Dear White Parents,

You need to stop doing these 13 things.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that I know best how to parent your kids. I just notice these things that may or may not make your child look like a brat.

1. Letting your child run wild in stores.

I understand that your child has a lot of energy, and that they are excited by a lot of things, but explain to them that maybe it is best to play outside at home or the park, or perhaps give them a quiet game to play in the store that doesn’t require screaming at the tops of their lungs or running around making a mess of the store for those who work there to clean up, to segue into my next point:

2. Not making your children clean up their messes in the store.

The people who work in retail or grocery stores are there to help you find the items you need and make the store look presentable and clean. They do it dozens of times a day and that’s mainly for replenishment and to make the store’s displays presentable in general, but when your child leaves a giant mess and you leave it, because that’s the employees’ job, it makes us stay for a long time after our already long shifts to clean up after your children.

3. Not teaching your child to respect his or her teachers.

If the teacher in question is deliberately being unfair, disrespectful, or being inappropriate with your child, that is a very different story. If your child is unruly in the classroom or other school environment, and his or her teacher has asked them to stop and then he or she responds with disrespect to his or her teacher, it is not a teacher-student problem, it is a parent not teaching their child to respect his or her instructor. Teachers get paid to teach, not to take abuse from children.

4. Blaming teachers for your child’s bad grades.

I said in the previous thing you shouldn’t do, teachers get paid to teach. They don’t take your child’s tests for you, or do their homework, or turn in their projects. They assign these to see how well your child knows and can apply the material they teach. If you don’t make your child do the assignments, why is it teachers’ fault that your child has a bad grade? News flash: Teachers want your children to do well. They are not out to get them.

5. Letting your child talk back to you.

Saying “Please don’t do that,” is not going to stop your children from being disrespectful. I am not implying that you should constantly yell at your children, but gentleness isn’t always the best discipline. You are allowed to stand your ground and demand the respect you deserve as their parent.

If you don't do this now, you will end up with a child who thinks he or she can walk all over you and when you finally realize that there is no other choice than to be "mean" to your child, it will be too late, because they'll just laugh it off and do what they want anyway.

6. Being the “participation trophy” parent.

The reason trophies and awards are relevant is to encourage children to excel at things they enjoy doing. If your child is not the winner every time, this will just be a motivator for them to earn the trophy or award next time. It is your job to support and help motivate them to achieve their goals, not demand that they get the same reward as the one who worked harder or met their goals.

This sets unrealistic standards for children in later life, because the fact that life is not always equal for everyone will be a slap in the face to those children who got the participation award.

7. Giving your children everything they want whenever they want it.

Giving your children the necessities is the only thing you are required to do as their caregiver. On the other hand, children are allowed to have treats and rewards every now and again, too. You are allowed to make them happy with a new toy.

However, if you give them the new iPhone every time it comes out, and the best of everything, they probably learn nothing about the value of working for anything, and they may become ungrateful. Ungrateful children turn into adults who expect everything handed to them, and it will not be pretty for your kids once they realize that you can’t always get what you want.

8. Not vaccinating your children.

I understand that the medical choices you make for your children are your right, but if you do not vaccinate your child, and another gets sick, it is on you. I can hear the parents saying, “Well, why does it matter if my kid isn’t vaccinated if yours is, shouldn’t your kid’s vaccine work?”

Normally, yes, but there are some children whose bodies are unable to handle vaccines, and those who are scheduled to have their vaccines later according to when their vaccinations are scheduled with their doctors. Those children would be at risk for getting diseases that your unvaccinated child may spread. Their parents vaccinate them, but they still could become sick due to your irresponsibility.

9. Getting angry when your kid is rightfully accused of something.

If your kid does something illegal and/or stupid, it is not teaching them anything to take up for them. Let them learn their lesson (unless they are wrongfully accused, and you have undeniable proof), because while they may not be happy with it, the saying goes, if you do the crime, you do the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s minor, don’t let your kid think they’re above the rules or the law.

10. Not letting your kids follow their dreams.

You hear people tell their kids they can be President someday, and I’m sure you told them once that they can be whoever they want to be-so if they want to be an artist, or anything else that you don’t necessarily approve of, LET THEM.

Don’t tell them that it just isn’t practical, or that they won’t make any money-chances are, they probably know that could be the case, but they need the freedom to figure that out for themselves. Or, perhaps they are great at what they do and could very well be the next Da Vinci and you’re just crushing their spirits and making them believe they aren’t good enough.

Either way, you’re being stifling and raising a child isn’t just to make someone a carbon copy of yourself. It’s to teach them how to be a good person and be able to do things for themselves.

11. Not teaching your children how to do chores and everyday errands.

I know it’s hard to decide when your child is old enough to do certain chores, or when they should have to. But, if your 23-year-old son doesn’t know how to do laundry…there’s a problem. He surely wants to live on his own one day, so he should not always bring his laundry home for you to do.

He should know how to put clothes in the washer, pour detergent in, and set it to a cycle, then be able to put his clothes in a dryer. Maybe a certain setting for different types of clothes or ironing everything isn’t your style-and that’s fine. Just teach them how to live on their own, please, because roommates and significant others don’t want to live in a disaster area.

12. Doing your children’s homework and projects for them.

Are you the student? Is that your name on that report card? I didn’t think so-and teachers likely know the difference between an 8-year-old’s science project and a thirty-something-year-old mother’s kitchen crafting session. I understand that accidents happen, and kids forget things-we all do.

But if you are constantly gluing last touches to dioramas while your child is asleep, you need to stop. Your child needs to learn how to take care of their own grades, because once they get to college, they get no extra time to do things if they don’t turn them in on time (unless there are extenuating circumstances discussed with a teacher or handled with the right documentation).

Their professors will not baby them like their teachers do in school now, so it’s best that you start your children out knowing how to handle problems instead of always covering them

13. Making your kids do extra-curriculars they don’t enjoy.

If your daughter wants to play soccer instead of doing ballet, let her. If your son wants to dance and you make him play football, you’re not letting him be who he wants to be. If your kid hates practicing piano, you are just wasting money on a piano teacher because it’s likely that they aren’t planning on being a concert pianist one day. I am sure they can find something that they like doing, and wouldn’t it be better to watch them do something they enjoy instead of having you live vicariously through them? They will be much happier with you and genuinely be proud of themselves when they make that goal they have been trying to get at practice, or mastering that move in dance class for their big performance, instead of being nervous for a big performance that you both know they haven’t practiced for because they hate it.