10 Common Parenting False Assumptions

by | False Assumptions Series

In just about all areas of life – and especially in our relationships – we humans tend to make lots of assumptions. Whether it is in our marriage relationship, our friendship and peer relationships, in our relationships at work with superiors or subordinates, our natural inclination is to make assumptions about how to respond verbally, physically and emotionally to what we hear and see in the multitude of life situations we find ourselves.

Assumptions we make may be about what others want or expect from us, what is proper in terms of our behaviors in various circumstances, or what the other person means or intends by a comment made.

Assuming is not all bad. In fact it is just about inevitable that we will make assumptions and draw conclusions about what is going on around us all day long. And when we assume correctly, doing so serves us well. The problem arises when our assumptions are false but we nonetheless allow them to guide and influence how we conduct ourselves as if they were correct.

Cheerful family drawing in the morningIn short, assumptions that are true, correct and accurate, serve us well; those that are inaccurate and false, can create a whole slew of various and sundry difficulties for us.

As parents, a lot of what guides and influences how we conduct ourselves, how we interact and respond to our kids, is based on assumption.  Again, assuming isn’t necessarily bad or counter-productive, but when we let our false assumptions guide us, well, it is like assuming that Kansas City is west of California.  We may really believe it, we may be sincere in our assumption, but the fact that it is incorrect will not serve us well if our goal is to take a road trip to Kansas City.

And we make both correct as well as false assumptions based in large part on the experiences in life we’ve had.  It stands to reason then, that we are all significantly influenced in our assumptions about parenting by how we ourselves were parented.  Again, this may be very good and lead to effective parenting with our kids, or, it may send us in directions that serve neither our kids nor ourselves very well.

This series of 10 short articles will address what I believe are the most widely held and debilitating parenting false assumptions-assumptions that if not challenged can wreak havoc in our efforts to be the parents we want to be.

Just one small disclaimer that may send you to the delete button, but I hope not:

In my 46 years of private practice, I have seen no more than a handful-15 or so-children. (“So why should I listen to this guy go on and on about better ways to parent?”, you may be asking).

As we parents “fine-tune” our parenting attitudes and skills, we begin to see changes for the better in our kids.

I have not worked with children because I have usually found that as we parents “fine-tune” our parenting attitudes and skills, we begin to see changes for the better in our kids.

I have, however, worked with many, many adults who used to be kids and have often found that the parenting they received was directed and motivated by many of the false assumptions we will briefly address in these 10 articles.

So most of what I have written is influenced by my work with adults who in various ways often struggle as a result of some of these faulty assumptions they were parented with.

I invite you to read all 10 articles. And as always, feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts.


The 10 Common Parenting False Assumptions

  1. All unacceptable behaviors are signs of challenges to my authority so should be handled by me in the same way.
  2. Challenges to my authority are avoidable and if they do occur, it is sure sign that I am “losing the battle” and am not a good parent
  3. It is my anger that finally motivates my kids to obey.
  4. If I just love my kids enough, then everything else will fall into place.
  5. I should be able to out, “Yes, but my kids…”
  6. If my kids don’t seem to be listening, then they will not be affected by what I say about them to others.
  7. My kids must earn my respect and it can be lost if they don’t perform, obey, or live up to my expectations.
  8. Doing the opposite of what mistakes my parents made with me must be the right way for me to parent my kids.
  9. If I want my kids to love me, then they must need me.
  10. If my disciplinary approach works to get the desired behavior change in my kids, then it must be the right approach and all right to use.


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