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4 Assumptions I See New Parents Make That Can Really Screw Up Their Kids

Flickr / Assillo

The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

What parenting decisions seem small at the time but can massively impact a child’s development?

Making assumptions. I have seen so many parents make these assumptions and, by high school, they are exasperated with the kid and the expectations never materialize:

1. Don’t Assume You Are Great Parents
Why would you think this? You have no experience in rearing children. You probably haven’t read enough on the subject. Do assume you have a lot to learn. That’s the only way to get better.

Flickr / Scott

Flickr / Scott

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2. Don’t Assume Your Kid Is Better Than The Other Kids
There may be a blip in time when he scores 3 goals in a game or wins the third grade math award or whatever. Don’t take this to mean that your genes somehow bred a Superman. You didn’t. Do assume that developing skills and education is lifelong, with peaks and valleys. That way, you will slowly and steadily build someone who is more competent than his counterparts by, say, age 17 or so.

3. Don’t Assume That Your Kid Is Like You
This is a common mistake new parents make. There’s only a small chance your kid will be like you or your spouse. He may be like your crazy Uncle Al or sad Cousin Bea. Think of your most annoying relatives — your kid may very well have those genes. Do assume that you will be the one who has to adapt to your child’s style. Your child cannot adapt to your style; he’s a child with no previous experience. You’re the adult. You know compromise and persuasion, hopefully.

4. Don’t Assume Your Child Will Respect You Because You’re Strict Or Easy
Your child will respect you if you, in fact, are not a hypocrite. Do assume that all children have a BS detector, and if you don’t practice what you preach, your kid won’t take you seriously. So, give up the smokes, exercise, work hard and make money, read newspapers and books — then you will produce children with the same habits.

Darren Johnson is a parent and publisher of Campus News, a print newspaper. Read more from Quora below: