes a child to grow up without a sense of right and wrong, or a sense of remorse for having behaved badly.
3: Inappropriate reactions. They minimize and/or find "cute" all instances of the child's hurtful, selfish, impulsive, destructive, cruel or thoughtless behaviour.
Parents do their kids no favours when they're in denial of their child's capacity for behaving badly. Parents need to stop idealizing their children. They need to see that even their precious darlings are capable of behaving badly, and that it's their job to guide these children onto the right path in life. If parents remain this state of denial, their children are deprived of of this guidance.
4: No values. They fail to instill proper morals, ethics, compassion, empathy, kindness or self-discipline into the child.
We live in a morally relativistic world. When parents fail to teach their children about being good people and doing the right thing, the only influences the children have are their peers and the media.
(Photo: Teresa Short/Getty Images)
5: Inappropriate "protection." They protect the child from receiving any in-the-world consequences of their bad behaviour, including the child's lying, conning,cheating, stealing, bullying and hurting animals or other people.
When parents "protect" their child in this way, they are in fact, abandoning them. Children are constantly learning and growing. Their character is developing, either in a positive direction or a negative one.
When parents make sure that teachers, coaches, clergy or employers never give the child a consequence for any wrong-doing, these parents are reinforcing the message that the child need not ever consider the effects of their behaviour on others.
6: No perspective. They repeatedly tell the child, or indicate through their actions that the child is "special," better than everyone else, and deserving of more than everyone else.
It's great to build up a child's self-esteem, but constant flattery will create a child who is grandiose and egocentric. Good self-esteem makes for a confident kid, grandiosity makes for a future megalomaniac.
The above six parenting traps will lead a child to grow up believing that they're superior to everyone else. They'll have very little interest in, or empathy for anyone else, and they'll be extremely self-focused and self-serving.
This kind of child will have no respect for the rules and they'll feel like they should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, in order to get what they want, without any consequences whatsoever.
If you want to be a truly loving, caring parent, be careful to avoid all of these parenting traps. If not, you could be responsible, in part, for creating a monster.
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