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4 Ways I'm Ruining My Kid

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Every mom has some level of fear that her parenting choices might ruin her kids. I often wonder if I’m guilty of helping raise yet another member of the pacifier generation. Here are four reasons why:

RELATED: Parenting Rules You Can Break

1. Catering to Wants Versus Needs

My husband and I were puttering around the house while our 2.5-year-old played quietly in another room. Suddenly, his squeaky little voice pierced through the air:

“Mom-mee! Dad-dee! Teddy Grahams!”

We practically crashed into each other racing to get his snack. That’s when we realized we were taking the term “child care” a little too literally.

The first year of parenting means tending to the baby’s needs as quickly as possible. Learning to anticipate those needs before the baby cries practically becomes a badge of honor.

Come toddlerhood, those needs turn into wants, and very quickly, evolve into demands. Somehow we forgot to give our son the memo that he’s now capable of getting off his little butt and asking us, politely, to get what he wants.

Are we on the path toward spoiled entitlement? Let’s just say we’re all a work in progress.

2. I Don’t Enjoy Playing With Him

I like watching him play. But actually sitting on the floor stacking Legos and racing cars? Not so much.

By forcing myself to play I end up resenting our time together, watching the clock or sneaking looks at my phone. So I finally gave myself permission to do things on my terms.

I figured out that we can have a good time when I’m cooking and he’s playing with his train set on the kitchen floor. He loves when I run with his stroller, so I get in a decent workout while we’re outside together. And running errands is so much more fun when there’s a little person along for the ride.

Maybe I’ll regret not participating more in his imaginary garbage truck races. But hopefully all the other memories make up for it.

I have a hard time believing that one size fits all in child development.

3. Screen Time, Anytime

You know all those things you said you’d never do before becoming a parent? The "TV as a babysitter" is one of mine.

It started off innocently enough. When he was a newborn, breast-feeding and TV went hand-in-hand. As a baby, he was too absorbed with examining his own feet to pay attention to the TV in the background.

Over time, it became an easy crutch. I’m a working mom, and TV means guaranteed free time for me to get my stuff done. We praise the iPad as the foundation for him learning letters, animals and songs. Screen time is our cue to get him to sit down and eat or simply to settle down after a long spazz-out session.

On most days it seems innocuous. He might watch a few minutes and then toddle over to his toys, with Pingu still squawking in the background. Other days it’s insidious, when he demands entertainment seconds after waking up, followed by tantrums and tears if we say no.

I know there are studies out there about the effects of screen time on little kids, but I have a hard time believing that one size fits all in child development. So on this one, I’m hedging my bets.

RELATED: Why I Gave My Kid More Screen Time

4. Letting School Do the Dirty Work

Since starting preschool at age 2, my son has mastered the alphabet, embraces the concept of clean-up time, and says “thank you” at appropriate times.

I'm pretty confident none of these things would have happened so quickly if we were in charge. Sure, I believe parents should be involved in their kids’ education, but right now I’m just grateful to have the help.

Now, if they could handle potty training for us, we’ll be all set.

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