We all make mistakes as parents. There are times when everyone wishes they hadn't said something, bought something, or been so hard on our kids. Parents are only human, after all. Here are ten common mistakes and why you should avoid them.

1. Too much junk food.

Junk food is convenient. It can be used to pacify an irritable child and is used as a reward for good behavior. As adults, many of us self-medicate with food. Often, we teach our children these same behavior patterns and reward with treats. To break this habit, start rewarding yourself
and your child in other ways.

2. Not reading to your child often enough.

Reading is one of the easiest ways to spend quality time with your child. It is free, teaches valuable lessons about a wide range of topics, and fosters a strong imagination. Reading to children should be a daily habit. Begin reading to your child from birth and continue into the teen years.

3. Formula feeding.

Infants need breast milk, not formula. In the rare instances that a woman cannot breastfeed, formula is available. But, for most women, there is no physical limitation to breastfeeding. Ear infections, infant hospitalizations, and many other things could be decreased significantly in our society if more women chose to breastfeed for longer. Why start your child off on what is second best nutrition? Give them the best from the start and you will see the benefits immediately as well as long term.

4. Being too strict.

Children need guidance and need to know that the adults are providing them with security and love. They do not need drill sergeants. Too many limits and too much control will build resentment in children, which will often boil over in the teen years. Lighten up and give your child some age appropriate control over their own life.

5. Being too permissive.

The flip side of the overly strict parent is the overly permissive parent. A parent's job is to provide structure. No structure is a recipe for disaster. Children need limits in order to feel secure. Letting your child call all the shots puts too much responsibility on the young person's shoulders and not enough on your own.

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