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13 Ways to Be the Best (or Worst) Parent Ever

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13 Ways to Be the Best Parent Ever pin with a dog on it.

Do you want to be the best parent ever? It’s a lofty goal but not impossible. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to make sure you are not the worst parent ever.

You may wonder what I mean by this. This post can help you quit behaving in ways that are hurting your child so there are no ramifications years down the road.

Unfortunately, many parents don’t know their behavior is harmful until the damage is done. If you are doing these things, it is not too late to change. Kids are resilient. Heaven knows I have had a few failures that have been redeemed. 

Related: When You Feel Like You Have Failed as a Parent

In this post, I am going to help you be the best parent ever. But first, let make sure you are not the worst parent ever. Here is a list of 13 parenting strategies that may seem harmless at the time, but over the years it will add up to a deficit in your child’s character.

Let’s take a look and see if you are doing any of these harmful behaviors.

13 Parenting Mistakes That May Keep You From Being the Best Parent Ever

1. Make your child the center of the universe.

Everything in your home revolves around your child. He gets a separate meal made for him, he goes to bed when he feels like it, and he doesn’t have to do what he is told.

Whatever your child wants, he gets. You don’t hesitate to buy things for him constantly. You are wary of ever saying “no” because you don’t want to hear him cry or throw a tantrum.

He is the prince (or princess) and everyone tries to make him happy at all costs. If you make your children the center of the universe you will have a self-centered child one day. It’s not worth it.

What to do: Your child is a welcome member of your family, but God and your marriage come before your kids. By the way, you are not the maid or short order cook. Your goal is to lovingly train your child to be godly. Sometimes that means tough love.

Related: How to Get a Picky Eater to Eat Everything

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

 Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

2. Don’t teach empathy

Don’t ever let your child know how his behavior affects others. He doesn’t need to say “I’m sorry.” Or learn how to read other people’s emotions and facial expressions. It is all about his feelings. No one else’s feelings matter.

When it comes to poverty, make sure you shelter him from seeing how others live. Whatever you do, don’t ever let him volunteer or go on a mission trip when he gets older. It is too dangerous, and he could be upset.

What to do: Teach empathy. Have your kids pray for missionaries, friends, or family that may be hurting. Have them volunteer or go on a mission trip before they graduate from high school.

Related: Mission Trip: How Bad is it at the Texas-Mexico Border?

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13 Ways to Be the Best (or Worst) Parent Ever. pin with 3 children walking on the beach.3. Allow laziness

Don’t make your child work. Don’t ever give chores and, by all means, don’t let him get a summer job. Make sure he sits around all day playing video games, watching TV, and having friends over.

Let him make a mess and not clean up after himself. It is too much work to clean up.

Bad grades are no big deal. He doesn’t need to study or make an effort to be successful. He is probably going to live at home forever anyways. If you choose to allow laziness, you will have a lazy child. Pretty simple.

What to do: Make sure your kids learn how to clean up, return things in good condition, and work hard. Teach delayed gratification. This will make you one of the best parents ever.

Related: The Best Way to Change Your Teen

4. Don’t give consequences for bad choices

Don’t punish your child when she misbehaves. It might hurt her self-image or make her feel inferior. And don’t ever be angry with her because it could make her not like you. You are her friend. She doesn’t need a mom.

Don’t forget that she is innately good. She doesn’t really mean it if she is rude or acts sassy. If she is disobedient at school, make sure you get her out of her punishment. You don’t want her to learn anything from her mistakes.

If she breaks something, you don’t need to make her repair it or pay for what is broken. And most of all, she never needs to go back and make amends for wrongs committed.

What to do: Your child needs consequences for bad choices. Let the punishment fit the crime. Example: the child pays the fine for an overdue book. Don’t save your child from learning a lesson on a small level. It is better than learning it on a big level.

Related: Teen Entitlement: 3 Areas of Conflict with your Teen in High School

5. Be a hypocrite

Live by the motto, “Do what I say, not what I do.” It doesn’t matter what you do because you are the adult. You can act however you want because you are the boss.

Your kids are not watching you or learning anything from your actions or behavior. You have a different standard than they do because you are the god of the household.

What to do: How you behave matters. Your kids are watching you whether you like it or not. In fact, they are more likely to follow what you do than what you say. If you want your kids to respect who you are as a person, practice what you preach.

Related: How to Get to Your Child’s Heart

6. Allow disrespect or rudeness

It is okay if your child says something disrespectful to you. Let him scream at you, threaten, or push you around.

If he is rude, ignore it. He is just telling you how he feels. He doesn’t need to adjust his attitude. Having a bad attitude is tough and cool, In fact, a bad attitude will take him far in life. Ever met a child like this??

What to do: Don’t allow disrespect. Plain and simple. If he does it to you, he will do it to his teachers, his boss, and the law. Allow your child an avenue to respectfully disagree and/or ask for reconsideration as he gets older. (This can be abused so keep it in balance.) You want a household that is firm but loving.

Related: Raising Boys: The Most Important Thing to do as a Parent

7. Don’t pray for your child

You don’t need any help from God. It is useless to pray for your child to have wisdom, protection from harm, or help in times of trouble.

You have got this. God can’t help because He doesn’t really exist. Or even if He does exist, He doesn’t know or understand your child or his needs. God is irrelevant to you and your family. Let me tell you, this type of self-reliance will mess up your kids. This is one of the worst parenting mistakes you can ever make. 

What to do: Pray for your child daily. Pray for wisdom on how to raise him. You can also pray for favor, protection, godly friends, etc. This is one of the best ways to be the best parent ever.

Related: How to Pray for Your Children

8. Don’t teach any morals or values

The Bible is nonsense. It is an old book that doesn’t really fit into today’s world. Things have changed. The Ten Commandments are just suggestions for people who need a crutch.

Go by what you feel is right. There are no absolute truths. You are your own truth. In fact, you are your own god. It pains me to even type this! But oh, how I have seen this over and over. 

What to do: Teach your child the difference between right and wrong. Read the Bible out loud, Encourage a quiet time with God. Remember, character training is just as important as school work.

Related: 9 Character Qualities Your Child Needs to be Successful at School

9. Don’t get involved in church or youth group

Going to church or youth group is a big waste of time and boring. In fact, sports are more important on the weekends than any church service.

Your child could be a professional athlete someday. It is all about the big game and winning. You don’t have time to sing and hear some guy talk about how to be good. There are a bunch of hypocrites at church anyways.

What to do: Get your kids to church! And help them find a youth group/bible study they enjoy going to every week. (Preferably at your church, but whatever works.) They need to be in the Word of God. This will help you to be the best parent ever.

Related: Have You Become the Church Lady? 8 Ways We Judge Others

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13 Ways to Be the Best Parent Ever pin with flowers

10. Don’t develop a relationship with your child.

Children should be seen and not heard. You don’t have time to play with your kids, do fun activities, or make some great memories together as a family. And don’t eat any meals together. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Forget being involved in his life or attending any of his extracurricular activities. Your child is there to serve you. He comes to your world, you don’t go to his. Your life is way more important.

What to do: Spend time with your child. Go to his games, help him with homework, stop and listen when he is talking. Be there for him. You can have a great relationship and not be a buddy. Your role is to be a sounding board, cheerleader, and wise guide through life.

Related: How to Create Family Memories with a Crazy Schedule

11. Act in a severe way.

Have lots of rules that don’t make sense. Yell and threaten when you are angry because this is the only way you are going to get her attention. Act severely without grace.

Make sure you are abusive with your words and actions. Cut her to the core. Show her who is boss.

Make her terrified of you. It is your way or the highway. Don’t listen to the circumstances or understand the context of a situation. You don’t have time for that nonsense.

What to do: Respect your child as another person. Treat him like you would want to be treated. You can enforce the house rules without destroying her spirit. Use positive parenting such as praise to help reinforce good behavior. Enforce consequences for bad choices without losing control of yourself.

Related: Do You Yell at Your Children?

12. Don’t have boundaries.

Anything goes in your house. Make sure everyone is having fun all the time. Rules are boring and restrictive.

Experiment.

Just as long as your child is at your house, you have control over the situation. Drugs, sex, and alcohol are okay in moderation.

Respect for other people’s space or things is not important either. You just take and use what you want without asking. You don’t need boundaries or any type of guidelines for good behavior.

What to do: Make sure your child understands your expectations. You need some basic house rules. Your child needs a parent, not another buddy. Teach boundaries. Respect and enforce them.

Related: Why I Teach My Kid to Wait Until Marriage

13. Allow pride and arrogance

Your child does not need to be teachable. He is the smartest or most popular kid around. No one is going to tell him what to do.

He doesn’t need some stupid teacher to make his life miserable. He knows best and doesn’t need others to speak into his life to make him a better person.

What to do: If your child is teachable, he will learn not just academically but also spiritually. He will gain wisdom. People like working with someone who has a good attitude, smart, and has wisdom about life

Related: How to Raise a Smart Child Who is Wise

Here is a video from Dr. James Dobson. He has a few words on how to effectively help you be the best parent ever. You can do these things! It’s not hard.

How to Be the Best Parent Ever

If you do any of these 13 things then work on changing it immediately. As a parent, you have the power to make your family life better and be the best parent ever.

These 13 things will give you a good place to start a conversation. Most parents truly want to do things right. No one really wants to be the worst parent ever!

For more help, check out this article: 25 Thing You Must do to be a Good Parent

Book on Family Estrangement from a Biblical Point of View

Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Parenting and Family. This is a place for moms with preschool age kids or older to talk about their struggles with parenting, family life, education, or marriage. You will find biblically based advise from other moms who want to raise godly kids.

Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.

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46 Comments

  1. Rikki Ridgeway on November 1, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Oh good, by this list I am not screwing up my daughter. Some parents need some harsh and tough love. I just naturally thought all of these were common sense to parents, but I guess I am wrong in thinking parents should be responsible.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      Rikki, go figure! You would think these are common sense things, right? As a teacher, I have seen some really sad situations. Kids neglected, abused, abandoned, etc. It is heartbreaking. There are lots of ways to screw up your kids. But God can redeem any situation. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Berlin on October 31, 2018 at 6:57 am

    I always want to read pieces of advice like this, showing the exact opposite.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      Berlin, it is kind of fun to write a post on the opposite of what you should do. It tends to get people’s attention. It is sad there are many ways to screw up your kids. Hopefully, none of these scenarios fit my readers!

  3. Wendy Polisi on October 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    It seems like this is pretty common place, but you would be surprised! Raising kids takes a lot of planning and responsibility.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Wendy, it is hard to raise kids. I definitely stayed on my knees. Still do, actually. There are so many ways to screw up your children. I definitely don’t want to be responsible for doing any of these. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Heather on October 30, 2018 at 12:22 am

    These are great! Empowering your child to understand consequences and responsibility is the best thing you can do.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      Heather, I think that is one of the best ways to screw up your children. Not giving them responsibility and consequences. They need it to learn how to manage life in the real world. Thanks for your comment.

  5. David Elliott on October 29, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I do think we need to try not to be hypocrites to our children. But that comes with the understanding that we will fail and we will not always live up to our own values because we are broken fallen creatures. Knowing God’s love is still there for us, and that he loves us despite our faults is an equally important lesson.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:28 pm

      David, this is so true. We do things that are not good parenting. I think it is important to model good behavior and ask for forgiveness when you do something wrong. This will help kids to see you can make mistakes and move on. No one wants to screw up their children. Sometimes it just happens.

  6. Eric kay on October 29, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    It’s refreshing reading posts from a religious perspective. It seems like everyone is so anti church and faith latley

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:30 pm

      Eric, you definitely hit a blog about God and raising godly children. I think there are a lot of people who screw up their children because they don’t allow God to be Lord of their life and family. There is no plumb line or truth. It is all relative. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Yuli Armstrong on October 29, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Very good points there:) I suppose it serves to remind some of us of what may seem like common sense ??

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      Yuli, yes, these are commonsense parenting tactics. Unfortunately, a lot of parents still screw up their children because they don’t know how to be a godly parent. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Alejandra Graf on October 28, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Teri on October 26, 2018 at 10:59 am

    First of all, great title! It really got my attention and spoke to me as a mom. 🙂 I’m pinning to share. I was inspired by this list.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Terri, thanks for pinning this. I love writing topics about what not to do as a parent. It is fun. Thanks for reading.

  10. Andrea on October 26, 2018 at 7:35 am

    As parents we are bound to make a few mistakes, but there is no excuse for not working hard to teach your kids right from wrong. Love this list; being a parent is the toughest job there is, and while it is fulfilling you can never stop working at it!

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      Andrea, thanks for your sweet comment. We do make mistakes, but part of good parenting is apologizing when wrong and making changes. I don’t think parents realize how they screw up their kids until it is done. Many times it is too late.

  11. tren on October 25, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Love this! I use to facilitate a parenting course using an evidenced-based curriculum…many of the points above were discussed during my time interacting with parents.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:37 pm

      Tren, I am so glad you validated my points. There are many ways to screw up your children, but if you pray, there is a good chance of getting things right.

  12. Molly on October 25, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    These are great points! I don’t have kids of my own, but I know my mom would agree with you on these!

    Molly // Miss Molly Moon

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Tren, I am so glad you validated my points. There are many ways to screw up your children, but if you pray, there is a good chance of getting things right.

  13. Maegan on October 25, 2018 at 9:39 am

    The hypocrite one really stood out to me. I’d like to be a better example of processing emotions and stress in a healthy way to match the expectations and teaching I try to give to my children. Great list!

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      Maegan, I am glad that you have thought about the way you are parenting. It is easy to slip down a slope and not realize where you are until you have been there a while. Good job examing yourself. No one wants to screw up their children. Sometimes it just happens when we aren’t looking.

  14. Victoria with One Sharp Mamam on October 25, 2018 at 9:09 am

    These are great things to keep in mind as I raise my daughters. I just had our second this week. I especially love the tip on teaching empathy

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:44 pm

      Victoria, congratulations. I pray you will have great wisdom as you raise your children. Thanks for reading about ways you can screw up your children.

  15. Colleen on October 24, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Oh man. It’s hilarious how obvious all of these are when you read them as you’ve written them. It sounds so ridiculous to ever do any of these things! Parents everywhere should read your list and do a bit of self-reflection.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks, Colleen. I hope this gets people’s attention. I wanted them to learn what not to do. No one wants to screw up their children. It just happens over time. Thanks for reading.

  16. Colleen on October 24, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    What great reminders. Life can get crazy when we all try to keep on with “The Jones”…we must remember to raise our kids in ways that make them into successful, independent, kind adults and not worry about making sure they have the newest and best of everything or that their life is free of sadness.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      Colleen, it is so easy to give kids everything they want because we think that is love. Love can’t be bought. It is important to take care of needs and some wants, but not forgo hard work and responsibility. No one wants to screw up their kids. It happens slowly, one decision at a time.

  17. Marette on October 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I am so grateful to read these reminders. We always try to teach my oldest daughter empathy and to include other children, and we wonder sometimes if it is resonating. I also completely agree about not making separate meals!

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      I am so glad this was a helpful post. I know! The separate meals. I have been known to do that, but I stopped! Not a short order cook. Thanks for reading.

  18. Jordan on October 24, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Being a hypocrite is a big one I need to focus on! It’s so easy to just explain things away as “Because I said so” but taking the time to explain why rules are different or taking the time to avoid the things I tell my kids not to do can go a long way!

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Oh, yeah, I know that it is hard to be a good role model all the time. And kids don’t always have the same rules as adults. Alcohol being a big one. Thanks for reading this!

  19. susie liberatore on October 24, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Your title def had me like oh boy where is this going. but I really enjoyed this post and the truth behind it all. So much of this is true, phew glad I can relate.

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Ha ha! Did you think you might be screwing up your kids? These are pretty common sense things. I like to throw people off a bit and make them think out of the box. Thanks for reading.

  20. Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles on October 24, 2018 at 8:57 am

    these are some great eye openers for parents to read, sometimes things are allowed that can have some severe ramifications in a child’s life.

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, sometimes we don’t realize we are doing things that may turn bad later on. I know a few people who have been caught by surprise when their kids were a mess as an adult. Thanks for reading.

  21. April on October 24, 2018 at 8:03 am

    This is great!! You nailed it!! Not praying for them, not giving consequences, making them the center!! Oh how people are making a generation of disrespectful and entitled teens and young adults!! Bring back the Bible. I literally commend you for speaking truth!!

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks, April. I am trying to help moms see that they can do things in a way that will have great results later on. They don’t have to go the way of the child-centered parenting philosophy of the world. Thanks for reading.

  22. Hazel on October 24, 2018 at 7:31 am

    As someone’s child, I really appreciate this post. These are very important guidelines especially during the early years. Thank you for sharing this with us. I do pray this will reach plenty of parents out there! ❤️

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Hazel, thanks so much. I am so glad there are some people who still believe in values. And yes, they are needed early in a child’s life. Thanks for reading.

  23. Carli Roberts on October 24, 2018 at 7:28 am

    My goodness, I could just hug you for writing this. I see so many parents now who coddle their kids so much. I do it to a degree myself too, but I know this is not doing my daughter any favors. Our jobs as parents is to teach our children to be autonomous people that can make good decisions when they get older. Of course and love them (hard) too. It is not our job to be our children’s friend.

    • Julie Plagens on October 24, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      I know. I have had some coddling moments, too. It is so hard to be the adult sometimes. I love my kids but I know that catering to them will not make them ready for the real world. I hate saying “no.” I feel like such a bad guy when I do it. But I do it because I love them. I try to make a bunch of great moments in between the “no’s.” Thanks for reading.

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