Baby

Turns Out These 11 Common Parenting Tips Are Actually Really Terrible

by Risa Kerslake

Photograph by Twenty20

Let’s be honest, raising kids is a crapshoot and none of us know what the hell we’re doing. Still, people love to give out advice. Some of it is very, very good advice such as “put your baby to sleep on their back” and “buckle them rear-facing in the car.” But some of it is very, very, very bad. And yet we keep passing this very terrible advice around for the simple reason being that it’s what many of our parents were told.

But when we know better, we can do better, right? So, please, do parents everywhere a favor and let's just stop spreading some of those awful parenting tips we all know need to be buried deep deep down, among the lost Cheerios and Goldfish crackers.

1. “Don’t keep picking her up! You’ll spoil her!”

It may seem obvious, but this warning still exists from well-meaning seasoned parents. You can never hold a baby too much—we know that. Well, turns out there is nothing wrong with holding your 2-year- old—or your 4-year-old—too much, either. Any additional love we can give them in a world full of fear and hurt has to be a good thing.

2. “You could make your life a whole lot easier if you use formula sometimes.”

At first glance, this seems like advice grounded in love. But it’s disheartening for moms who really do want to breastfeed or pump and need the continued support. Regardless, it puts a ton of pressure on moms that could be prevented just by having an actual conversation of what her wishes are.

3. “If you ignore them, they’ll leave you alone.”

This doesn’t work on adults, so why would it work on children? Puh-lease.

4. “Have more kids, so you always have a babysitter!”

Just … no. No.

5. “Lie to your kids when it’s too hard to explain something.”

The dog went to go live on a farm? The stork came and dropped off the baby? You don’t have to tell them every detail, but what you say to kids should be the truth. Kids can handle things more than we think they can when we put them in simple terms they can understand.

People without kids say this all the time.

6. “Always tell your kids how smart they are to build them up.”

We want the best for our children and seeing them fail crushes us. But the thing is, telling them they’re smart just enforces the idea that the things they do in life is determined by who they are inside, rather than hard work and practice. When kids fall short, they think they’re not good enough, when in reality, it’s something they just need to work at.

7. “Never bargain with your kids.”

People without kids say this all the time.

8. “Keep the house quiet when the baby is sleeping.”

You’ll find yourself spending the next three years tiptoeing around your own damn house during nap time.

9. “Tell your kids to eat everything on their plates.”

There are starving kids in Africa, am I right? Or could we possibly be setting up our kids for the habit of overeating?

10. “Make your kids give hugs and kisses to show affection to relatives.”

Parents of this generation are becoming more knowledgeable in an age of sexual abuse awareness. Yes, kids can show affection, but it should always be on their terms and no one should be forced to hug or kiss anyone they don’t want to. Again, we do this as adults, yet don’t hold the same expectations of our children.

11. “Keep a very strict routine.”

I’ll be honest, I heard this one a lot when I was pregnant. While it’s true babies thrive on routine, mixing life up for them a bit gives parents the freedom to, you know, live life, and teaches kids from a young age that stuff happens and we need to adjust to it.

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