Parents, stop living vicariously through your children.
Parents, stop living vicariously through your children. (Getty Images )

In a previous post, I listed seven things that husbands and wives should stop doing, which caused some interesting online conversations. Then I posted "9 Things Parents Should Never Say to Their Children." Today, I am talking about five things that parents should stop doing and here they are:

1. Stop yelling at your kids in public. Every parent has instances of anger that they wish they could take back. But berating your kids in public is a double-edged sword, combining personal attack with public humiliation.

2. Stop trying to be the "cool mom" or "cool dad." Your kids don't need you to be their pal, they need you to be their parent. Don't try to dress like them or "stalk" them and their friends through excessive or awkward use of social media. Guide them through their experiences, but give them room.

3. Stop allowing them to have or do things that are not age-appropriate. Life is hard for our kids today. The media bombards them with pressure to grow up too quickly. The world is trying to strip away their innocence. Don't accelerate them to that point of no return by subjecting them to things they are not ready for, even when they beg you to let them. Just because all the other kids have an iPhone, go to the party or go on a date doesn't mean your child should.

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4. Stop shielding them from all the consequences of their mistakes or messes. "How to Guarantee Your Teen Learns Nothing From Bad Decisions" addressed what happens when you remove the consequences of their poor choices and their responsibility for them. Devastation is ahead for those kids who believe they never have to answer for their actions.

5. Stop living vicariously through them. It's hard enough for your kids to figure out what they like and dislike, what they're gifted at and not gifted at. Don't complicate it for them by trying to live your life again through them. Just because you were the star quarterback of your team doesn't mean your child will be or want to be. Just because you were a professional ballet dancer doesn't mean your child will want to follow. Help them to find their dream and pursue it.

Mark Merrill is the president of All Pro Dad and Family First , a national nonprofit organization. He is also the voice of a daily radio program called The Family Minute.

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