20 Bad Habits Moms Need To Break Right Now

20 Bad Habits Moms Need To Quit Now – It’s Never Too Late to Change!

When you are on an intentional journey to becoming your best self, it is important to take a good hard look at your bad habits. I’m going to share 20 bad habits you should break for your child’s sake. It’s never too late to change!

We’ve all witnessed bad habits in our children. Perhaps, too often to count. Maybe they picked it up from school? Maybe they picked it up from that naughty girl at gym class?

Or, maybe… just maybe they picked it up from YOU???

We ALL have bad habits that we use as a crutch when we are tired, angry, and just don’t want to think, do, feel, whatever.

That is why keeping our stress levels low and getting the self-care we need is so important. When we are feeling our best, we can be our best for our families. 

Can Habits be Broken?

It is never too late to change a bad habit. It doesn’t matter if it’s been a habit for years, decades, or even a lifetime.

Our brains are malleable and a bad habit can be replaced with a good habit with time a dedication. And think of the reward! Not only you will conquer it, but you will be able to model the process and growth to your children as well.

How do you Beat a Bad Habit?

Too many parents turn a blind eye to their shortcomings. We can get by with ignoring the problem until your child picks up the habit themselves.  

The beginning of your journey towards your best self requires you to take a hard look into your life to see what you desire to change.

Use this list of 20 bad habits to note any bad habits you have. It can be uncomfortable as we might recognize a number of these bad habits in your family, but it is important for the sake of personal growth and to break bad habits for good!

When you have identified which bad habits you want to work on, make a plan on how you are going to tackle them. You can check out my article on How to Make Smart Goals to guide you as you make your plan. This step might require a little bit of research on discovering strategies to break a particular habit.

“If you do not pour water on your plant, what will happen? It will slowly wither and die. Our habits will also slowly wither and die away if we do not give them an opportunity to manifest. You need not fight to stop a habit. Just don’t give it an opportunity to repeat itself.”

― Sri S. Satchidananda

Don’t use the same tools you used in the past unless they worked!

If you feel you need outside help, consider the help from a life coach or therapist.

Here is a charming video that overviews bad habits and how to break them.

How Long Will it Take to Change a Habit?

Researchers are all over the place when it comes to the amount of time it takes to change a habit. According to Healthline, “It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.” 

18 to 254 days may sound to you like reasonable to painstakingly long. But keep in mind, every time you fight your bad habit, you are modeling your best self to your children.

Practice it, model it, achieve it!

20 Bad Habits to Break For Your Child’s Sake

Bad Habits keep us from becoming our best self. They distance us from others, make us feel lousy, and sometimes ruin the relationships we hold dear to us.

By identifying bad habits that you have in your life, you can decide to change and make better choices to make that happen.

Remember not to beat yourself up if it takes you longer than you were hoping. The key is when you fail, what you decide to do next. Pick yourself back up again and don’t give up.

You will be an example of perseverance for your children. Every moment you decide not to partake in that habit is a WIN!

A number of mothers shared what bad habits they witnessed kids picking up from their parents. Here are 20 bad habits to break for your child’s sake:

1. Stress Eating

Woman in brown jacket eating golden French Fries.

We reach for those carbs or sweets for that wonderful hit of dopamine. It provides quick relief, but what is the cost? With this bad habit over time, we may gain weight, feel sluggish, and experience several other unwanted symptoms.

Model self-discipline by planning out your meals and sticking to them. Find other means of relieving stress than turning to food.

2. Lying

According to Healthline’s article, 12 Tips to Break a Lying Habit “If lying becomes a more regular habit in your life, try not to be too hard on yourself. After all, most people do lie, even if they don’t admit it.

Instead, ask yourself how you can break this pattern and be more truthful going forward. We’ve got some answers to this question that can help.”

3. Swearing

Just like any habit, swearing can be hard to kick. There are many strategies out there to try, but if you have already been through a few and it’s not working, consider reducing your stress levels.

Reducing stress is key to kicking many bad habits out of our lives.

4. Using Phone in Moderation

With the means of technology, it’s much easier to stay connected with others through text or social media. It’s also easy to get lost in entertainment or research and lost track of time. How much is too much?

When your child is old enough to get their phone, would you be confident in your example?

5. Yelling

Yelling at our spouses or our children might be a quicker way to express our anger or get a point across, but it is harmful and aggressive. Be aware of what might be triggering you and address that. Maybe you tend to yell when you are tired?

Identifying the trigger can help you discover ways to remain in control when things don’t go your way.

Modeling to your children how to remain calm and cool when things go wrong, will help your children to do the same.

6. Perfectionism

The desire to have everything perfect is extremely debilitating. It stifles creativity, it is a huge time sucker and It also inhibits us from trying new things that we may not be good at.

Seeking out how to achieve a growth mindset to work against perfectionism is just one possibility to fight against this bad habit.

You can work alongside your child to achieve a growth mindset together through activities and putting it into practice when the next struggle comes along.

If you can relate, check out my post on How to Not Be a Perfectionist Mom.

7. Poor Money Management

Credit Card being pulled from black leather wallet.

Are you behind in credit card debt? Do you often take loans out and feel stuck paying loads in interest? The bad habit of poor money management can be costly, for generations. Break this habit.

Check out Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover for all you need to break the bad habit and move forward.

8. Worrying

Do you worry about anything and everything? According to Empowering Parents article, Parental Anxiety? 5 Ways to Relieve the Worry, “The best way to know if you are parenting from fear vs. facts is to ask yourself if there is any evidence of what you are so worried about.”

9. Untidy

Keeping your home clean and organized can relieve a cluttered mind. Do you have a tendency to leave your plate on the table, or not putting something away after you are done using it?

These bad habits can lead to a messy house and one bad habit can easily multiply to the number of kids you have. (I’m speaking from experience, I have 5!)  

10. Lack of Self-Care

When we don’t take care of ourselves and put ourselves last on the list, we can become overly tired, resentful, and stressed. And that is no good for anyone in our household.

If we take time for self-care, we can model to our children that it is okay to give ourselves space to recover. Allow them that same space and reduce meltdowns.

Think of your future child-raising their own family. Would you want them to make time for themselves?

11. Gossiping

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest gossip with our friends or family. But we can all agree that we wouldn’t want the conversation to be about us. Our kids mimic our behavior and if you’ve ever caught them doing the same … it’s not cute.

12. Complaining

Complaining is like the adult version of whining. It brings down not only your mood but the mood of others around you. If your child is getting into the habit of complaining, make sure that you aren’t adding fuel to the fire.

“Have you noticed how many people who walk in the shade curse the Sun?”

― Idries Shah, Reflections

13. Managing Your Emotions

Do you stuff your emotions? When your child is upset, do you respond in anger? Learning how to strengthen your emotional intelligence (EQ) can help increase your empathy, impulse control, and problem-solving skills and help you become a better parent.

14. Sarcasm

Do you have sarcastic humor you share with your husband or with others in front of the kids? If so, watch out for the wrath of the upcoming teenage years! Or start breaking the habit now.

15. Body Image

Blue soft tape measure on top of glass weight scale.

A couple of years ago a brave grandmother shared a touching story. She believed that if she was overweight, that it somehow translated to herself that she was unlovable.

It was a tear-jerking story and resonated with so many of us in the room that day. She told us how her daughter is the same size she was at that age.

And she is beautiful! 

Yet, when she was that age, she couldn’t recognize her beauty. She carried body shame with her throughout her life.

Set yourself free from the shame and limiting beliefs that hold you back from loving yourself.

16. Low Self Confidence

If you have low confidence, chances are your kids are picking up on it. Averting eyes, fear of speaking up, afraid to go out of your way to make new friends, not speaking your mind are all examples of the behavior of low confidence.

Breaking any bad habits you are struggling with is one great way to boost your confidence and realize your potential.

Check out this article I wrote on raising Confidence and Self-Esteem.

17. Lack of Manners

Kids will often pick up their parents’ manners. You might find yourself lecturing your child on having better manners. But the best way to teach your children is through example.

“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”

― Samuel Smiles, Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them

18. Not Apologizing

Teach your kids to be quick to apologize, and model apologizing to your kids when you make a mistake. The sooner we apologize, the more valuable the apology is for the other person.

19. Communication Skills

Strengthening your communication skills is not just for professionals. The benefits of learning better ways of communicating with others can improve relationships, reduce conflict, increase confidence, develop better problem-solving skills, develop listening skills, and more!

Just getting started? Check out my article on 5 Gentle Assertiveness Tips For Beginners.

20. Poor Stress Management Skills (SO IMPORTANT!)

'Stress' written roughly on white paper with a red coloring pencil.

This is the most important habit on the 20 bad habits list. Why? Because the majority of the bad habits we pick over time we use to alleviate stress. If we do not know how to handle our stress properly, we continue to use the only tools that we know.

That may be smoking, eating, swearing, yelling, social media scrolling, etc.

Try better ways of stress relief such as practicing daily meditation, drinking water, taking a break, practicing a breathing exercise, etc. When you do this, you will be modeling to your children how to handle stress better.

If you can work persistently to keeping your stress levels low you will be a much happier parent.

Final Thoughts on 20 Bad Habits For Moms to Ditch This Year

When attempting to break any bad habit, managing your stress is going to be your best support. Many of these bad habits tend to present themselves when we are too tired or too stressed.

It’s never too late to change your habits. Put a strategy into place to confront your bad habit straight on. Be devoted to improving yourself. With time and dedication, you will advance towards your goals while modeling your improved habits for your children. And that reward is priceless.   

Author: Tiphany Janik
Self-Care Coach For Moms

Are you a stressed-out mom? If so, grab this free 12-page self-care kit here to help you de-stress in 2023. As a mom, I’ve been stressed out, burned out, and I wanted out. I get it. The tools and strategies I share in this kit and throughout Best Self Mom have helped moms all over the world revolutionize their self-care and bring out their best self. If you are ready to show up for your family like never before, let’s chat!

Related Articles:

64 Positive Affirmations for Mothers: Reduce Stress, Improve Your Mood

Are you an Overwhelmed Stay-at-home Mom? (11 Tips to Avoid Burnout)

How to Stop Jumping to Conclusions (for Negative Thinkers) + Bonus Worksheet!


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31 Responses

  1. I appreciate the point you made about bad habits being the result of stress. That is so true! My stress-eating is totally out of control sometimes. Thanks for your helpful tips and reminders.

  2. You covered so many important bad habits which not only affect our children but affect our physical and emotional wellbeing! Breaking these types of bad habits goes beyond lessons about lying or gossiping and into the realm of simply being a respectful, responsible adult. I feel like my kids are a reflection of me in some ways and the things they stumble over are often the things I stumble over. My older son tends to get upset when things aren’t perfect and every time he does, my husband turns to look at me because this is something I’ve often struggled with. But as you mentioned, cutting these bad habits out now gives our kids a model for how to live their lives and how to deal with something in their own lives. Great post – thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Same here Amanda! My kids are getting older and the things they struggle with are the same things we do. I think its a great opportunity to see what we can work on together. I can’t share advice with my kids on how to control my anger for example, if I haven’t learned to manage it myself. Thank you for your wonderful comment!

  3. You made so many great points in this post. I agree poor stress management skills are the cause of so many of our bad habits because most of us weren’t taught (or shown) a better way. So hopefully we can break our own bad habits and break the cycle before passing them onto our kids. Loved your tips and your website’s focus.

    1. I agree whole heartedly! And be kind to ourselves in the process too, because I know I would want my kids to be kind to themselves as well.

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