We asked parents to tell us about those little mistakes they'd made so that they could pass on their hard-learned lessons to the rest of us. You already know the obvious ones (don't give children everything they want immediately, make sure they say please and thank you, be consistent). But what about the less obvious stuff? What are those little things that turn out to be quite big errors?
Don't change something's name to make it sound better
George's mother, Caroline, told her son he was going to school when he started nursery. "He thought he was being a big boy. Of course, everyone else calls it nursery and now he's actually going to start school in September. He's totally confused. I think he feels a bit cheated as well."
[Related article: How to talk to your kid about failure]
Surely this one has bitten a lot of us on the backside? There's no point telling your child that broccoli is a type of sweetie: they're children, not idiots. But that's not really going to stop us from blurting out the fibs, is it?I tell my daughter that her high chair is a special chair that lets her sit at the big table like a big girl. Currently, she seems fine with that, but my husband called it a baby chair the other day, which went down like a vegetable pick n' mix.
Don't disagree in front of the children
It's one of those things we get told all the time, but disagreeing in front of the children really will come back to haunt you. As Elaine, mother-of-three, explains: "If one of you says the children can watch TV after the other one has just banned it, it just teaches children to be a bit divisive. Before you know it, they'll be only asking the parent who gives the answer they want, leaving the other one feeling totally undermined."
"You need to put on a united front," says Sally, mother-of-one. "My husband has a thing about the children eating everything on their plate, which can get ridiculous. The other day, he was telling our daughter to finish her chips. I waited till she was asleep to point out how stupid that was."
Don't believe what other parents tell you
"Little Jimmy slept through from three months", "Sabrina has NEVER touched sugar," "Mia has never seen the TV before – that's why she's staring".
The more you talk to other parents, the more you'll start to suspect that not all of them are telling you the whole truth. I have quite a few friends whose children "always sleep through", but when I ask them what happens when their child is ill, they'll often admit they were up three times in the night giving them water. Apparently, that doesn't count.
Don't avoid danger
Many parents, especially those in the city, are convinced that the world is darker and more dangerous than it was in their day, despite the fact that all the figures say otherwise.
I mentioned this to a mother I know the other day, and she said, darkly "they say that, but I think they're lying."
Even when we "know" the world is no less safe, we're more inclined to believe there's a conspiracy to lie to us.
Caroline thinks this is a problem. "None of our kids know how to climb safely or walk carefully down a pavement. So few parents seem to teach their children to stop before they reach a road - they'd rather strap them into a buggy. "
Don't gossip in front of the children
Are you one of those parents who thinks that when you're talking to your friends, your children can't hear you? If so, you've probably learned the hard way that what little Arthur hears you say about Granny Frances will almost certainly get back to her at a later date. "Granny, why did you give mummy a horrible ornamental plate for her birthday? Mummy says it's because you have awful taste and you've always hated her. Is that true?"
What are your parenting pitfalls? Have you fallen into any of the above? Share your stories with us in the comments.
At the heart of Team Mum is the video series Raising an Olympian, sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, profiling athletes from across the world, their dedicated efforts to make it to Olympic Games, and the mothers who had tremendous impacts on their lives. Watch the videos on Yahoo! Lifestyle Team Mum.