We get it, parenting is not easy, but what makes it harder is all the misinformation you hear. There are so many myths about parenting that you may have heard from family and friends. You’ll be surprised you believed them after reading this; I know I'm guilty of this! So here are my favorite misconceptions that we will debunk to set the record straight.
Myth: Picking up your baby too much or when they cry will spoil them.
Fact: Can you spoil a newborn? No, you can't. Your baby needs to know you will respond to his needs. So, if picking up your baby calms him down, then you need to do that. There is no such thing as snuggling or holding your newborn too much. When they are newborns, they need that snuggle time, after all, they spent 9 months cozily held inside. After your baby is 6 months, you can cut back a bit.
Myth: Breastfed babies are smarter than bottle-fed babies.
Fact: Even if we have the most optimistic view about breastfeeding, the impact on your child’s IQ is small. What is more important is that your baby doesn’t go hungry because their IQ will go down if they aren’t getting the milk they need.
Myth: Babies who walk and talk early are the brighter ones in their age group.
Fact: Every child grows at their own pace, and while babies can walk and talk early, this doesn't put them ahead of their peers.
Myth: The ‘terrible twos’ are undeniably terrible.
Fact: The terrible twos are only terrible if you're not prepared. To make it more manageable, you need to set clear limits, offer choices, and aim to minimize situations where you have to squash rebellions. Your child is reaching an exciting point where he's learning to be independent and create his own identity, so you need to encourage his newfound independence.
Myth: Your child learns the most before the age of 5.
Fact: While it’s true that little kids are capable of learning and retaining a wealth of information, that doesn’t mean they won’t learn past the age of 5. Parents shouldn’t pressure their children to master certain skills by a specific age, while it may be easier, they can still learn in other ways.
Myth: Sugar makes kids hyper.
Fact: This is my personal favorite. Believe it or not, there is no scientific evidence to support this belief. Any food that affects blood sugar levels can create an adrenaline rush. That leads to the 'burst of energy' parents see. That effect can be alleviated with fiber which pipes everything into the bloodstream at a steady pace. If you have kids that get hyped up with sugar, pair it with fiber to dull the effect.
Myth: You shouldn’t bribe your kids.
Fact: Let's first understand the meaning of bribe. A bribe is an incentive you offer in exchange for bad behavior and is usually unplanned to get yourself out of a situation, whereas, a reward is an incentive you plan out and offer in exchange for good behavior. Having clarified that, if you offer your child treats, money, or other incentives for chores, good grades, or anything else you believe is the right thing to do, then by all means, don't feel guilty about it. There should be a balance though, rewarding your child for every little thing they do conditions them to expect it every time, but if used wisely, can be a great tool for a parent.
Myth: Sitting too close to the TV will damage your kids’ vision.
Fact: Not true, however, looking and fixing your eyes on one spot for a long time, especially if it’s close, can affect the eyes. To avoid eye strain let your kids look in the distance at regular intervals.
Myth: Fighting in front of your kids is a bad idea.
Fact: Children pick up on everything (in case you didn't notice). Trying not to fight in front of your kids but having the tension around them will not go unnoticed. If you start a fight, you need to show your kids how you resolve it rather than let them wonder what's going on behind closed doors. It's even better if you can have an open dialogue as a disagreement and emerge with warm feelings for each other to implant better coping skills, problem-solving, and emotional security in your children.
Myth: You can rely on your maternal instincts.
Fact: Not always, maternal instinct can quite often be maternal anxiety. I’m not saying dismiss your gut feelings, intuition is a real thing, but we cannot be in touch with our inner wisdom when we are anxious. If you have a strong feeling about something, by all means, pay attention to it. Just don't rely on it blindly.
Are you surprised by the facts? I know I was when I read about some of these myths, and to be honest, I am guilty of believing some of them. As parents, we are constantly learning and sharing, a parent always wants to tell another parent how to be better, but it's good to do your research and not always believe what you hear.