Parenting is no walk in the park. You’re entirely responsible for another human, one who is trying to figure out how things work. To add extra degrees of difficulty, every child has different parenting needs and everyone has an opinion about how you’re supposed to parent them. While the jury is out on several topics, there are a few problematic myths that have been perpetuated over the years.
Kids Are Resilient
How many times have you heard that kids are resilient? The truth is that resilience isn’t necessarily an inherent characteristic–it’s developed. Resiliency, or the ability to overcome significant difficulties, is a valuable characteristic.
The problem is that it can be used as a way to dismiss real problems children have. Simply saying that kids are resilient dismisses their problems instead of addressing them. That can cause more issues later on. It’s a lot better to address any trauma kids experience while they’re still young. Interestingly enough, that may help them develop some resilience
So many of us were taught about stranger danger when we were little. While there are certainly bad actors out there who are more than happy to take advantage of children they don’t know, there’s a good chance that the danger is a lot closer to home.
In cases of sexual abuse, children know their abuser in 80% of cases. You don’t have to teach your child to be wary of everyone. That could lead to paranoia and mental illness. Instead, teach them about boundaries and what to do if they find themselves in a bad situation.
Spanking Is Okay
Spanking was a common punishment years ago. Many who hear that spanking is bad will brush it off by saying that they were spanked as a kid and turned out okay. That justification doesn’t fly though. Spanking causes multiple issues that can last for years. Instead of punishing bad behavior with spanking, consider more productive alternatives such as time out, natural consequences, and recognizing and rewarding positive behavior. Remember, a lot of what kids do is motivated by their desire for attention and interaction. Make it happen because of something good.
Figuring out what parenting advice is myth and what has its roots based in fact isn’t easy. Some people will tell you that there isn’t a right or wrong way to parent, but that simply isn’t true. Sure, there are a lot of things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things–breastfeeding vs formula and disposable diapers vs washable ones, among others. Some parenting issues do matter though. Think carefully about the impact your words and actions have on your child and let that guide how you interact with them.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Here’s more to read: What to Do Before You and Your Partner Decide to Have a Baby