Being a parent is tough. It can be confusing, frustrating and stressful. But the fact of the matter is, it’s extremely important to lead by example. Your little ones are watching your every move. By practicing self-love, keeping your cool in a tough situation and listening to your child, you can help your little one turn into an independent, confident and respectful adult.

Here are five harmful behaviors you should never show to children:

1. Talking Over Your Child

Children have a habit of interrupting. But it’s important that you don’t do the same. Teach your child to listen and allow other people to have their turn by practicing the same habits yourself. Talking over your child or ignoring them can make them feel unimportant, unseen or unheard. Establishing proper communication can help strengthen your relationship in the future.

2. Verbal Self-Criticism

You might not realize it, but saying things like “I hate my curly hair, I wish it was straight” or “I need to lose some weight” in front of your child can actually damage their own self-esteem. Your child learns from you and mimics you. If you’re constantly putting yourself down, talking negatively about your appearance or your weight, it will make them question whether or not they aren good enough. Practicing self-love is the best way to teach your child to be confident and comfortable in their own body.

3. Being A Friend Instead Of A Parent

Deep down, every parent wants their child to like them. They want their child to be comfortable telling them secrets, asking their advice and confiding in them. But there’s a certain line between being a parent and a friend that can be hard to navigate. When your child is young, they need a parent. They need someone to teach them about love, compassion, independence and right from wrong. There will come a time when your child gets older, that your relationship develops into a beautiful friendship. Be patient enough to wait for that time, and be the parent your child needs in the meantime.

4. Losing Self-Control

Most parents know a thing or two about being frustrated and losing their cool. But your child is watching your every move. If you go through life with a hot head and a quick temper, that’s how they’ll learn to react to stressful situations. Find a few ways to manage your stress and control your temper. Keeping your cool in front of your child will help teach them how to handle a tough situation calmly and responsibly.

5. Not Allowing Them To Be Independent

Parents who are overprotective or extremely controlling can end up stifling their child’s independence. By making all your child’s decisions for them, you’re teaching them that their opinion doesn’t matter, and it’s OK to rely on someone else for everything. As hard as it might be to let your child make their own decisions and their own mistakes, encouraging their creativity and independence when they’re young can help them grow into a successful and reliable adult.

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