Supernanny Jo Frost has helped thousands of parents with her sensible tips, both in person and on her various TV shows, so she's seen a lot of parenting fails.
Jo knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to child rearing, but what are the biggest mistakes parents make with their kids? Jo shared her thoughts with Huffington Post.
"Parents can end up putting in rules to control children and giving consequences and discipline that is unwarranted," she said. "The application of a discipline can be a parent trying to control a child's behaviour, rather than encouraging the child to be more self-independent and to communicate better."
She explained, "There are times I say to parents, 'Why did you discipline your child and give them a consequence just because you asked them to get up from the sofa and they didn't?' It's got to be about educating them and certainly developing their communication skills rather than always just telling them off."
Okay, so go easy on the discipline and encourage communication from both sides. We can do that.
Jo also offered some handy tips for parents who want to nail this parenting gig:
1. Set a good example. It's not enough to tell your children to be kind and respectful. They need to see it in you and the way you deal with them and the rest of the world, every day.
2. Keep your expectations reasonable. Your child is always learning, and sometimes they'll do things you don't like, or that put them in harm's way, but that is sometimes how they learn. Accepting this will sometimes happen and it's not the end of the world will make life easier for you and your child.
3. Take the time to understand your child. Everyone is different and if you understand why your child behaves a particular way, you can more easily deal with that behaviour and perhaps divert their attention to something more helpful.
4. Find the root of the problem. If your child is acting out, there is almost always a reason. If you can find that and deal with the root problem, rather than punishing the surface behaviour, everyone will be a lot better off.
5. Help your child express how they feel. Being able to communicate effectively – especially about emotions – is so important for children, and especially teens. Being able to articulate to you why they feel a certain way can help them work through emotions and not act out.
6. Use challenges to overcome difficult behaviours. Jo used the example of a toddler who doesn't like to get dressed. Turning it into a challenge can help, saying, "I bet you can't get dressed in under three minutes!"
With so many successful family transformations under her belt, we think Jo's advice is well worth taking.