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The Debunked Parenting Myths That People Still Somehow Believe

Reddit user BITE_AU_CHOCOLAT asked: 'What's a disproven parenting myth that way too many people still believe?'

Baby on back in their crib
Photo by Alex Bodini on Unsplash

Some haters will disagree, but parenting is hard. Every parent is going to experience their journey differently from the next parent, and it stands to reason that they're going to make some differing decisions, too.

But some decisions are made based on facts while others are made based on old wives' tales and myths, some of which have long since been debunked.

Because that's how Grandma did it and how Mom did it, some of these myths are trying their best to stand the test of time!

Redditor BITE_AU_CHOCOLAT asked:

"What's a disproven parenting myth that way too many people still believe?"

Allergy Prevention

"To prevent allergies, avoid giving your child these foods until they are much older…"

"It has been proven over and over again that exposing your child to traditionally allergy-prone foods in very small amounts when they are younger drastically reduces allergy potential. Even to the point of doing so in utero."

- UsesCommonSense

Instant Maturity

"Having a kid will cause someone to step up or straighten out or grow up or mature, etc."

- Exploding_Muffin

"I have a family member that tried this. He and his girlfriend were addicts. They specifically decided that they should try to get pregnant as motivation to stop doing drugs. It didn't work."

- HoopOnPoop

Nonverbal, Not Deaf

"That nonverbal kids don’t understand what you say. This one is common in the autism community."

- Kwyjibo68

"I work in dementia care. Lord knows this isn’t the truth for either population."

"A lady I took care of several years ago was thought to be nonverbal and beyond the ability to understand speech. We were changing her one night, and she looked at me and said, 'When does school start back?'"

"Clear as a bell. I was in college at the time."

- bookishkelly1005

No Spoiled Newborns

"You can not spoil a newborn. Their brain is still quite underdeveloped, and actually, by refusing to answer their calls, you can give them self-regulation issues as they develop without that safety in processing new stimuli."

"Edited to Add: I said newborn because I meant newborns. Not babies that need to be practicing lifting their head, etc. There are people who start fussing at parents about this as soon as they bring their newborn home, forgetting that this baby is experiencing everything BRAND NEW, and needs a safety system."

"And also I did raise two humans, and I very much remember being a new mom."

- TinyGreenTurtles

The Power of Multilingualism

"That a child shouldn’t be exposed to a second (or third) language until having mastered their native language. I’ve heard this so many times from people who have no idea about multilingualism."

- lrbdad626

"My sister's first language is English, and her husband's is Spanish. They're both bilingual and speak both languages in their household."

"My sister remembers her daughter noticing when they switched between languages when she was well under a year old. She'd be watching them intently and do a little startle when they switched. Kids' receptive language develops earlier than a lot of people realize."

- dorky2

Dads Are Parents, Too

"Dads are more than babysitters."

"It's been 20+ years since I was a single father, but the attitudes towards men and parenthood haven't changed as much as they should have."

"Don't ask a dad if he is giving mom a break today. Don't assume dad doesn't know how to settle down their child. Don't stare at Dad at the park when Dad is there with his kid(s). And for god's sake, can businesses install a change table in the men's washroom!"

- keiths31

"Oh yeah, this p**ses me off to no end. And no matter how many times we tell the school not to, they will ONLY call my wife if there is some issue during the day. She is 100% unavailable during the day, while I WFH (work from home) and can come deal with anything at a moment's notice."

"Once, my poor kid sat in the infirmary for two hours because they were waiting for mom to return their call. Finally, she herself piped up and said, 'Can you try calling my dad instead?' and I was there five minutes later. You would think they would eventually learn but nope... still happens to this day."

- dcmcderm

Why Is Comfort So Taboo?

"Picking up your baby too much will spoil them. For f**k's sake… pick up a crying child and meet their needs. Sometimes it's just a need for comfort and bonding with their caretaker."

- laurenderson

Disturbing Gender Norms

"Daughters are nightmares and sons are so easy to raise."

"The really disturbing part is women seem to believe this more than men."

- lilymunsterisaqueen

Best Practices, Who?

"That there is anything even remotely approaching a consensus on best practices when it comes to raising a child. I've only been a parent for five months and the sheer volume of confident, authoritative, and completely contradictory advice I've received has been staggering."

"As best as I can tell, just work on keeping them healthy, secure, and loved, and try to muddle your way through as best you can on rest."

- liebkartoffel

Don't Let Regret Run the Show

"I'm an older parent. In my opinion, a lot of who the kids grow up to become is simply them. For the kids who turn out well or don't, people will look back and think, 'If I had only done this more often!' and pass it off as advice."

"Parents shouldn't beat themselves up. Don't traumatize the kids. Don't spoil them. Support them in their interests. Outside of that, just let them become who they will become and enjoy the ride. It's a shorter run than you think at the time."

"At some point, we as a society may find that electronics are bad, something in our food is a problem, lack of interaction is an issue, etc. but as an individual parent, it's really hard to swim against the stream. It's fine to research and take reasonable steps to avoid this but I see too many young parents totally overwhelmed with advice and data."

- fish1900

Breaking the Cycle

"That all parents, specifically mothers, have an instinct that will kick in eventually and your child will be your world."

"Mine told me from a very early age that I wasn't the kid she'd wanted, I was ugly, fat, whatever. I finally ended things completely this year when she told me she's always hated me and never wanted me. I needed the closure."

"She made my life h**l, especially since she had two kids after me that she loves."

"My daughter hasn't ever been shouted at (by that, I mean raising my voice), hurt, or made to feel like less than the wonderful person she is. I suppose I can thank my mother for showing me how not to be."

- earthtomanda

Not the Same AT ALL

​"That love, respect, and fear are the same thing. They're f**king not."

- LaliMaia

"'Is it better to be loved or feared?"

"'I want my kids to be afraid of how much they love me.' from Michael Scott's School of Parenting (on 'The Office')."

- Millerisabast**dMan

Not In Debt

"This destructive myth that we are OWED respect and love from our kids. NOPE!"

"They are attached to us, yes, but love and respect are earned. Fear is not respect; guilt is not love; we chose to have kids, they had no say in the matter. It is incumbent upon us to reach them by mirroring the behaviors we value."

- I_wear_foxgloves

"This goes hand in hand with some parents thinking their kids owe them anything in return for meeting their basic needs. You see this especially when children become adults."

"Parents telling their adult children, 'You owe me X because I fed you and gave you a roof over your head.' It’s utter bulls**t. Your child never signed a contract saying that in order to be born, they owe you something in the future."

"Keeping a child safe, providing food and water, a roof over their head, etc… those are basic needs that your child deserves. If you aren’t prepared to provide those things, don’t become a parent. Your kids don’t owe you anything, not as children and not as adults. Respect is earned and not bought. A child’s relationship with their parent(s) is not transactional."

- CatmoCatmo

Public vs. Private

"That you can tell if a stranger is a good parent by how their kid behaves in a random instance you happen to observe."

- JuniorPomegranate9

Resilience as an Excuse

"Kids are resilient and will get over stuff without it correctly being addressed."

"No, we remember everything In our tiny and impressionable brains."

- Pleasant_Tooth_2488

The misconceptions presented here are truly heartbreaking in some cases and mind-boggling in others.

It's hard to unlearn behaviors and what we thought were facts, yes, but if we want to be better people, and better parents, we absolutely have to figure out how to do it.

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