Three Parenting Mistakes

Dr. Lickona, a developmental psychologist at the State University of New York at Cortland, wrote a blog that outlines what he views as the three most common parenting mistakes.

The first mistake is giving too much while expecting too little of your children. A Time Magazine and CNN poll found that two thirds of American parents think they are spoiling their children. In doing so, parents are unintentionally making their children self-centered and entitled. According to Dr. Lickona, a parent-child relationship should be give and take. Parents can achieve this by giving their children age-appropriate chores that they do with no rewards or payment attached (any allowance should be considered separately). Research finds that kids who have regular chores to contribute to family life develop greater concern for others within and beyond the family.

The second most common mistake parents make is being a friend rather than an authority figure to their children. There are generally three parenting styles: authoritarian (top-down, low on love with little use of reasoning), permissive (high on love but low on authority; kids rule the roost), and authoritative (combines high expectations with the confident exercise of authority) The authoritative parent is warm and utilizes reason to explain expectations to children. They value obedience, but are willing to give their children a fair opportunity to express viewpoints respectfully.

The third common mistake that parents make is not building an intentional family culture. Children's character is shaped by their home culture, and they carry this character into adulthood. According to Dr. Lickona, parents must work to minimize the media-driven, materialistic and hypersexualized influence of the world on their children.

Read Dr. Lickona's blog in Psychology Today to learn more.