5 Things Parents Need to Stop Doing

Whether your kids have recently gone back to school or are preparing to go shortly, it’s never too late to start thinking about how we can make this year successful and low-stress, both for our kids and ourselves. With that, here are five things parents might want to stop doing this year in order to make it the best one yet…for all of you!

1. Your kid’s homework. Oh yes, it’s a familiar scene: your little one at the kitchen table, frustrated and unfocused on their math assignment that they just caaaan’t figure out, Mom. Or their reading project that is SO BORING, Dad. It’s all too easy as parents to want to jump in, give the answers, finish things on your kid’s behalf because let’s be honest – it’s quick. It’s easy enough for you. It’s a way to stop the complaining, and then your kid will get a good grade, right? This year, I encourage you to stop doing your kid’s homework. What will happen if you don’t? Maybe they won’t finish it, and they get to learn a lesson in responsibility when their teacher confronts them. Maybe they’ll figure it out on their own, and that’s exactly what they should be doing. Or maybe they’ll get the answers wrong and have a little learning to do. Lend a helping hand to encourage them in the right direction once in a while, but put the Number 2 pencil down, parents! You’ve already been through school.

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2. Over-enrolling in sports/activitiesGot a little dude who loves baseball and soccer? Great, sign him up for both if he’s truly dedicated and interested in both sports. But I urge you not to fill up your kids’ schedules with every activity and sport available just for the sake of enriching their lives. It’s good to get them interested in a variety of things, but kids can also be overwhelmed with a full calendar of things to do with little downtime to just BE. Besides, all of that running around after school can be really stressful for you too as a parent. Stick with a couple of activities your kids truly love and devote your time to those, and don’t collect guilt from other overplanning parents because little Audrey isn’t in gymnastics AND Tae Kwon Do AND the math club AND drama AND ballet like little Jessica next door. Jessica sounds like she needs a nap.

3. Obsessively emailing the teacher. These days, it’s way too easy to shoot off a quick email to your kid’s teacher about this or that. Is Jack doing ok today with his social skills? Can he be seated further away from Ian because they just talk all day and you KNOW Jack just isn’t paying attention. Did he finish his lunch today or did he trade it for a Twinkie? Yeah. I get it, I’ve done it, too! But step away from the laptop, keyboard crusaders! Your kid is fine and their fully capable teacher will let you know if there’s anything she feels you should be aware of in class that day. Remember back when we were kids? No email. How often do you think our parents were sending hand-written notes to the teacher? Let’s let the teachers do their jobs and focus on the kids, not their email inbox.

4. Volunteering for everything. Ok, this one is a touchy one. Let me start by saying that I firmly believe every parent should volunteer for something at their child’s school. It’s good for the school, your kids love seeing you and having your involvement, and it just plain makes you feel good to help. That said, beware of over-committing yourself, too. If you give an hour of your time once or twice a month and that feels right, that’s fantastic. But don’t take on huge projects that will have you stressed out and overcommitted. Know your limits. Just because you want to be helpful doesn’t mean your schedule always allows for it – be prepared to have to say no sometimes in order to keep your sanity. Do what you can to help, but don’t feel guilty for not running for PTA president this year.

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5. Comparing yourself to other parents. So you’ve conquered the whole not-comparing-your-kid-to-other-kids thing, but what about yourself? Are you feeling guilty because you’re not the Little League coach this year? You don’t make your kid read for 30 minutes every night? You only brought a container of strawberries for the class party when the other moms made Pinterest-worthy tie-dyed cupcakes frosted with rainbow fondant they hand-rolled themselves? So what?! Give yourselves a break, moms and dads. Do your best, love your kids, let ’em know you’re there and that you care. Do those things. You’re great. Stop feeling less-than.

So this year, be a little easier on yourself and on your kiddos. Your kids and you will benefit!

Related post: 5 Back to School Resolutions I’m Making

About the writer

Dynamom is lighting up the internet with a sensible flameless candle. Follow her on Twitter, chat with her on Facebook or follow her blog, The Dynamom.


Janika 9 months ago

1.) It is very obvious when a parent does their child’s homework or projects and yes, it does happen. Thankfully for me, it’s not common.

2.) Picking a few sports or activities is fine! In fact, it should not be some soul-crushing experience for you if your child decides they really didn’t enjoy a certain sport/activity and would like to try a different one. The article is saying don’t book your child’s schedule solid! Let him/her have some down time.

3.) The key word that stuck out to me was “OBSESSIVELY”. It wasn’t saying NOT to reach out to your child’s teachers at all, just don’t be obsessive. I like hearing from parents who have a concern, we want to work together to help your student. However, please realize there are often hundreds of other students I work with too. I cannot respond to emails from the same parent every 40 minutes (yes, this actually happened). Parents, if your student needs some extra support throughout the day, please stop by your school to discuss options.

4.) Again, this keyword here was OVER-committing. I agree 100% with what was said, volunteer when and if you can, as it all helps. Even if you have personal reasons for not being part of your PTA, you may still be able to help behind the scenes in interested.

5.) Yes, to all of it. Time to scale back and do YOUR best.

Margo Porro 2 years ago

I am highly offended by the add at the top of the page suggesting teachers are asking for twice as much in wages and benefits as other unions. We are not asking for twice as much in wages. The government propaganda includes educational assistants and librarians in the cost of our benefit package. I can’t believe this is being advertised on a website such as this. This does, indeed, make your website name, Scary Mommy, true!

Michelle White 2 years ago

As far as volunteering for everything. I have found from being a PTO parent and president that only a select few volunteer so, if anything is going to get done then it’s up to me and the very few PTO members we have. That makes me stuck volunteering for everything.

DD 2 years ago

6. Telling your child they are perfect.
7. Disabling them from learning for themselves.
8. Dismissing their feelings and/or not talking about emotions in general.
9. Spoiling them with material things day in and out.
10. Passing on FOMO (fear of missing out), making sure they have the latest of anything.
11. Getting caught up in the drama of their friends parents which ultimately leads to broken friendships.
12. Remarrying/partnering with someone who makes little to no effort in their step children’s lives. Also choosing their new spouse over their own children.
13. Making excuses for their behaviour.
14. Restricting their worlds so much so that kids can’t be, kids.
15. Forgetting to love them enough, there can never be too much love, a consistent balance of unconditional and tough love.

Carrie 2 years ago

YES to #5: Stop “Comparing yourself to other parents.” That’s a tough one, but we can help each other by being supportive and not judging what another parent is doing. I met a woman with a baby about the same age as mine, so I struck up a conversation. When I asked if she worked outside the home, she let me know that she USED to be a teacher but she decided she couldn’t be a good teacher AND a good mother. (I’m a teacher.) Comments like that don’t help when we’re still struggling with guilt at daycare drop-off.

Kelli 2 years ago

I dont do any of the things mentioned! So I guess Im good!

Kate Isgreat 2 years ago

Nice try but the guilt remains! GAH :(

Ashley Fiumefreddo 2 years ago

Thank god this isnt me

Lorraine Marie 2 years ago

Isn’t it bad for your health to stop doing number two?

Dorraine Bond Werner 2 years ago

who seriously does number 1?!

Sharon Austin 2 years ago

I’ve been there and done that, actually made it through with no scars! My one suggestion is on the homework. Kids are not different than most adults, we adults take breaks, so when the kids seem “bored” with their homework, tell them to take a break. It worked for my kids.

Sharon Haley Connolly 2 years ago

First kid is over enrolled. …third kid – I forgot to sign him up again. ..

Jenn Bullivant 2 years ago

Yes to ALL 5 for me, thank you very much!!!

Socccermamatoo 2 years ago

So agree. Please don’t be a helicopter parent! As a parent and teacher, every child has their moments both good and bad. And we can tell when the child actually does the homework. Let them enjoy being kids as much as possible.

Alyosha Violet 2 years ago

My kids get a birthday party once every 3 years. So heartbreaking that she gets ‘no’s because of tutoring and sports on A SUNDAY AFTERNOON. I know my child isn’t the most important kid to other parents but it’s a birthday party, your kid was invited. They are 10. And not many kids have parties round here, so it’s not like they are missing these important lessons regularly… My kid is crying. Thanks.

Susan Burns 2 years ago

I am guilty of #5. Because of illness with myself, I feel that I am not “the perfect mom.” Got a lot of flack when I joined a moms group at my church when my son was a toddler and I wasn’t a “normal mom” in their eyes because I was a widow and an old mom (had my guy at 37). I am getting better at just doing my own thing, but every once in a while that stupid peer pressure comes up. It is such a nasty monster!

Tricia Smucker 2 years ago

I relish my saturday mornings, sleeping in, pajamas til noon with my kids!


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