25 Things Parents Should Not Do

No one ever said Parenting was easy! As Lionel Kauffman once said, “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster, too”.  We’ve done a bit of collective soul searching here at Mykidstime HQ, and come up with 25 Things Parents Should Not Do. Now if we could only try to stick to it!

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1. Don’t forget to tell them you love them

We so often get caught up in the daily routine, that we forget to tell our children, regularly, that we love them. You are at no risk of spoiling your kids, by telling them you love them, as spoiling is usually the result of giving kids things in place of love.

2. Don’t criticise the child, just the behaviour

Easier said than done, we know, and this may require some serious self-control, but try focus on the behavior instead. When your child acts up, rather than telling them they are bad, tell them their behavior is unacceptable and suggest alternatives.

worried child3. Don’t be afraid to say “No”

Children benefit from structure and routine. Don’t be afraid to say No and mean it, even if it results in hours of sulking/whining. They will soon understand that when Mum or Dad say No, they mean it!

You may also like Proven Tips on How to Say No to Your Child

4. Don’t compare

Hard not to do, but try not compare your children to their peers, and more importantly their siblings.

5. Don’t publicly humiliate

Tough not to do, if your toddler decides to have an almighty melt-down in the biscuit aisle of the supermarket, we know! However, better for all, that if they misbehave in public, you take them aside, and scold them privately.

Recommended Read: Tips for Avoiding Supermarket Meltdowns

6. Don’t be too quick to rescue them

Don’t be too quick to rescue their child from the results of their own actions if the consequences are not severe/dangerous. It’s how they learn!

hug7. Don’t forget to hug them

We all love a hug, and even as your child gets older, it’s important to make some time regularly for hugs and cuddles!

You may also like 10 Positive Parenting Tips Every New Parent Should Know

8. Don’t ever stop listening

In our busy worlds, full of noise, and electronics, need to remember to keep listening. They might be telling you something very important!

You may also like 8 Top Tips for Positive Parenting

9. Don’t invade their privacy

Just as us parents like our privacy, so too do your kids – give them space and respect their privacy.

Recommended Read: Things To Tell Your Teenager

10. Don’t fail to give structure

It’s important to set boundaries about screentime and bedtime and curfew so that kids know the limitations.

You may also like Screentime: How Much is Too Much & 7 Tips for Managing Screen Time

child and parent at piano11. Don’t forget to spend time with them

Don’t forget to spend time individually with your child.

We get caught up in busy family life and sometimes taking an hour with your child alone to do something nice together is a great tonic for both of you.

12. Don’t give them too much choice

Try and limit their choices – particularly important with younger kids, as they find it too hard to pick one.

13. Don’t always do things for them

Oh, we know – this is a tough one – the urge to just do it instead, as we will be faster! However. resist the urge to do things for them/save them from a “fall”. Sometimes you just need to back off. This helps them prepare for life, instead of you protecting them from it all the time.

You may also like Parenting Tips: How To Deal with Teenagers

14. Don’t avoid having hard discussions

Don’t avoid discussing issues such as drinking and drugs and sex. Make it clear to them that you are there to listen any time they need you.

You may also like Alcohol and Teenagers & Useful Tips for Talking to your Teen about Drugs

7 tips for giving child independence header15. Don’t always make decisions for them

Don’t make decisions for them all the time.

Yes, we know Mum and Dad are always right, but they need to learn to think for themselves and to live with the consequences of their decision.

16. Don’t be afraid to be the parent

You can be their friend, but never let them forget you are their parent. That is what they need most.

Recommended Read: Important Things to Tell Your Tween

17. Don’t push them into too many activities

Don’t push your child into too many activities. School life is busy enough and sometimes play time is all they need.

18. Don’t compare yourself to other parents

It’s hard being a parent, and it’s even harder still when we compare ourselves to other parents, that we perceive are doing a better job than us! Go easy on yourself and trust your instincts – you know your kids best!

You may also like Things I Wish I Had Known

unhappy-teen-parents-fighting_019. Don’t lose your cool

Another tough one, we know, but one to which we would all like to aspire!

Most children respond better to a calm, reasonable request or command. Save yelling for emergency situations when you really need to get your child’s attention.

20. Don’t nag

Never nag. Instead make firm, consistent requests and praise and reward a quick response. Give a warning if needed and impose a negative consequence if the task is not finished.

21. Don’t stop reading with them

Don’t stop reading with your child. Bedtime stories can tail off when the child learns to read by themselves but reading together gives time for cuddles and you can talk about the story and take it in turns to read.

You may also like Supporting your child with Reading

22. Don’t forget to laugh together

Don’t forget to laugh together! Sometimes being a parent is tough so make sure you have a giggle together now and again.

Confident parent23. Don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry

Don’t be afraid to apologise to your child, if you do something wrong.

It’s really important because it models what to do when we do something we are not proud of or something we regret.

24. Don’t back down

Don’t back down. Don’t threaten but then not act. Repeating a warning but not acting gives the child the message that they can continue. If a child misbehaves, there has to be a consequence.

Give a warning, and then, if your child does it again, give an immediate consequence such as a time-out. If they continues, leave the situation.

25. Don’t be too hard on yourself or other parents!

It’s a tough, thankless job – we all want to be the perfect parent, but everyone makes mistakes. Go easy on yourself and others – we rush to criticise ours and other parent’s skills, when we should be just enjoying our time, when our kids really need us!

“The trouble with bringing up children is that by the time you are experienced, you are unemployed” – Author unknown.

25 Things Parents Should Not Do

Over to you! Let us know your good parent tips in the comments below.

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Jennifer, our Editor, has 1 son and admits to munching a Cadbury’s Turkish Delight now and again.


  1. jenniferb jenniferb says:

    Thanks for the feedback – I suppose could be worded either way – we went with the Should Not Do and followed with each heading being “don’t”. Glad you enjoyed – Jennifer, Mykidstime

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great article, but shouldn’t the title be ’25 Things Good Parents SHOULD do?’

  3. teresa says:

    great advice

  4. Laura kaye says:

    Seen this on facebook and its articles like this, that should be noticed more I clicked on the picture about good mums are ones that can have mess but with that happy kids, then I see the heading to this article which not many click on websites and reading it I will admit I actually am way to easy with my 2 year old ive tryed and still am but by the sounds of it I shouldnt so much otherwise thats how it will be always if I teach him that getting away with things he will think its ok as he gets older, I definately have to get on top of this thankyou. The saying is true we learn new things everyday.

  5. sabrina says:

    Love this. I also feel that it is important to tell you’re kids why they can not do certain things. For example i am now trying to teach my daughter that she has to wait for me before crossing the street and than i will stand beside her when a car passes and tell that that is the reason. And i do this with everything. You can tell you’re chidren what to do or what not to do. But if they understand it they will listen faster.

  6. sara gamal says:

    Great advice

  7. Margaret Glenn says:

    This was a great list. One thing that your children need to know is that they can come to you at any time with any thing and you need to tell them. “Nothing will shock me”. I always had this understanding with my three girls. And all three of my girls felt they could come to me or their dad about any thing. Always good to keep an open dialog with your children.

  8. mimo says:

    very helpful article , thank you very much.

  9. Deepak says:

    Apt advice, covers just about everything. Still remember that your child could be different. Yes, the title should be’ Parents should do’.