The Most Common Parenting Mistakes

Self-knowledge and a reflection on the educational style you want to carry out will help you avoid some common parenting mistakes. We'll explain them here.
The Most Common Parenting Mistakes
Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 18 July, 2022

Whoever says that parenting is easy is lying. Not only is it a huge challenge, but it’s also full of room for mistakes. It involves many aspects that have to do both with the challenge posed by the child in his or her full uniqueness (all children are different), as well as our own ideas about what’s right or what’s useful. And not least, it’s about the moment of life in which we find ourselves.

To make matters more difficult, we also need to add the opinion of grandparents, aunts, and neighbors to all of this, in addition to the advice of school teachers, experts, and pediatricians. Of course, apart from good intentions and trying to be prepared, it’s important to remember that we’re all going to make parenting mistakes.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent ones to avoid repeating them and that their consequences become evident over time.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: What is Healthy Selfishness and How Can You Practice It?

The most common mistakes in parenting

Sometimes these mistakes occur because of ignorance, and sometimes they occur because of reaction. Other times, they simply may happen because we improvise.

There are multiple reasons why we act and intervene in the education of children. Therefore, no one is exempt from making parenting mistakes.

Authoritarian parenting styles

An overly authoritarian upbringing implies excessive control, rigidity, few signs of affection, and punishment as a recurrent measure. In the short term, we find obedient children who are actually submissive and seek to avoid conflict.

However, as they move in life, they make decisions based on fear of authority and not because they understand the benefits of behaving in a certain way. In turn, they may naturalize mistreatment and orders from others in the future. Rebelliousness can also be a consequence.

Authoritarianism prevents contact with emotions, listening, and understanding of others. Therefore, in the future, children who were raised this way may become very inflexible and motivated only by compliance with the rule.

Crianza autoritaria en la casa.
Authoritarian upbringing leads to submission or rebellion. In this parenting style, rules are not explained, but imposed.

Overprotecting too much

Overprotection is another of the most frequent parenting mistakes. In this way, in the future, children are not able to defend themselves and to face difficulties, because someone else always did it for them. Thus, their self-esteem is affected and there’s often a low tolerance for frustration.

Overindulgence and lack of boundaries 

Sometimes we do it because we don’t want to listen to their tantrums anymore. Other times, it’s because it’s more comfortable for us to say “yes” than to try to establish boundaries.

Whatever the reason, we often consent to inappropriate behaviors that are then repeated and are difficult to eradicate. That’s why, as a future result, we often find young people who have a low frustration tolerance and don’taccept “no” as an answer.

Making your son or daughter the absolute center of your life

You may find this a bit annoying to read, but it’s true. The first years of life require us to pay a lot of attention to children because this is a sensitive period in which they’re very dependent and are developing skills.

However, little by little, it’s necessary to let them go by allowing them to fall and make their own mistakes and their own decisions. They also need to be able to recognize that other people also have their own timeframes, desires, and needs. When this doesn’t happen, they become demanding, despotic, and unable to understand that they’re not the center of the universe.

Recommendations to avoid common mistakes in parenting

Some of the recommendations for all adults involved in parenting are the following:

  1. Work on your own fears and insecurities. Recognize your weaknesses. With self-knowledge, you will be able to make wiser decisions. You also won’t do this from impulses that unleash certain unprocessed emotions. This will prevent you from projecting your fears and everything that belongs to you onto your children.
  2. Learn to set limits. Saying “No” is very healthy. It helps them get frustrated and understand that it’s not always possible to get everything they want.
  3. Educate them based on values. Respect, empathy, being kind, and helping others are always values that are important to learn. Above all, they’re taught by example. Therefore, you can start by applying these values by making them cooperate and participate in household chores.
  4. Work on emotions at home. It’s important that the child learns to know himself and his emotions as well as to detect those of others and act accordingly. In this way, she or he can learn to read the signals of the environment. For example, by working on emotions, she or he can recognize that teasing really hurts another person.
  5. Teach them to be grateful for what they receives on a daily basis. In this way, you encourage gratitude and value the effort.
Crianza asertiva para evitar errores.
Assertive parenting reduces mistakes and improves the future response that children will have in the real world.

It’s OK to make mistakes, but we also need to have a strategy

We need to know that there will be parenting mistakes and not feel bad about it. There are no perfect parents, either – only true, flesh-and-blood adults trying to be the best version of themselves.

However, it’s important that we’re able to have a parenting strategy in which a certain coherence is maintained over time and through which we transmit values. The family is the first place where children learn to exist, to understand what’s good and bad, and to develop the skills they need to exist in this world.

Therefore, an improvised and aimless upbringing has consequences. These consequences may only seem to affect the day-to-day life of the family today; however, they will have an effect on all the other areas of life in which this young person participates in the future.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lira Mandujano, Jennifer, & Martínez Ruíz, Maria José, & Morales Chainé, Silvia, & Nieto, Javier (2017). CRIANZA POSITIVA Y NEGATIVA ASOCIADA A LOS PROBLEMAS SEVEROS DE CONDUCTA INFANTIL. Salud y drogas, 17(2),137-149.[fecha de Consulta 31 de Mayo de 2022]. ISSN: 1578-5319. Disponible en:
  • Ramírez, María Aurelia (2005). PADRES Y DESARROLLO DE LOS HIJOS: PRACTICAS DE CRIANZA. Estudios Pedagógicos, XXXI(2),167-177.[fecha de Consulta 31 de Mayo de 2022]. ISSN: 0716-050X. Disponible en:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.