7 Crucial Parenting Mistakes to Avoid

Top parenting pros share some of their worst goofs -- and show how moms and dads can turn their mistakes into the best lessons of all.
Find Your Temper -- Before You Lose It

Guess what, parents? You're not perfect. Even the most dedicated and insightful moms and dads make mistakes when it comes to raising kids.

The good news is that kids, and families in general, are resilient. You can't erase your worst parenting moments, but with a little bit of insight and introspection, you can keep from repeating them and can use those experiences to the benefit of everyone in the family.

Even parenting pros admit that they have moments when they wish they could have hit rewind on their parental performances.

"Experts are not perfect, and we're certainly not perfect parents," says Dr. Donald Shifrin, a Bellevue, Washington, pediatrician. The examples those parenting pros share openly here can help you handle mom-and-dad mistakes better. And they illustrate an important element in fixing a mistake: Own up to it. You won't be diminished in your kids' eyes. In fact, they will respect you for learning from your errors.

Find Your Temper -- Before You Lose It

When Shifrin's son Max refused to obey his dad, preferring to concentrate on his handheld GameBoy, the chairman of the public education committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics lost his cool.

"I yelled, 'If you're not going to do any of the things I asked, you're not going to have this thing," and with an Olympic toss hurled the GameBoy out a second-story window. It landed in the bushes, and took me about 20 minutes to find it," he says.

That day, Shifrin learned the hard way how counterproductive it can be to go ballistic on your kids, even if they sometimes seem to deserve it.

"Max had this horrified look on his face and lost track of everything I was trying to explain. Instead, there was wailing, moaning, and teeth-gnashing, and the focus was on what Dad had done," Shifrin recalls. "It's not good for children to see us solve problems that way. Now I'll say, 'I'm thinking of swearing. Things are bad now,' and Max knows I'm at the end of my rope."

Continued on page 2:  Learn to Talk "The Talk"