When it comes to parenting, not all advice is created equal. As soon as you bring a tiny human in to the world, everyone you know, vaguely know, met once, or bump in to in the supermarket will be a child-rearing expert, and will want to impart their words of wisdom on you.
People mean well, of that there’s no doubt, but sometimes the advice is just a little unneeded, and in some cases, downright crazy.
You shouldn’t cuddle your child, it will spoil them
This one seems to be the most common – that somehow cuddling your baby, or small child “too much” will lead to them being spoilt. Of course, there doesn’t seem to be an empirical definition of what “too much” actually means; however, it does tend to be reserved for post-injury or tantrum cuddles.
When it comes to newborns, adherents to this belief are the first to suggest that by picking up your child every time they cry, they will learn to cry on demand. We’ve not seen any evidence that a two week old is capable of manipulation, so personally we think you’re probably OK to attend to your baby’s squeals for attention.
The reality is that cuddling leads to bonding, for both you and your baby. It can help relax all involved, and even if your child does seek you out for comfort, is that such a bad thing? If you are concerned that you can’t put your little one down, and haven’t showered for a week, then try wearing a sock or cloth under your clothing for a while. You can then give this to your child when you put them down, and they are likely to be comforted by your scent.
Ice cubes are great for teething
We all know that ice packs can help relieve some pain, so it’s not entirely illogical to think ice cubes could help with teething pain.
However, let’s just take a moment to think this one through.
Ice cubes present a serious choking hazard to young children in general, let alone small, teething toddlers. And no Grandma, they won’t just melt!
Instead try freezing your breast milk in to ice lollies, it a great way to help with teething and keeping them cool at the same time.
Children should do as they’re told, no questions asked
Don’t get us wrong, children should learn the importance of obedience and have a clear understanding of what is expected of them in any given situation; however, blindly following the “rules” without question? It’s a great idea if you want to raise robots.
The reality is that children learn to push boundaries within their family group, and that gives them the opportunity to respectfully challenge authority and leadership. Without these skills, learnt at any early age, there is every danger a child will fall victim to peer pressure in later life, unable to make their own decisions.
Why not try explaining your own values and decision making processes to your children, and letting them know when “no” means no, and when they can challenge you, and other people.
It’s just a phase
Whether it’s teething, colic, bed wetting, thumb sucking, temper tantrums, fighting, biting or playing truant for many the simple response to parental angst over a specific issue is to utter those four words: “it’s just a phase”.
Yes, in all honesty it is probably just a phase. Your eight month old will eventually cut teeth and the pain will stop. They will sleep through. Your three year old will learn to use the toilet and your sheets will be dry once more. These things do not last forever.
However, “it’s just a phase” is not helpful whilst you are stuck in the phase. To be honest, it’s non-advice. What on earth do you do with that? How does that help you cope with the “phase”?
Personally we think this phrase should be entirely banned!
What bad parenting advice have you been given?