Caring for Family

Part 1: Common Parenting Myths Dispelled

Part 1: Common Parenting Myths Dispelled

As a parent, you'll come into contact with a lot of misinformation and confusing opinions. While some ideas about proper parenting are widespread, ultimately they don't hold much water. Here are some of the most common parenting myths and the truths behind them.

Myth: You'll "spoil" your baby by picking her up when she cries. The truth: Giving your child attention when she cries is not going to spoil her. Responding to your child's cries is an important way to establish trust. While you may slowly begin to pull back a bit and not rush to his side as he gets older, your child still needs to know that you'll always be there when he needs you.

Myth: If your child isn't walking or talking early, they'll never be advanced. The truth: While these skills may seem extremely important at this stage, in the long road of life they are usually just minor side notes. Unless your child is significantly delayed, the precise age that these events occur has no discernable bearing on later life skills or intelligence. Your child's pediatrician will look for developmental milestones during well visits and if you have concerns, this is a good time to ask about them.

Myth: Your child's needs must always come first. The truth: While it's certainly true that your child's needs are important, often above your own, it's also important to attend to your own needs. It's OK to enjoy a day of pampering or a night out with friends. Parenthood can put stress on your relationship with your partner. Remember, you need adult time together to keep your relationship strong, so don't feel bad about asking someone you trust to take care of your child for a few hours. Strengthening your bonds, as a couple, will help you both be better caregivers in the long run.

Myth: Good parents never lose their cool with their children. The truth: We're human. Despite your best intentions, you're going to have some bad days and you may occasionally become frustrated with your child. That's OK, and it doesn't make you a bad parent. It is important to be as calm as possible with your child, and to support this you may need to learn some anger management skills or other parenting tools. Don't beat yourself up over the occasional outburst, but learn ways to channel frustrations more effectively in the future.

Myth: Parenting will just come naturally once you have a child. The truth: Everyone knows that reading baby books and attending classes is important when preparing for a newborn, but many new parents expect that everything will just fall into place. The truth is, at times, parenting can be challenging, and each stage of your child's life requires different skills. It's not always easy to know what to do, so seek out advice from those who have experience, such as your child's pediatrician. He or she can answer any questions and offer sound advice about improving your parenting skills as your child grows.