A Dozen Common Parenting Myths and the Truths Behind Them
March 18, 2013 | in Nannies
Kids don’t come with an instructional manual, but their introduction into the world does tend to encourage everyone from loved ones to perfect strangers to offer a barrage of unsolicited advice. While all of the advice you’re offered will come from people with good intentions, only a portion of it will actually be correct. These are 12 of the parenting myths that you’re likely to encounter at some point during your parenting career, and the truth behind them.
- Parenting Will Come Naturally – Before your child is born, anxieties regarding your ability to parent properly are absolutely normal. Expressing these fears will prompt most people to explain to you that parental instincts will magically kick in the moment a baby is placed in your arms, but that’s simply not true. There will be a learning curve, and it’s perfectly natural to still feel anxious long after your baby is born.
- All Babies Will Sleep Though the Night Within Six Months – Sleep training is a hot-button topic in the parenting community, but the myth that all babies will learn to sleep through the night by a certain age is widespread. In truth, every baby is different. Some will sleep all night from a far younger age, while others take longer to learn how to self-soothe.
- Teething Causes High Fever and Intestinal Problems – Vomiting, diarrhea and high fevers are all considered common symptoms of teething, but they’re not actually correlated. It is important to remember, however, that a high fever is always cause to contact your pediatrician.
- As Long as You Love Your Kids, They’ll Be Fine – Prevailing wisdom among many parents holds that all your child needs is plenty of love and affection, but they also need boundaries and a routine. No matter how much you love your children, you’ll still need to actively parent.
- Good Parents are Always Patient – It is important to maintain a certain level of patience with your child, but it’s also important to remember that you’re still human. Becoming a parent won’t instill superhuman levels of patience, so don’t beat yourself up if you slip from time to time.
- Cereal Makes Babies Sleep Through the Night – The idea that a full stomach will help your child sleep through the night leads parents to believe that they should feed their little one cereal before bedtime. The World Health Organization recommends that babies be exclusively fed breast milk for the first year of life.
- Good Parents are Their Child’s Best Friend – No matter how much you want to be your child’s friend, it’s important to remember that they need you to be a parent. The right decision for your child may not always be one that a friend would make, but your job is to be a strong parental figure.
- You Know Your Child Better Than Anyone – You may know your child’s likes and dislikes more thoroughly than anyone else, but you could be surprised by the behavior they exhibit when your back is turned. When teachers and childcare providers bring behavioral problems or difficult habits to your attention, it’s best to keep an open mind. Even if you don’t think your child could behave in such a manner, the side of him that you know at home may be greatly different from his public persona.
- Ice Baths Bring Down Dangerously High Fevers – When your child has a high fever, your first course of action should be contacting a medical professional. An ice bath may cool the surface of your child’s skin, but the resultant shivering can actually raise his core body temperature.
- Sitting Too Close to the TV Will Damage a Child’s Eyes – Parents have worried that sitting too close to the television would cause blindness since TVs were invented, but there’s actually no medical credence to these ubiquitous warnings.
- A Parent’s Job is to Make Kids Happy – Providing everything your child asks for, showering him with gifts and making sure that he never faces any sort of adversity might make him happy in the moment, but it’s also a very effective way of introducing him to a false sense of entitlement.
- Your Child Deserves the Best – Your child certainly deserves the best you can give her in terms of affection, care and parenting. She doesn’t, however, need luxury items and expensive gifts at every turn. Instilling a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for earning rewards through hard work is good parenting, regardless of the implication that a parent who loves their child will spare no expense.
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