Everyone sets out to be the perfect parent. From the first moment you hold your baby on the day they’re born, you tell yourself you’ll do everything right for your child.
And then you immediately manage to screw something up.
Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you – that’s just how it goes. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world other than like, underwater welding. While you’re going to do most things right, there are bound to be some mistakes along the way. From the time they are born until they move out of your house, your child is going to force you to make decision after decision. Unfortunately, some of those decisions are going to be wrong, despite your best intentions.
So, what kind of things are you sure to do wrong at one point or another? The following list includes 25 stupid mistakes that are made at least once by nearly every new parent.
1. Putting a Diaper On Incorrectly
You are going to change a lot – a lot – of diapers. Some of them will be just a bit wet, and your child will be cooperating, and it will be no problem at all. Some of them, however, will be a nightmare. There will be a seriously eye-watering stink coming from the dirty diaper, your child will want nothing to do with wearing the new one, and panic will set in. This is when mistakes are going to be made.
Don’t feel too bad – it happens to everybody at least once.
2. Waking Up the Baby
One of the first rules you learn as a new parent is this: don’t wake a sleeping baby! Only when you have had to go through the difficulties that come along with getting a small child to sleep can you understand how important it is to keep that child asleep once they finally settle in.
Unfortunately, there are many ways you can go wrong on this point. For instance, once you get the child to sleep and you lay them carefully in their crib, you may kick a toy on the way out of the room – setting off a rattling noise that puts you right back at square one. AHHHH!
3. Expecting Perfection
In your eyes, your child is going to be perfect. However, in reality, they aren’t perfect – and that’s okay as well. Your child might take a bit longer than expected to walk, or talk, or do just about anything else.
Don’t allow yourself to be a slave to expectations when it comes to your kids. Enjoy their successes and appreciate the little things along the way, regardless of the timeline you had in mind for their progress.
One of the biggest mistakes you are going to make – and you will make it – is being inconsistent from day to day in terms of your discipline and expectations. Depending on your mood, you might have more patience some days rather than others, and that will show in how you respond to your child. Remember, they are going to be learning from your decisions, so consistency is something to strive for.
5. Being Stuck in Your Ways
Parents quickly learn that they aren’t always in as much control of the situation as they’d like to be. Even if you have ideas that you think are good for your children, it is a mistake to not adjust them on the fly if they aren’t working. Good leadership is about adapting, so good parents have to be willing to make changes on the go for the best interest of the child.
6. Being Overprotective
This is a classic parenting mistake, as it is one that comes from a place of love and care. You want the best for your child, so you don’t want to see them struggle or fail. However, struggles and failure are an inevitable part of life, and learning those lessons early on can be valuable. Letting your child explore safely while struggling with some little things may help them grow up and learn self-sufficiency.
7. Failing to Follow Through
Another typical parenting mistake, this is one that can come back to bite you for years. If you are constantly threatening your child with punishment – punishment that never comes – they are quickly going to learn that they can safely ignore your warnings.
Following through on your word gives you credibility, and you need as much of that as you can get as a parent.
8. Constant Comparisons
Even if you don’t mean anything by it, comparing other children to your own is a game that can lead to seriously damaged feelings and animosity down the line. There is no point to comparing other people’s kids to your own – all children are unique. It will be easy for your child to become bitter and jealous if you are always talking about how great someone else is.
9. Allowing Your Kid to Cause Trouble in Public
At some point, you are going to run into an embarrassing situation when your child gets a little out of control in a public place. Kids aren’t as worried about being embarrassed as adults, so they don’t tend to filter themselves when around other people. Don’t worry – everyone who is a parent will understand, as all children act out in public from time to time.
10. Losing Your Temper
There are a lot of frustrating and trying moments that you will go through as a parent, but it is your job to keep your temper in check as much as possible. Getting angry is never going to help the situation, but it will cause you to make decisions you aren’t proud of.
Any time you start to get angry with your child or with the situation, take a deep breath and step back before deciding how to proceed.
11. Projecting Your Insecurities
You might be tempted to assume that your child has the same insecurities that you do, but that is often not the case. Remember, even though they look like you and have some of your traits, they are their own person. No two people are exactly alike, even within the same family.
Let your child be his or her own person, free from your insecurities and expectations of the world.
12. Paying Attention to One Child More Than Another
It can be difficult to spread your time and attention around when you have multiple children, but that is exactly what you need to do. Give all of your kids the love and affection they deserve, and make them all feel important. You might not be perfect at this point every time, but do your best to keep things balanced and equal.
13. Making Plans When You Have Young Children
So, you think you are going to plan out an entire vacation with a young child? Ummm – think again. You can try to plan out your daily activities on a trip, or even at home, but your child is going to have more to say about what you do than you will. Flexibility is a theme in parenting, and it certainly applies with regard to trying to plan activities.
14. Worshipping Your Child
This is a point that is easy to misconstrue. Of course you are going to love your kids, and of course you are going to be proud of many of the things that they do. However, you don’t want to take that too far.
If you worship your children – treating them as though they can do no wrong – you will be setting them up for failure. Your kids are not going to be worshipped by others in the ‘real world’, so don’t set up that expectation for them early on.
15. Being Competitive With Other Parents
Don’t play this game. There is no reason to compete with other parents for some sort of imaginary parenting trophy. There will be no awards handed out down the line based on whose children got the best grades, or got into the best schools. Love your kids for what they are, and let other parents do the same. You will be much happier in the end.
16. Buying Tons of Stuff – In Infant Size
Yes – your child is absolutely adorable when they are first born. Yes – you want to buy them everything under the sun, even if that means doing some damage to your credit card along the way. There is only one problem with this plan – they are going to grow!
That cute little infant is soon going to be a growing toddler, with expanding measurements from head to toe. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, your little baby isn’t going to be that little for long. Do your bank account a favor and avoid going overboard when shopping in the infant department.
17. Cutting More Than a Fingernail
Clipping your child’s fingernails seems like an innocent and simple task – until you actually try it. Attempting to cut the fingernail of a small child is like playing darts in the dark…while jumping on a trampoline. Babies don’t hold still, and they certainly don’t take commands.
With that said, there is a good chance that you may cut more finger than fingernail when giving this a try for the first time. Be careful, be patient, and don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a little mistake.
18. Not Having a Backup Plan
Put your baby into that cute new outfit for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house? Great – just don’t plan on them wearing it for long.
Babies are clothes destroying machines, and they somehow know when you didn’t remember to pack any extra clothes for the day. That bag you carry around all day might be called a diaper bag, but it really should be called a portable closet, because it needs to be filled with plenty of extra pants and shirts.
19. Tossing a Full Stomach
For a new parent, there is little that is quite as fun as tossing your little one up in the air while sitting on the couch or on the bed (safely, of course). Seeing them smile and hearing them giggle is addictive, to be sure.
Fun as it may be, you might want to treat this activity like swimming – in other words, wait an hour after eating. If you decide to toss your little one around shortly after a meal, there is a good chance that you will be seeing the meal once again.
20. Leaving Yourself Open
When you change the diaper on a baby boy, you will need to lean in close in front of them in order to secure the new diaper. Of course, this means that you will be putting yourself directly into the ‘line of fire’, if you know what I mean. And you do.
Unless you want to get an unexpected shower, use a wipe or a small towel to guard yourself until the diaper change is complete.
21. Turning Down Help
As a new parent, you should know one thing for sure, and it is the answer to this question: “Would you like some help?”
Yes – the answer is always yes. It doesn’t even really matter what someone is offering to do, you just say yes and figure it out later. There is a ton of work that goes into raising a young child, and any help that you are offered should be accepted with open arms.
22. Staying Up
So, your baby is finally asleep. What are you doing? Sleeping, of course!
If you aren’t sleeping within roughly five seconds of your baby falling asleep, you are doing something wrong. Those sleeping hours (or minutes, or seconds) are precious, and you need to take advantage of them as fully as possible. You aren’t being “lame” for going to bed as soon as your kid falls asleep – you are just being smart.
23. The Bump on the Head
Of course, you want to protect your baby as completely as possible. You never want any physical harm to come their way, and you certainly don’t want it to be your fault.
Despite your best efforts, however, it is going to happen. It just is. Your baby will bump their head from time to time, and sometimes, it will be because you did something stupid. Most likely, this little bump will take place the day before a checkup at the doctor’s office, so you will get to explain yourself to a medical professional.
24. Shoes on the Wrong Feet
This one is actually pretty funny, mostly because it is so harmless. It is difficult to get many kids to even agree to wear shoes at all, so you might be in such a hurry to get them on that you fail to negotiate the left and right issue successfully.
Sure, having shoes on the wrong feet might make walking a bit more challenging, but this is a mistake that can go down as a harmless chuckle.
25. Incorrect Bottle Assembly Procedure
If you have never before assembled a child’s bottle for feeding time, you might assume that it is an easy task. And it is – assuming you are experienced in other easy tasks, like launching a rocket or rebuilding a transmission.
Somehow, modern baby bottles have reached a level of shocking complication, meaning that you will have yet another chance to feel like an idiot as a parent. Enjoy!