When it comes to parenting, none of us really knows what we’re doing.
We muddle through day by day, doing the best we can, and hope we’re not messing our kids up for life.
We all make mistakes. It’s part of life. It’s how we learn and grow. It’s how we perfect our A-game. We live and learn, and sometimes, we get a funny story to tell in the process. Hey, nobody’s perfect!
It’s all very well reading blogs and books, and knowing the theory behind how to be a perfect parent, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do in practice.
Bad Parenting Ideas That Seemed Like A Great Idea
Here are seven really rubbish parenting ideas that seemed like a great idea at the time:
#1: Letting Them Eat In The Car
Is there anything worse than long car journeys with children?
Well, yes, actually. Cleaning the car after long car journeys with children.
The entire backseat of your car is now covered with squished together raisins, there’s a carpet of mouldy blueberries, and the back windows are coated in sticky handprints.
The snacks definitely distracted them from the misery of the car journey – for about three minutes – but was it really worth the cost of having your car professionally cleaned? Not to mention the shame of having the car cleaner see how filthy your car was.
#2: Letting Them Stay Up Late For A Special Occasion
Sometimes, exciting things happen after bedtime. And, for the most part, your kids miss out on the festivities.
But every so often, something comes around that they don’t want to miss. So you think to yourself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and agree to let them stay up late and join in with the grown ups. You will regret this decision.
There is a reason why children have a bedtime, and it’s not because they get tired. It’s because, like Gremlins, they turn into unruly monsters after dark. They scream, they cry, they hit, they run, and they take over whole office building (that last one might just refer to actual Gremlins). Your well-behaved children will be nowhere to be seen at night, and you’ll spend the whole event chasing after Gremlins.
Don’t think you’ll get a lie-in the next day, either. They might have stayed up four hours past their usual bedtime, but they will still be up at the crack of dawn. And then they’ll spend the whole day grumpy, overtired and emotional.
Now ask yourself again, ‘Was it worth it?’
#3: Using TV As A Babysitter
Sometimes, you just need fifteen minutes to yourself. You might want to clean the bathroom, finish some work, do your hair, or just sit in a quiet room.
You don’t need to justify it. You deserve a few minutes to yourself every now and again.
Sometimes it can be tempting to switch the TV on for them. After all, they’re more likely to be entertained by the TV. If you get the Lego out, they’ll come to find you after three minutes because they need help, or they want to show you what they’ve done. The TV is a more reliable option, but it does have its downsides.
Have you ever tried switching the TV off, when you want to? Don’t bother. That’s not allowed. The kids are engrossed now. They want to finish the episode, or the series. They want to keep watching, just a bit longer. And they’re going to get mad when you say it’s time to turn it off. And don’t expect them to be polite about it.
#4: Distracting Them With Stickers
After the hoo-hah last time you used the TV as a babysitter, you might think stickers seem like a safer option.
There won’t be any fighting over the remote, and they’re less likely to throw a tantrum when you say it’s time to stop playing with them. So, stickers it is. Here’s a good heavy sticker book filled with page after page of glorious stickers. ‘That’ll keep them busy for a while’, you think smugly to yourself, while drinking a cup of hot tea, alone in the kitchen.
And not only does it keep them busy, it keeps them quiet as well. That has to be a good thing, right? Actually, no.
Silence is never good when you have kids. In this instance, it probably means your entire living room, and everything in it, are completely covered in stickers. The door, the light fitting, the television will all be decorated with Moana stickers.
Not such a good idea after all, was it?
#5: The False Threat You Had To Stick To
Don’t make threats. Threats are not a good addition to your parenting toolbox.
And, worst of all, you actually have to follow through with them.
Even the gentlest, most loving parent unwittingly utters the odd threat in the heat of the moment. You’re sleep deprived, stressed, and running late and, all of a sudden, you hear yourself make a ridiculous threat you won’t want to follow through with, when the anger clears. But, you have to. And that sucks for everyone involved.
Get ready to feel like the world’s most wicked witch, because you’re about to become one unpopular mama. And you can say it’s a punishment or that you ‘had’ to do it, but you’re unlikely to convince anyone, because you don’t even believe it yourself.
Dessert is a weird concept, isn’t it? Why would you want to load yourself up on sugar just before bed?
Or, more to the point, why the heck would you want to load your children up on sugar right before bed?
It’s a terrible idea. But dessert tastes good, and baking is fun. So, every so often, you all sit down and enjoy it together. You spend the afternoon baking, and allow your kids to get their hands dirty as they help you make a tasty crumble. You serve it with ice-cream or custard, or both.
You figure a treat every now and again won’t do anyone any harm. And the kids love it, so what’s the problem?
The problem is bedtime.
Yep, that thing that should be happening any minute only now. Except now you have a house filled with overexcited children bouncing off the walls, thanks to the sugar high you just gave them. Good work, mama!
#7: Not Bothering To Parent
It’s all a bit much sometimes, isn’t it? Being a parent. It’s just so… endless.
You’re always nagging at people and picking up toys and trying to impart wisdom. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting. You haven’t slept properly for weeks, and you’ve got that big thing at work looming. You’re preoccupied with how your depressed friend is feeling…. and, well, sometimes you can’t really be bothered to parent.
You can’t remind your kids not to draw on the furniture, or to use their manners or make their own beds. You’re too tired. ‘Let it slide, just for today’, you think, ‘that won’t matter’.
But it does. It confuses them. It blurs the boundaries and leaves them unsure of the rules. Get ready for a rebellion because one is heading your way.
Recommended Reading: 10 Funniest Parenting Cartoons.