Parenting is considered one of the most challenging, stressful, yet overwhelming jobs. Societal pressures and ancestor’s child-rearing theories in our culture have created a lot of stress for parents and we’ll have started to believe many parenting myths.
Raising kids is not an easy job. Parenting practices reflect the cultural understanding of the children. It promotes the physical, emotional, and cognitive development of children.
Many misconceptions about parenting or the pervasive parenting myths have made the job harder than simplifying it. There are many things we repeat as they were told to us, without even thinking about the myths of parenting that are just not true.
At some point, in the role of parenting, we all get caught up in the trap of holding to unrealistic expectations. It is essential that we must start debunking all these parenting myths and start lifting each other.
15 Myths About Parenting
Here are some of the parenting myths that have been passed on as you grew up.
1. The “twos” are indeed terrible?
It is a myth that two-year-old kids are terrible, they are terrible only if you are unprepared. Parents perceive this age as terrible because a two-year-old seems moody, eager to do things on their own, can have tantrums, and misbehave which is difficult for parents to handle. But, if parents have clear limits, expectations and are prepared like age-appropriate activities, consistency, etc., it will help them to handle the terrible two.
Children at the age of two are more likely to have tantrums, stubborn, childish, and argumentative so handling can be quite hard. But, always look on the positive side and try to understand your children’s feelings and emotions. In place of making commands, offer limited choices and let your child have some control over her life.
Hence, for handling two kids, try to make things manageable and set limits and boundaries for them.
2. Strict Parents Raise a Well-Behaved Child.
It is one of the common myths of parenting. Strict parents will possibly raise a child who looks well-behaved but is rigid and stubborn. Research has shown that authoritative parents are more likely to produce a child with lower self-esteem and act out than other kids.
Strict parents tend to place high demands and standards on their children, suffocating and controlling. The more you become strict, the more children try to escape from the situation, and in some cases, they might go out of control.
Strict parents are unresponsive, demanding, and unsupportive; these behaviors of the parents cause children to be more rebellious and vulnerable. It only makes your child grow into a disrespectful person.
For children to open up and share their feelings, it is unnecessary to be strict and unsupportive; it is more about being responsive and interacting back and forth. Being less harsh on your children will increase their self-esteem and confidence in your child.
3. A Slap on the bottom never hurt anyone.
It is a myth about parenting that by spanking your kids, you will raise a well-behaved kid. Well, they are scared of getting hit, and as a result, they don’t open up, hide their emotions and start to lie. The more you try to discipline your children by slapping or spanking, they are more inclined towards hiding destructive behaviors and escaping.
4. You’ll lose control if any misbehavior is not responded with a firm hand.
It’s not possible to respond to every misbehavior. As the children grow, their annoying behaviors are never-ending and constantly changing. So, it is always not possible to respond with a firm hand. Every situation is driven by mood, be it yours or your children.
The vital thing to know is that your children know what you mean by business and act accordingly. It is not always good to handle any situation with a firm hand but stand firm when you decide.
According to Anthony Wolf, Ph.D., “What do children respond to is, does my parent at this moment mean it?” He believes that behaviors are flexible and are not meant to be kept under your family rule book. It is a myth that you’ll lose control, but it is essential to handle every situation wisely.
5. Do kids go hyper on sugar?
Sugar is not linked to hyperactivity, in support of this belief, there is no scientific proof. It’s just like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sugar in the diet doesn’t change the behavior of the children.
According to some studies, it’s just a parent’s perception that if they think sugar makes kids hyper, this will often happen, just like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not good having lots of sugar for their body, but it’s not the sugar that leads to hyperactivity. Sugar is not the culprit for kids going hyper.
6. Children get cold from the cold.
Getting cold from the cold is another worldwide myth. The main reason children catch cold is not from the cold but from the people suffering from a cold. It is just the parent’s perception that their children catch a cold from the cold. But the truth is it’s from the contact of people suffering from cold. So it is again a self-fulfilling prophecy.
According to results from National Poll on Children’s Health by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan, “52% of parents tell their child not go outside with wet hair, while 48% of parents encourage their child to stay indoors to avoid catching a cold.” Both the cold prevention strategies are mostly myths.
7. Sacrificing your needs for the child makes you a good parent.
Sacrificing your needs for children is one of the common myths of good parenting. It is essential to understand that both children and parents go hand in hand and go parallelly.
If you sacrifice your needs and mental health, then it indirectly affects your child’s development. Because your child looks up to you, you should be a role model for your children to be independent and self-reliant. Sacrificing your needs for the children you are affecting your child’s optimal development.
8. After the first three years, kid’s brains are “set” for life.
Growing and learning are part of our life. There will be new brain areas developing, being punctual, and active during the first three years.
Children indeed start learning basic survival skills like speaking, but it’s a myth to believe that the kid’s brain is set for life. More polished activities like learning piano, playing football are still yet to be learned. It is just a myth that arose from the power of the first few years.
9. Are young kids picky?
It is a myth to believe and is again one of the self-fulfilling prophecies. Every young child is not picky, it’s just a matter of taste. Some children spit up their food if it doesn’t suit their taste buds. The solution for this problem is to introduce the same food multiple times. At the same time, it’s essential to stay calm and make it seem more like a minor battle.
The other thing is if you are panicking that your child doesn’t want something and they might starve unless you give them their favorite food, then you are accommodating their pickiness and in the end create a self-fulfilling prophecy of a picky kid.
10. Parents should not fight in front of their kids.
Do not fight in front of your kids is one of the conditional truth myths. If you are fighting in front of your kids, it is crucial to resolve them so you don’t wonder what is happening behind you.
Fighting in front of your child maturely through calm, low-volume, and no harsh words then is acceptable. This way, your child will understand that it is a part of healthy adult relationships and knows how to resolve a fight with calmness.
Your fights can be frightening for your children, so if it’s going to be a heated argument, then it’s better not to fight in front of your children as it creates a harmful impact on your child’s mental health, hampering the child’s development.
11. With more explaining and talking, your children will do the right thing.
Children of age groups 2-7 don’t understand the concept of reasoning and logic. They do what they like; they don’t search for any logic. All they need is simplicity. Simple language to understand and concrete experiences.
If you keep on explaining to your children more and more, the less they listen to you. Any long lectures and explanations go above their head. What works the best is simplicity rather than explaining and talking more.
12. Sitting close to the TV damages the kid’s vision.
Sitting close doesn’t damage your kid’s vision but looking and concentrating our eyes on the same spot is the main reason behind it. Therefore, it is also one of the common myths.
It is the eye strain that weakens the vision of our eyes. If it’s close to us, it affects the vision. So a good idea to prevent eye strain is to look off in the distance.
But, if your child is sitting close to the TV because he cannot see from a far distance, you should see a Ophthalmologists.
13. Praising Kids makes them smarter.
According to Carol Dweck, professor of psychology, praising people for the process instead of the outcome will promote a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.
Praising children for their effort and process helps them succeed in school, work, and life. For instance, if you praise your children for scoring A in the subjects they like, they will avoid the more challenging subjects.
It’s essential to make sure that with effort and strategies, they are growing smarter instead of telling you they are brilliant.
14. Children need 24/7 protection.
The world is dangerous, but it’s not always practical to stay around and protect them. Instead, parents should provide knowledge on what is safe and dangerous and how to take care of themselves.
It is essential to give them a sense that they will be safe if they follow basic guidelines like being street-smart, taking good care of themselves, wearing bike helmets, etc.
If you always protect your children, they will be dependent on you, be fearful, and lower their confidence. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to shield your children from painful and bad experiences.
Many parents have a misconception that it’s a sign of bad parenting if you won’t protect your child from any harmful activities. Thus, it’s a myth that children need 24/7 protection because the world is dangerous.
15.Parenting comes naturally
No, parenting doesn’t come naturally, it’s clearly a myth. However, it’s essential to understand that you and your child are both growing at the same time because you were not a parent until your children were born.
It’s easy for people to believe that having children is a natural process and parenting comes naturally. But, as you grow and develop, you try to enhance and start learning good parenting techniques.
When you feel like you are struggling with parenting and children’s development, don’t hesitate. Try to reach out for trustworthy people, support, and resources for parenting advice.
Parenting is messy and chaotic. Most parents have expectations regarding parenting, but when those expectations are not met, not being able to adjust can contribute to depression and anxiety. The crucial thing is your guts and feelings, it’s better not to focus on other’s opinions.
So, I suggest you not believe in those parenting myths and believe in yourself. Then, if you know the difference between myths and realities, your parenting will boom.