5 Parenting Failures (& What to do Instead)

Parenting failures, Parenting failure

Being a Mom is Hard 

Make the child a three-year-old & it’s even harder. The truth is that feeling like a parenting failure is extremely common among parents.  
In fact, according to moms.com:

“About 60 percent of mothers feel as though they are not doing enough for their kids, compared to about 45 percent of fathers who feel the same way”

& this is only within the first year of becoming a parent. 

I don’t know about you, but the toddler years seem to be the most difficult so far & I’m sure the teenage years will have their own set of “I failed as a parent” moments.  

The truth is failing as a parent is going to happen. We will all have our moments, but there are steps we can take to avoid that same mistake in the next time.  
In this article, I’m going over the 5 biggest mistakes parents make with toddlers & preschoolers and what you can do instead.  

Related: The So -Called “Qualities of a Good Mother”  

Parenting failures, Parenting Failure

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Toddlers are in a constant state of learning 

Before we get into the parenting failures, it’s important to note that toddlers and preschoolers are constantly learning and growing.  

The key here is that they are learning from you! They watch everything that you do; and will mimic it often.  

The more gentle parenting approaches you can take, the better!  

I’m a huge proponent of Love and Logic && I tend to say, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” whenever my toddler has a problem. It was quite a moment when I had a problem and Jolene responded with, “well mommy, what are you going to do about it?”.  

They listen && want to be just like their favorite person in the world!  

We have to take on that role model job every single day && I know that’s why being a mom is hard, especially with everything else going on in our lives. 

Above, I gave a sweet example – but the truth is, that’s not the only thing she’s copied out of my mouth!  

Parenting Failure Moment: My toddler called my mom an “asshole” – I wonder where she learned that word… 

I failed as a parent

Give yourself a Break 

I’d be willing to bet that you’ve beat yourself up enough over whatever parenting failure moment you had. Your child is going to be okay. You are going to be okay.  

Give yourself a break & do better next time.  

Parenting Failure #1 Yelling or getting angry with your child 

This one is easier said than done. I get it. I have failed as a parent here. 

Toddlers have a way at driving you completely insane, in the most adorable way. I have been at my wits end with mine, that’s for sure.  

The problem with yelling and getting angry when we are upset is that when our toddler gets upset; they will also start to yell and get angry.  

We want to teach our children how to deal with stress & anger. How we deal with it, will be how they do too.  

Again – they do everything that we do.  

Do this instead:  

  • Instead of yelling when you get upset; stop and walk away (make sure your toddler is in a safe space).  
  • If you need a break; ask for help.  
  • Take your toddler time-out so that you can also take a moment.  

Related: A Gentle approach to a “Time-Out” Routine 
Related: “How to talk so little kids will listen”

parent fail

Parenting Failure #2 Giving your toddler what they want after a temper tantrum 

This is another big no-no! We’ve all seen it happen.  

I’ll give the grocery store example here: A toddler wants a toy, candy, etc – but mom says no. The toddler quickly gets agitated and starts to scream and throw a tantrum. 

The mom, in fear that everyone is watching, gives the toddler what he/she wanted. 

Unfortunately, this may take care of the problem in that moment but be prepared to spend a ton of extra money anytime you take your toddler out in public.  

When we give our child this power; we will always lose.  

Even if the toddler eventually calms down – we must have some sort of consequence for that tantrum. Don’t give them what they originally wanted, or they’ll repeat the same course of action over and over!  

Do this instead: 

  • Hug them and tell them you love them no matter what 
  • Ignore the tantrum (make sure they are in a safe place) 
  • In public – leave wherever you are and take them outside away from the crowd.  

Honestly, if you need to, get out of there – but do not give your child what they want. This will always end badly.  

Related: Gentle Parenting; What is it && How to do it!   
Related: The Tantrum Survival Guide: Tune In to Your Toddler’s Mind (and Your Own) to Calm the Craziness and Make Family Fun Again.

Parenting Failure #3 Bribing them to do what you want them to 

I’m guilty of this. I’ve given JJ a pop so that I could sit down and take a break. I have even offered her toys in order to get her to eat her food.

This is a big one. The problem with bribing is that when it’s consistent – our children will only do something for a reward.

As a teacher, I’ve seen the impact this can make on kids. I’ve had kids actually ask me, “what will I get if I do blank”. It’s a sad realization.  

We need to instill a sense of doing out of love, or even earning something – but we can’t teach our kids that they should only do things for a reward.  

Do this instead: 

  • Set up a system to where they have to earn something, nothing in life is free. 
  • If your child isn’t doing what you ask; have a consequence 
  • Lead by example && do things for people without wanting something in return.  

Related: How to Survive the Terrible Threes
Related: Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

i have failed as a parent

Parenting Failure #4 Doing everything for your toddler  

I’m going to be real here && let you all know that this is a huge pet peeve of mine. If your child can do something – they should do it.

I get that we are all busy and sometimes it will get done faster if we just do it, but we have to stop and assess the long time outcome here.  

It’s important to raise children to be self-sufficient. That is, they need to be able to do things on their own. Things can’t just happen for them, because that’s not real life.

Let them make mistakes; let them fail. You can’t really accomplish something until you’ve failed at it a few times.  

Do this instead: 

  • Let them fail – it’s okay to not be good at something. Kids need to learn this from day one.  
  • If your toddler can do it, they should do it.  
  • Praise your toddler when they accomplish big goals!  

Related: Starter’s Guide to Toddler Chores
Related: How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success 

Parenting Failure #5 Spanking your toddler 

Oh man, I’m being brave with this one. Let me say something right off the bat – if you spank your child, you do you! I am not here to judge you or shame you.

We all have different parenting strategies. Today, I am going to try to convince you why it might not be a good idea, but by all means, let me know below in the comments if you disagree!

I would love to discuss! Heck – you can even email me about it if you want!  

Okay – I’m going to use a story here. The other day, JJ was being her usual rambunctious self but she crossed a line.

I was in the middle of doing something else, so instead of using my normal methods (mommy fail here!) I quickly smacked her on the butt.

It wasn’t hard at all, but she turned around and said, “well, I’m going to hit you back!” and then proceeded to punch me in the arm.  

If we teach kids that when they do something bad they get spanked, then what do they think they should do to us when we are bad or worse their friends at school when they are bad?

If they learn that this is the answer, how do we change that mindset?  

Do this instead: 

  • Use the 1-2-3 Magic Method 
  • Put your child in time-out or time-in
  • Give some sort of other consequence that they won’t like (take away privileges)

Related: The case against spanking
Related: The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old 

Next Steps 

Avoiding these common mistakes will make a world of difference. It’s important to do your own research and decide for yourself what’s best for your child.

In the meanwhile, try to avoid these 5 mistakes that most parents make.  

Recommended Books:

Which mistakes are you making? Let me know if the comments!

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  1. CA May 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I am not a mother, and I’m pretty sure you guys go through a lot. It’s true that adults have to be carefult around children during their formative years. They copy and think that everything that we do is what’s right. Great parenting guide here.

    1. JoNychole May 11, 2020 at 12:00 am

      Thank You! Yes! We have to be so careful; easier said than done!

  2. Lovely May 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing these mistakes! I now know what to avoid! It’s very informative!



    1. JoNychole May 11, 2020 at 12:01 am

      Your welcome!

  3. Emily May 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    These are fantastic tips. Parenting toddlers is definitely difficult and every day is a test in patience. I think it’s important to always validate their feelings because it might be a small problem to us but it could be everything to them! Love it!

    1. JoNychole May 11, 2020 at 12:01 am

      You are so right! We have to make sure they know they are heard! This teaches them to love themselves and understand what they say is important!

  4. jiujitsupediaUK May 10, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    My mother did all of these 5, which is probably why I turned out so bad as a teenager! Luckily I turned things around myself and am in a decent position in life

    1. JoNychole May 11, 2020 at 12:03 am

      haha! I love your comment! My mom did all of these things too and I turned out pretty good! I think these mistakes just make it harder for them as children. Once we are adults, we usually can do better but as kids – we don’t know how to do that.

  5. Ashley May 10, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    my little one is 7.5 months these tips will certainly come in handy soon!

    1. JoNychole May 11, 2020 at 12:03 am

      Awe! Yes! You will be in the toddler stage soon!

  6. Tessa May 10, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    There is so much wisdom in your suggestions. As you said, parenting is so hard! I give all parents credit that are working to improve and do the very best they can each day to raise their children. It makes such a difference in their lives!

    1. JoNychole May 11, 2020 at 12:04 am

      Thank you! I try my best!

  7. Adrienne May 10, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    I remember the toddler days and thinking everything I did was a mistake 🙂 Then they are teenagers and you will miss it! Hang in there, yo are doing great.

  8. Melissa May 11, 2020 at 2:53 am

    My kids haven’t been toddlers in years but these are some good tips.

  9. Lydia May 11, 2020 at 8:34 am

    As I’m currently in quarantine with a toddler, I really agree with these mistakes! I’m guilty of making them too, but I do try my best to be fair and fun

  10. Louise May 11, 2020 at 9:52 am

    I was terrible at doing everything for my youngest child, and he still expects people to fetch and carry for him now. I won’t be making that mistake again if we ever have any more little ones!

    Louise x

  11. littlemisadvencha May 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    there are times that parents cant help getting angry with kids. i remember back then, my father got angry with me to the point he slapped me because i couldn’t do math. yeah, i dont hold grudge, but that moment still lives in my mind. haha. it’s really hard to be a parent.

    1. Surabhi May 11, 2020 at 3:10 pm

      These are great. I need these as I keep getting angry at my toddler.

  12. Polly May 11, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I’m not a mom yet but seeing my sisters take care of her toddler, I can say it is challenging. My nephew is super hyper but I’m glad my sister managed to not spoil the child to the nth and she encourages him to play and be independent. I also like that she isn’t harsh when the toddler throws tantrums. Thank you for this insightful post!

  13. Kristyn May 11, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    Toddler years are definitely a struggle. Mine is loving the screaming skill right now! We are limping through it, trying to be patient!

  14. Katie May 12, 2020 at 12:34 am

    This is a great guide! As a mom of three, one of which is just hitting toddler years (the older two are well past that, we’re getting to teenage years soon) these are great reminders!

  15. asgley May 12, 2020 at 1:55 am

    My daughter will be 2 soon and I’ve learned so much with so much more to learn. The main thing ive learned is to let her be herself and let her express herself. Its hard at times but she’s coming into her own personality and its amazing to see.

  16. Jazmin May 12, 2020 at 2:05 am

    Toddler years are a huge test of patience. My daughter is literally throwing a temper tantrum right now! Thanks for the tips to get in front of some of her worse moods though!

  17. Shayla Marie May 12, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    As a mom of 6 I completely agree! These are solid tips. The little years are some of the best in many ways, but also can be such a challenge.

  18. Marysa May 12, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    These are good points for the toddler years. This can be a tough time for parenting and it is nice to have some tips.

  19. Desiree May 12, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    What a great list! Thanks for sharing this!

  20. Ashley Newton May 12, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Oh man, we are in the thick of todderhood right now. These are great and effective tips!

  21. Fatima Torres May 12, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    It’s so important to let your toddler explore and do things on their own. I love watching their curiosity lead their exploring.

  22. Bailey Deziel May 13, 2020 at 1:32 am

    I help a friend look after her kids sometimes and she’s so patient with them, even when they’re being crazy. It’s really nice to see.

  23. Laura May 13, 2020 at 3:58 am

    I have done all of these. Even in the moment I know they are wrong but sometimes you just got to get through it. It is not always easy but I suppose being aware they are not right is a good start.

  24. Srishti Singh May 13, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    You are so right! We have to make sure they know they are heard!

  25. Monica CB May 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    As a mom of 2 I made some mistakes. Thanks for the great tips.

  26. Stephanie May 13, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    This is a perfect list of reminders for parents of toddlers. Some of these are definitely hard to not do, such as yelling at your child.

  27. Rikki Ridgeway May 14, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Every parent is entitled to their own beliefs, but I’m sorry I don’t agree with some points that you make in this post. I do spank my child, however, it’s only in the most desire of cases when I’ve exhausted all options before making that decision to issue a spanking.

  28. Candice May 14, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t profess to be the best parent, just one trying her best. I often see these mistakes being made and it makes me cringe. Partly because I made some of those mistakes when my daughter was a toddler. Secondly, because parents don’t realise the damage they are doing. When I acknowledged and worked on my problems as a parent, my daughter’s behaviour improved. I also made some realisations about toddlers and adjusted my expectations. Because like you say, they are constantly learning!

  29. Vanessa May 16, 2020 at 7:30 am

    I hate when people do #2 because it just shows them that the tantrum got them what they wanted so next time they’ll do the same. Grandma does it with my little one and I hate it so much.

  30. Windy May 17, 2020 at 10:32 am

    These are great tips. Bribing our kids is real. But you are absolutely right it’s not good to bribe them just to do something we want.

  31. Kimberly May 17, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Great tips – I’m having a baby in about a week (yikes!) so we still have some time before the toddler phase but a lot of this is very helpful and is pretty good advice for dealing with adults too haha!

  32. Ina May 17, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    These are all so great tips. And I can completely understand you point of view. Thanks for sharing!

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    I agree that doing everything for your toddler is a huge disservice. If for no other reason than it prevents you from seeing just how much potential they possess.

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