Common Mixed Messages Parents Send Kids

Common Mixed Messages Parents Send Kids

We all want to raise responsible children, yet many parents give contradictory messages to their kid or adolescent. This generates uncertainty about what the intended behaviours and activities are. The misunderstanding develops when what the parent says to do and what the parent really performs are diametrically opposed.

Knowing the difference between implicit and explicit modelling and how you do both on a daily basis is one of the keys to good parenting. The truth is that parents are the first teachers their children have. Parents are always modelling appropriate behaviour. What are you modelling, and are you giving contradictory signals?

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Parents Remember

No parent is without flaws. No child is without flaws. There will never be a family that communicates perfectly all of the time. Life is full of surprises. People are tense. They are both misunderstood. It’s perfectly natural. Communication is an ongoing process.

It takes a bold parent to investigate the little parenting peculiarities that could be hiding in their children’s day-to-day interactions. Most of us would rather focus on the “biggies” – avoiding yelling, feeding our children nutritious foods, and getting them to bed at a decent hour.

If you’re ready to improve (growth mindset) your family’s communication, this is an excellent place to start. However, I would advise you to focus on only one or two mixed signals at the start. It will not be simple. Allow yourself to fail a few times before attempting to make a more consistent adjustment.

Common Mixed Messages Parents Send To Children

  1. You may ask me anything… No, not just now.
  2. You are free to tell me whatever..However, not that.
  3. Hands are not for striking…Unless I spank you.
  4. It is not acceptable to scream…Come on in! (while screaming)
  5. Tell the truth at all times…Let’s say you’re still three, and you can get in for free.
  6. I know you two can figure it out…That’s it; you’re both grounded now.
  7. You’re constantly playing that video game… I’ll be on my phone in a moment.
  8. It doesn’t matter what you’re feeling… Take a seat! Stop being so irritable!
  9. It is OK to make mistakes…You spilt the milk again!!
  10. You don’t have to be flawless…What occurred to get a “B” on this test?!
  11. I will always adore you…I’m so fed up with you that I’m going to leave.

Have you said any of these? I sure have. But we can’t let our parenting mistakes weigh us down. We need to be persistent and move on now that we know better, right?

What To Do Next

Take Note of It

The first step in implementing any change is determining what needs to be changed. Maybe you recognized one of the jumbled messages above, or maybe you came up with your own. I recommend that you write down both portions on a piece of paper.

Determine Your Goals

Which message do you want your home to emphasize? Make it as precise as possible. What makes this message so significant to you? What scenarios, stresses, individuals, or circumstances make it difficult for you to stay focused?

Imposters should be listed.

While you’re writing, make a note of all the ways this message could become a “mixed message.” I’ve listed one sentence above, but you can probably come up with a longer list. Be honest, this is a crucial, if tough, aspect of the task.

Keep an Eye On Things

Now that you know what terms to listen for, it’s time to pay attention to what you’re saying. This can be difficult. You will revert to old habits, especially if you are worried or overloaded. When possible, try to catch yourself.


When you make a mistake, don’t linger on it. Instead, stop yourself, even if you’re in the middle of a statement. Recognize the ambiguity, apologize if necessary, and rephrase or express it differently. This will become second nature with time and practice.

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe To My Parenting Newsletter

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2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:

Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.

3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting Course

Enroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
  • Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
  • Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
  • Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
  • Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
  • Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
Got a threenager? You want this class. Got an actual tween or teen? Then what are you waiting for? Sign up for the webinar right NOW and watch the BEST, most life-changing parenting video ever.

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