5 Things You Definitely SHOULDN’T Do As A Parent, According To A Psychologist

These habits need to be nipped in the bud.
Black African dad in a cap in jeans relaxes while sitting in a chair with his little son after work in a cozy home
Svetlana Repnitskaya via Getty Images
Black African dad in a cap in jeans relaxes while sitting in a chair with his little son after work in a cozy home

There are times I’ve wished parenting came with a handbook. Whether it’s knowing how to get my toddler to eat more, how to stop a tantrum or how to put my baby to sleep — like most parents, I deal with these things through intuition.

Though it’s tough to keep up with the do’s and don’ts of parenting, one psychologist has compiled a list of five things you definitely SHOULDN’T do as a parent.

Ana Yudin, who trained in clinical psychology, says that because of her training she has understood that certain parenting habits can go wrong, and parents end up reaping the consequences if these habits aren’t nipped in the bud.

On the TikTok video which has now garnered more than half a million views she explains exactly what not to do, starting from least to most harmful.

Don’t focus on fixed-trait praise

Ana explains that there is research to show that kids who are told “you’re so intelligent” have a harder time psychologically, academically and professionally.

She said: “Children who are given a growth mindset about their effort level, about how hard they worked on something e.g. if a child comes home with an A+, instead of saying ‘wow you’re so smart’, I might say something like ‘wow good job, I know you studied really hard on that test’.”

She goes on to explain the reason for this is that if they come home with a lower grade the following week, they will feel like they are losing that fixed-trait that they have.

However, if they are praised on their effort, they will think ‘next time I will work harder.’

@psychologywithdrana Here are just 5 of the hundreds of things I would never do as a parent due to my training in Clinical Psychology. I have seen how wrong these parenting habits can go by working with adult clients who are now reaping the consequences. #thingsiwouldneverdo #clinicalpsychology ♬ original sound - Ana Yudin, PsyD 📚

Don’t force a child to eat more or less

Though children can be picky eaters and parents want their kids to have a diverse and balanced diet, Ana says if you tell a child they need to finish everything on their plate to be polite (regardless of being hungry or not), it may mess with their hunger and satiety cues.

“Later on they are going to be more predisposed to eating disorders because they are not going to be able to listen to their body when it’s telling them what they need.

“I come from a culture where there is a lot of pressure, especially on kids, to finish everything off their plate, it’s considered rude or considered you didn’t like what the person cooked,” says Ana.

She went on to explain that she herself had an eating disorder for ten years and it took a lot of work to understand what her body needed.

Don’t burden a child with your emotional baggage

Ana says that it is inappropriate to tell kids about adult issues or to trauma dump on your child.

She said: “Children are not equipped for that, you are supposed to be their emotional support and when you need emotional support it’s important to have adults in your life.”

The clinical psychologist says if adults burden a child with their emotions, they are going to take responsibility for your feelings and will end up feeling overwhelmed.

“They’re probably going to grow up to be caregivers or caretakers for other people in their life, and struggle to take care of themselves,” she added.

Don’t triangulate and play games to distance from family members

“I would never triangulate a child against other family members. I would never play these jealous games of trying to distance them from certain family members.”

Ana says this includes speaking ill of other family members and pinning a child against one of their parents.

She explains that young kids are very malleable so even if they realise down the line they could have had a relationship with that family member, but were manipulated not to, it will still be difficult for them to form those relationships.

Don’t disregard consent

Ana’s number one piece of advice to parents is ‘don’t disregard consent.’

“The number one thing I would never do while parenting a child is to enforce any sort of affection or physical touch without determining consent. Especially not once a child has said no.”

Though parent may need affection and soothing, Ana believes it’s not appropriate to put that on a child, especially if the way you need to be soothed is physical touch like hugs and kisses.

She shared: “If you are putting that responsibility of emotional regulation on a child, they are going to internalise the message that my needs and my consent doesn’t matter.

“What matters is to take care of other people’s needs at the expense of what I actually feel comfortable doing.”

Ana explains that this could mean that they end up in relationships in their adult life with people that do not care about their consent. This could mean they are easily coerced or forced into situations they may not want to be in.

“I understand the impulse of saying mummy really needs a hug right now or daddy could really use a kiss, but it has to be their choice,” adding the importance of consent.