How To Pass A Parenting Capacity Assessment
As parents, we make many mistakes. Some are worse than others. These mistakes, in particular, have such unpleasant results that you will never make them again after learning the hard way.
1. Skipping the Bib When Feeding a Baby
“It will be alright to skip a bib this time,” you tell yourself. If you don’t mind having to throw their entire outfit in the garbage when they are done, that’s right.
Skipping a bib is never a good idea when feeding a baby unless you also skip their clothing. A bare chest is always easier to wipe than scrubbing stain remover into fabric later on.
2. Wearing White around a Toddler
Ever notice that parents do not often wear white? There’s a reason for this. We have all made the mistake of wearing white around a toddler and never being able to wear that piece of clothing in public again because of the massive stains it has accumulated.
3. Taking Frozen Berries or Cheese Puffs in the Car
It makes no difference if the food is healthy or not; no bright food should ever find its way into your car. Maybe you took the chance on blueberries, cheese puffs, or a brightly colored drink. Make this mistake once, and your car upholstery will forever be a smelly, tie-dye mess.
4. Changing Your Son’s Diaper Too Slowly
Most parents have experienced being peed on, especially when they are parents of a son. Taking too long to complete your son’s diaper change is just asking for trouble. Let this happen once, and every parent magically becomes a master at keeping the baby’s lower body covered for all but a brief moment.
5. Taking Your Newly Potty-Trained Child on a Road Trip
No parent wants to hear the four words when there is no gas station insight: “I have to pee.” Your newly potty-trained child has not yet learned to wait when they get the urge. Save the road trips for next year.
6. Forgetting to Bring along Wet Wipes
You have no idea how essential these magical inventions are until you are without them. You will always need wet wipes at the most inconvenient times.
Keep them on hand, so you are never caught without them after a messy meal with no place to wash your child’s hands after your child insists on petting a dirty-looking animal or on an airplane with a baby who’s wearing a dirty diaper.
7. Leaving a Talking Toy on the Floor after Bedtime
Your baby has finally fallen asleep after a long bedtime battle. You are creeping across the room so as not to wake your baby. You trip on something, and out of nowhere, you hear a loud, fake, childish voice exclaim, “Do you want to be my friend?” Nothing brings panic and rage to a parent like a talking toy threatening to wake their little sleeping one.
8. Taking Your Toddler to a Fancy Restaurant
Unless you love the thought of other people hating you, you may want to avoid fancy restaurants with your toddler. Fancy restaurants seem to attract a lot of unsympathetic, impatient people.
Adults in fancy restaurants have been known to erupt into meltdowns when faced with a toddler yelling loudly, banging his spoon on your wine glass, or throwing food.
There are thousands of mistakes a parent could make. All mistakes are best avoided, but some feel especially disastrous at the moment. Make these mistakes once, and you will never make them again.
How to Avoid the Parenting Mistakes Commonly Made with a First Child
Parenting is exciting, fulfilling, and very hard. We may have the best of intentions but still, somehow end up misguided.
Often our first child ends up being something of an experiment and is sometimes treated unfairly compared with our other children. What are some of the mistakes that we can do our best to avoid?
Expecting Too Much
With your first child, you may be shocked at how fast they grow and how old they look from one moment to the next. It can be easy to forget that even though they are your first to reach each milestone, they are still relatively young.
Rather than thinking of them as your big kid, try remembering what it was like for you to be the same age as them. This brings perspective and helps you avoid expecting adult behavior from them. Be careful to avoid expecting too much more of them than their younger siblings because they are still children.
Being Too Strict
Before we have children, we vow that our child will never be the loud brat that seems easy to judge. As a consequence of this, we sometimes attempt to force our child into a submissive temperament by being overly harsh and strict. This can build resentment in your child, as they can easily see that your true motive was to save your pride in front of others.
Choose to understand your firstborn, as we have the strongest tendency to parent this way when we are a new parent.
Feeling Fearful about Everything
As first-time parents, we worry so much about our children. We are fearful of germs, cold air, and bullies. It seems that everything has the potential to harm our little ones. Try to remind yourself that a normal child can handle most everyday challenges and allow them to live. This will help them not to feel resentful of younger siblings who appear to be allowed to do more at the same age later on.
Giving Them Too Much Responsibility
Firstborn children are often helpful and naturally responsible. Unfortunately, it can be easy even for good parents to take advantage of this quality. Be careful not to place too much responsibility on your older child. Please don’t use them as a built-in babysitter, household worker, or kitchen help. Chores are fine, but continuous unpaid volunteer work is not.
Pushing Them to Excel
We all want our children to reach their full potential, but this potential is often best discovered by the child and not the parent. As your child grows in a nurturing environment, they will naturally be drawn to things they love and are passionate about. Sometimes we put undue pressure on our firstborn child that we would never expect of our other children, and we need to relax and refrain from bringing this stress on them.
Comparing Them to Their Younger Siblings
No two children are the same. Your children will all be great at some things and will fail at others. Parent your children as individuals, and don’t expect your firstborn to compete with your younger children. They are a special, unique, and amazing person who should be encouraged to become all they can be, not forced into the personality of their younger siblings.
Parenting is tough, and with it comes many pressures. These pressures can cause us to make mistakes with our children, especially our firstborn. Avoid these mistakes, and you will be thankful that you never need to look back with regret.
How to Avoid the Parenting Mistakes Commonly Made with Middle Children
Being a middle child can be a great experience – having both older and younger siblings and its benefits. However, there are plenty of issues for middle children, and sometimes we as parents seem to compound those issues by the mistakes we make.
What are some of the most common errors made with middle children, and how can we avoid them?
Paying More Attention to the Oldest and Youngest
Our firstborn child naturally gets our undivided attention for the first stage of their life and gets used to being the center of all adult attention. When the second child comes along, they begin as the baby and can bask in the attention that brings.
However, when a new little one arrives, the second child is bumped into the middle position.
Unfortunately, we often offer middle children less attention than our others without realizing it. Make a point of spreading your time and care among all your children, and you will avoid this unfortunate situation.
Comparing Them to Their Older Sibling
You will do your middle child a disservice by continually comparing them to your firstborn. Firstborn children are natural leaders and often work hard to get where they want in life.
Middle children are often more laid back, and this personality type is just as valuable and necessary in our society as any other type. Be careful not to force your middle child to feel they need to take on the often over-achieving firstborn child’s personality.
Comparing Them to Their Younger Sibling
The baby of the family is often a fun-loving individual who is the life of the party. Your middle child may feel like they have been bumped from their original position and may take a while to settle into their new role.
Be accepting of your middle child’s personality and don’t expect them to compete with their younger sibling, as they likely won’t be able to top the “cute factor” of the youngest.
Forgetting to Let Them Make Group Decisions
We often let children take turns making decisions regarding things such as what movies to watch, etc. The firstborn generally gets his (or her) chance by insisting persistently.
The youngest often does as well because they feel they have that right as the baby. If your middle child doesn’t push for his voice to be heard, it’s up to you as the parent to make sure he is not overlooked. Insist that he gets his turn to make the same decisions that are being made by everyone else.
Blaming Them for Everything
Middle children sometimes hold the unfortunate position of one who is blamed. The oldest is generally more knowledgeable about how to steer the blame away from themself, and the youngest is let off the hook simply by their age and charm.
Be fair and don’t automatically point fingers at your middle child just because they have not learned how to get out of sticky situations with the same wit and charm as your other children.
Being the middle child can be a difficult place in a family. You, as a parent, can do many things to make it as pleasurable an experience as possible for them. Take steps to avoid these common parenting mistakes, and your middle child will be most grateful.
How to Avoid Parenting Mistakes Commonly Made with "The Baby" of the Family
Standing out from among their siblings is the baby of the family. This child has a unique position among their brothers and sisters, which is often coveted by all. As parents, we generally treat each of our children differently from one another.
Unfortunately, there are many things that we may do when parenting our youngest child that can become obstacles to their personal growth. We would do well to identify these things and learn how we can avoid them.
When our youngest baby enters the family, we tend to get nostalgic. Knowing that this may be the last child that we buy toys for or take on vacations can lead us into a period of never-ending indulgence upon our little ones.
This will not sit well with older siblings, who may remember you being more frugal at an earlier time in your lives. It is also of no benefit to a child to be completely spoiled.
Although you want to cherish every moment with your baby, as hopefully, you did with your others, be sure to enforce limits on spending money or buying treats.
Always Letting Them Win
Because we know that our youngest child will not have the maturity of their older siblings, we can get into a habit of letting them get their way all the time.
As adults, we naturally give in to little ones when there is some competition involved, and we expect our older children to do the same for their younger siblings.
Older children may have acquired a few extra years, but they are still children. You need to ensure that you are fair with all your children, no matter what age.
Make a point of letting your oldest and middle children sometimes win, too. After all, they deserve their childhood just as much as the lucky ones who happened to arrive last.
Comparing Them to Older Siblings
Perhaps because we are determined to help our firstborn succeed and keep them ahead of the pack when it comes to everything, firstborn children are often focused and driven.
This can lead to unfair comparisons when the middle and youngest children come along. All children are different, whether it is because of birth order or temperament.
Environment plays a role as well, which changes from child to child – even in the same home. If you hold the bar too high for your youngest children and expect them to excel in the same areas as their older siblings, you will disappoint yourself, and you could harm your child. Allow them to be unique and wonderful just the way they are.
Having Low Expectations
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the tendency to realize that our youngest child doesn’t have the same areas of interest as their older sibling and then drop the bar of expectations.
Every child will have different strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to us as parents to celebrate and encourage each one. Just because a younger child may not excel in similar areas as their siblings doesn’t mean you should treat them as though they have no potential. Find their strengths, and encourage them in those areas.
The youngest children certainly have an interesting position within the family. Often gaining reputations such as “life of the party,” they have many great strengths and qualities.
Learn your potential parenting mistakes and do your best to raise your youngest successfully.
Co-Parenting - How to Handle When Your Child Chooses the Other Parent
No matter what the situation may be, co-parenting can be a challenge. Whether you generally get along with your child’s other parent or not, there are always issues that arise and must be ironed out.
When your child chooses the other parent, it is easy to feel defeated and discouraged. Here are some things to remember when you are in this situation.
Don’t Blame Your Child.
Growing up is filled with challenges. Even when a child is in a family with both natural parents, there are times when disagreements may arise. Try to remember your feelings as a child, and don’t blame your child for acting like one. You may not fully understand the struggles your child is facing, and it is wise not to jump to conclusions or judge them too harshly.
Don’t Blame Yourself.
On the flip side, don’t blame yourself. When a child chooses the other parent, it hurts, and you may be tempted to feel like the world’s worst parent. You may begin to believe the accusations you have heard thrown at you. Keep your perspective, and choose to believe the truths you know about yourself. These truths are that you love your child and do your best as you parent them.
Learn What You Can
Although you should avoid blaming yourself, there is often a truth we can learn through a tough situation such as this. Do you feel that you may have been too harsh with your child? Have you been running down your child’s other parent in front of your child, leading to them feeling sorry for the other parent?
Take care not to be overrun with guilt, but learn whatever you can to grow and perhaps mend the broken relationship you currently have with your child.
Attempt to Co-Parent as Best as Possible
Although you may feel betrayed and probably want to blame your ex, you must continue to co-parent respectfully and most civilly, you possibly can.
Remember that your ex is still a parent to your child, and try to see their side of the situation. Even if you cannot find any common ground, choose to be polite at the very least.
Whether your child has chosen to live with their other parent or simply sides with the other parent on every possible issue, continue to love your child unconditionally.
Forgive every betrayal and keep your door open to your child. Let them know that you will always be there for them, no matter what decisions they make or hurtful things they say to you. In this way, you are being a positive role model, as well as leaving the door open for a future relationship with your child.
Co-parenting is not easy, and it becomes especially complicated when your child has chosen the other parent over you. Although you might feel like you are being swallowed up in the pain of it all, don’t lose your footing.
Keep focused on these tips and handle yourself with grace and dignity. Let your child know you will be there for them when they choose to return to you.
How to Cope When Someone Lets Your Child Down
One of the most difficult things in life is seeing your child in pain. Whether it is physical or emotional pain, any parent would do anything to keep their child from it if they could.
What can you do when your child is hurting because of the disappointment they feel in another adult? When someone lets your child down, it is difficult, but you can take steps to help and not hurt the situation.
When your child feels down because of someone else’s actions, your protective mode goes into full swing. Often it makes no difference whether it is your natural child or your step-child… you have a desire to protect them.
Although seeing your child in emotional pain after being stood up or let down makes you want to react strongly, keep your cool. Flying off the handle will not help the situation and will only make it worse. Give yourself time to think and to respond rather than react.
Pause before Confronting
Although you may feel compelled to pick up the phone and blast whoever is at fault, take your time. Don’t jump to action before thinking.
Take a good long while to reflect and plan your next step. You will not regret waiting to breathe and think things through.
Get All the Facts
While you are taking time to pause before moving into action, gather all the facts about the situation. Is this disappointment a one-time thing or a pattern that is causing long-term damage to your child?
Is your step-child’s biological mom causing problems that have been going on for years? Are there other people involved? Is your child telling the full truth, or perhaps trying to manipulate you and everyone else?
Check into all the details, and have your facts all lined up to face the person in question with confidence and evidence.
Stand Up for Your Child
Now that you have gathered all your facts, you are ready to stand up for your child. Armed with your information, confront the individual who is the root of the problem. Don’t be afraid to be a voice for your child.
If you are the child’s step-parent, and you are confronting your partner’s ex, it is wise to enlist the help of your partner and face their ex as a team that cannot be divided.
Be Sure You Are Not Doing This for “Payback”
When you confront someone who has let down your child, you need to be sure that you are not doing it out of a personal vendetta.
If you have had a problem with this person in the past, do some soul-searching and confirm that this is not why you are quick to jump to your child’s defense. Your motive should be for your child’s best interest and nothing else.
Seeing our child let down by someone is one of the worst feelings in the world. It leaves a parent feeling angry and helpless to change the situation since it does not directly involve us.
When you take these steps after your child has been let down, you will be able to cope with the situation more effectively and for your child’s best interest.
How to Help Your Children Create Strong Sibling Bonds
Siblings are one of the greatest gifts that life can bring our children. The relationship between siblings is one of the deepest relationships they will ever experience.
Through fighting and teamwork, they will build a complex and amazing bond that lasts longer than most other relationships throughout their life. What can you as a parent do to encourage a strong sibling bond between your children?
Encourage Time Spent Together
It is difficult to build a strong bond between two individuals who rarely see each other. Instead of getting your children involved in too many sports and hobbies, keep the majority of their extra time free to spend together. You don’t need much money, or any at all, to have fun and build strong relationships with each other.
Help Them Find Common Bonds
It can be challenging for siblings to find things in common in their younger years when a few years seem like a huge age gap. You can be the bridge between them, helping them to find things to enjoy together.
Get them involved in the same hobbies, point out their similarities, and they will eventually begin to see these common bonds without even intentionally being made aware of them.
Don’t Compare Them to Each Other.
Comparing our children is a destructive practice that always ends badly. It is one thing to point out similarities, but it is entirely another to use your children’s strengths and weaknesses to manipulate and shame them. Comparisons only lead to jealousy and long-term family problems, so avoid them at all costs.
Squash Sibling Rivalry
While you avoid making comparisons, take it a step further and squash sibling rivalry as soon as it begins. It is natural for siblings to compare themselves to each other, which almost everyone does. It is important for you as a parent to put things back into perspective and redirect their focus to what they have in common versus what they have to argue about.
Spend Lots of Time Together as a Family
In addition to having your children spend lots of time together, be sure to spend lots of time together as an entire family. You, your partner, and each of your children each have something unique to bring to the table.
When you spend time together as a group, each person will enhance the relationships even between other family members.
Working and having fun as a group builds both a positive group dynamic and strong interpersonal bonds between every individual involved.
Speak Highly of Every Child to Each Other
Your children will become who you are, and this includes how you speak about others. If you are talking negatively about a child behind their back and in front of their siblings, their siblings will begin to think badly about them.
Don’t make this mistake. Be purposeful in speaking positive, life-giving words about each family member in front of the others.
You hope that your children will be lifelong friends. There are plenty of things you can personally do to encourage and promote this thought. Be an advocate for strong sibling relationships because this imparts to your children a gift that will last them a lifetime.
Meeting in the Middle When Parenting Ideas Conflict
Our children are some of the most important people in our lives, and we often feel passionate about the decisions we have made for them.
When you have pored over decisions involving your children, the most difficult thing is to compromise with another parent.
Whether you are married to your child’s other parent, co-parenting after a divorce, or in a set of completely different circumstances, these tips can help you work together in the best interest of your children regarding any decision that needs to be made.
Listen with Open Ears
You and your spouse or ex may be opposites in almost every area. However, you likely both care deeply about your child and can find some common ground because of this.
Be committed to listening to the other parent, and truly listen to what they have to say about the situation. They may be able to bring a complementary perspective to your way of thinking.
Consider What You Have in Common
When you are butting heads about parenting decisions, you need to take a step back and give yourselves both room to breathe. Consider what you have in common with your child’s other parent. You both have the responsibility for your child and a love for them that runs deeply. Think about these similarities and dwell on them rather than your differences.
Focus on Your Child’s Best Interest
No matter how different you and your child’s other parent are, neither of you is the focus at this time. Choose to focus on your child and only your child. Forget past hurts, stop bickering, and choose to keep your child’s interests first and foremost.
Leave Personal Issues Out of It
Perhaps your partner has made you angry recently, or maybe some second-hand gossip that started with your ex has been made known to you. Forget about these things because they will only get in the way of making an unbiased decision for your child. Leave your issues at the door and refuse to entertain any thoughts that deviate from your main purpose in the conversation.
Figure Out a System by Which to Make Decisions
It will be a long road if two opposite personalities try to agree on every single decision involved in the upbringing of a child. Perhaps you could take turns making decisions after each discussion, or maybe a particular parent could be assigned to a certain area of the child’s life that they are knowledgeable about.
Take into consideration your and the other parent’s strong points. Maybe one of you could be the key decision-maker in areas of health, and one is better with issues that may arise at school.
Discuss with a Neutral Third Party
When you feel like your child’s other parent drives you crazy, call a friend who gives good advice and is not involved in the situation. Ask what she thinks about the situation and see any truth in what the other parent is saying.
Sometimes it is not easy to acknowledge a good idea when it comes from someone who irritates us. An outside party can help us sift the good ideas from the bad.
Making decisions as a team doesn’t mean we should compromise what we feel is right. It does, however, mean that we must sometimes swallow our pride and see another perspective.
These tips will help you keep your focus and work together in your child’s best interest for whatever issue may arise.
Recognizing and Respecting Your Partner's Actions and Boundaries
Being in a romantic relationship has many wonderful moments and can be very fulfilling. It is not always easy, though, and sometimes requires a great deal of work.
It can be not easy to learn to read your partner’s signals, spoken and unspoken.
It is essential for a healthy relationship, however. Learning to recognize and respect your partner’s actions and boundaries is one of the most loving things you can do for them. Here is what you need to know about it.
When you disagree with your partner on any issue, it is far too easy to get into an argument about the matter. Choose to fight fair. Don’t call your partner’s character into question, as this is a major violation of boundaries. Stick to the topic at hand and don’t launch a verbal assault on the other party.
Know When to Offer Advice
Be intuitive to your partner and know when they are seeking advice or want a listening ear. Offering advice should only be done when requested and should be given in your partner’s best interest. Be sensitive with your advice and be careful not to infringe on their thought process when they need you to listen to them.
Respect Their Need for Alone Time
Even when they are in a relationship with someone they love and admire, the need for alone time is big for some individuals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person doesn’t like being around you; it’s simply a need that must be respected.
When you feel your partner is craving this kind of alone time, offer to take an evening off from each other to recharge.
Know When to Walk Away
When you are in an argument, and things are getting heated, know when to back off. If you understand your partner, you will realize when things are getting to where both of you will regret the words that might be said next. If your partner walks away or says the conversation is over, choose to take a break respectfully.
Be a Good Student of Body Language
There is no better way to learn your partner’s actions and boundaries than to become an observant student of their body language. Take note of how they act when they are pleased with the situation and when they are not. Know what signals to watch out for that would indicate they feel you have crossed the line. This will help you know how to support them fully.
Respect Their Words
No means no, and all other words have their meaning too. When your partner has said something to you, respect it. Never try to push your agenda to get your way.
This will only damage the relationship and cause your partner to lose respect for you. Respect your partner’s words in the same way you expect your words to be respected.
Relationships can be tricky things. There seem to be many rules to follow, and these rules can change from one day to the next.
However, one thing that never changes is the need that every human has to have their actions and boundaries respected by their partner.
Learn how to do this and to recognize them even before being said. This will show your partner you care and will make for a healthy relationship that lasts many years.
Tips for Successful Co-Parenting
Parenting is a joy and something we do simply because we love our children. In a perfect world, it would also be easy. Unfortunately, things can get complicated, especially when we co-parent our children with an ex we do not get along with.
There are, however, many tips you can put to use that will help you co-parent successfully and with as few problems as possible. Here is some wisdom to help you with this great task.
Work as a Team
It might not be easy to consider your ex as a teammate after all you have been through, but it must be done to be a successful parent. Put aside your differences and make decisions without letting yourself get sidetracked by your anger or disappointment in your ex.
Instead of thinking about the relationship the two of you had in the past, let it go and move towards thoughts of your child’s future and nothing else.
Don’t Get Involved Personally
Although you want to work as a team with your ex, resist trying to be best friends with them. This will only end in disappointment and awkwardness.
Treat your relationship with your ex as a type of business relationship… neither too distant nor too close. You want to be friendly with each other, but you must rebuild the relationship in a way that no one is prying into each other’s personal lives.
Keep Your Child’s Best Interests First and Foremost
Co-parenting is about your child. Keep that as a focal point, and you will be less likely to drift away from the purpose of this relationship. Consider your child only, and look at your ex as your child’s parent rather than your former partner.
Set Aside Interpersonal Conflicts
You might be fighting about a past affair or unable to agree on child support, but when it comes to co-parenting, forget about those disagreements. Stop fighting long enough to agree on every decision regarding your child. You will become better at this as time goes on.
Don’t Allow Your Child to Pit You against Each Other
Children are intelligent. When a child’s parents are bickering, whether the parents are married or not, children will most often use it to their advantage.
As much as you may despise your ex and their decisions, don’t let your child see this. Stay united in front of your child, and they will respect both of you more.
Set Communication Rules and Boundaries
It can be awkward to communicate with your ex, and some will abuse the ability to harass you with the excuse of co-parenting. Make decisions about how you will communicate. Decide whether it is acceptable to contact each other by phone, email, text, or a different way.
Agree on how long each party needs to wait before trying again if not answered immediately. Get it in writing and have each party sign it so that the boundaries will be clear to you both and anyone else who may get involved in the situation in the future.
Co-parenting has its challenges, but there are many ways to make it less complicated. Please keep your child as your focus, and create firm boundaries with their other parent.
You will be rewarded with a manageable co-parenting relationship that will help you care for the individuals you both love the most… the one thing you will always have in common.
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