We have all heard the different advice about parenting. How to take care of our kids, what to feed them, and so on. How much of that advice is actually good advice though? There are a lot of myths about parenting out there and I thought I would clear them up for you so you can feel better about what you are doing.
Myth #1: Your Feet Grow A Full Size While You Are Pregnant
No one will doubt that when you are pregnant your feet swell and you may even go up a half size or so in shoes, but they don’t actually grow. The swelling in your feet may cause permanent changes because the swelling causes stretching of the muscles, bones, and skin in your feet. Think about what happened to your stomach while you were pregnant, and you never expected it to go right back to normal, right?
Myth #2: You Will Spoil Your Baby If You Hold Him Too Much or Pick Him Up When He/she Cries
The truth is that you cannot spoil your baby. In fact, holding your baby and picking him up when he cries is essential to his development. Babies learn that when they cry they get picked up, changed, fed, or whatever else they need. At this stage they are learning trust and if you ignore his cries, he will struggle with trust more and more as time goes on. At about 6 months you can start letting him cry for a little longer before you rush to his side.
Myth #3: Having A Baby Will Ruin Your Sex Life
Ok, if this were true, every child would be an only child. Having a baby does change things, but it doesn’t ruin your sex life. You may not be able to be spontaneous and have sex whenever you want, but there are plenty of opportunities. It will take some time after having a baby for mom to get the all clear for sex, but once she has that just take your time and don’t pressure each other. If you are having trouble, just find different ways of getting that spark back.
Myth #4: Kids Who Walk And Talk Early Are The Smartest
This is simply not true. Every child develops at their own pace and walking and talking have nothing to do with IQ. Walking and talking have more to do with muscle development and coordination of movement than IQ, so just because a child walks early doesn’t mean they are a genius.
Myth #5: The Terrible Two’s
I am sure you have heard all about it, the terrible two’s and tantrums that come along with it. The fact is that yes, around the time your child turns two things will change and potentially get more difficult, but if you are prepared, it can make life so much easier. The reason that this time is so challenging is because your child is developing his or her own personality. They are learning that they have control over certain things and they want to control everything they can. Because of this they will test you and try to get you to let them control everything. You can make this transition easier if you set clear limits and let your toddler have some control. For example, offer choices instead of demanding something. So, instead of “do you want to get your pajamas on?” say “do you want the red or blue pajamas tonight?” Offering choices gives them the illusion that they have control.
Myth #6: Sugar Makes Kids Hyper
There is no scientific proof to prove that this is the case. Each child will react to sugar differently, so it is possible that your child reacts one way while another child reacts differently. I have actually written about this myth before, on The Sticky Apron.
Myth #7: Bribing Your Child Is A Bad Idea
You don’t want to bribe your child all the time because then it isn’t really a bribe. However, if you occasionally bribe your child, it can work to your advantage. If you use it all the time, it looses it’s effectiveness, but if you want your child to sit through a funeral or siblings school play, it can help you get through these situations that don’t happen all too often.
Myth #8: You Shouldn’t Say “Because I Am Your Mother And I Said So”
How many times did your mother tell you this? How many times have you said it today? This is actually a great way to end an inappropriate negotiation. For example if your child is challenging you about a chore and they won’t stop, you can always say “because I am your mother and I said so” to end the conversation and get the chore done. I am not saying that this will stop all further conversation or will prevent mumbled hatred from your teenager, but it is just fine to use this phrase.
Myth #9: You Should Never Fight In Front Of Your Children
This one is not always true. If you have an argument and you can deal with it in a calm manner without yelling or shouting, it is actually good for your child to witness. These kinds of arguments teach your child valuable lessons about conflict resolution and healthy ways to argue. It also teaches them that everyone has differences and that even adults will argue, and that’s OK. However, we are all human and it’s not always easy to keep our voices down or avoid a heated argument. If you feel that this is one of those kinds of arguments, it is best if your kids don’t see it. Many times kids will blame themselves for their parents arguments, especially when they are heated and yelling is involved, plus the screaming can be scary for kids.
Myth #10: Rely On Your Maternal Instinct
You can’t always rely on your instinct. How many times have you worried about something and it’s just anxiety rather than instinct about what is happening? I am not saying that you shouldn’t follow your gut, I am just saying that you should realize that your gut isn’t always right.
Myth #11: Always Put Your Kids Needs Ahead Of Your Own
This is simply not true. I am sure you heard it yourself, how many times did you hear “enjoy your life now, because once you have kids, it’s over”? It is simply not true. Yes, your kids should be a high priority, but you can’t always put your kids needs ahead of your own. First of all, as your child get older, he will realize that he is not the most important person in the world and that there are other things that are important. Once you are finished or have time, you will attend to his needs. Also, if you are never first, you will get burnt out and not enjoy being a parent.
Myth #12: You Should Treat Each Child The Same
It is not possible to always treat your children the same. Usually the older child has more chores and responsibilities while also having more privileges than the younger child. This is not treating your children the same, but at the same time it is completely fair.
There are many more myths about parenting out there and maybe one day I will do a part 2 to this post. These are just the 12 most common ones that I have heard many times.
Have you heard any other myths about parenting?