Caring for Family

Part 2: Common Parenting Myths Dispelled

Part 2: Common Parenting Myths Dispelled

Let's continue addressing some of the most common misconceptions when it comes to parenthood and your child.

Myth: Never tell your child "No." The truth: Setting limits are important to establish clear expectations from your child. It's OK to tell your child that certain behaviors are unacceptable. But, try to avoid using a harsh or aggressive tone when using the word no. Remember, this is about establishing limitations, not scolding your child. Even at a young age you may need to correct behaviors such as hair pulling or biting. Be sure to correct the behavior calmly, but clearly, to prevent feeding into attention-seeking through these methods.

Myth: Baby videos can help your child learn sooner. The truth: While video programs specifically geared toward helping children learn have been proven effective in older children, there are no known benefits for children age 2 and younger. In fact, there is some evidence that video exposure for children younger than 2 years can lead to delays in language progression. Try to avoid allowing your child to watch videos before this age, but don't worry if they occasionally glance over at the screen while you're having family time.

Myth: Sugar makes kids hyper. The truth: There are a lot of reasons to limit excess sugar in both your child's diet and your own — but causing hyperactivity is not one of them. This myth is likely caused by the activities that typically surround consuming sugary treats such as birthday parties, special visits or Halloween. These events are often exciting, and your child may seem to have lost his or her mind, but it's not the sugar that's to blame. So don't worry if grandma insists on the occasional cookie, as long as it's part of a healthy diet.

Myth: All kids are picky eaters. The truth: Our children learn many of their eating habits from us. When they see us enjoying certain foods, they naturally want to try these foods as well. Much of the picky eater myth is caused by certain foods being simply easier to prepare and take with you. While all children have certain preferences, the more you offer healthy foods, the more healthy foods your child will eat. Keep in mind that tastes may change for many children, even day-to-day. Just because your child didn't like carrots yesterday doesn't mean he or she won't like them today. The important thing is to keep trying and offering a variety of healthy foods.

Myth: Never fight with your partner in front of your child. The truth: As long as you are both able to sort out your differences in a calm, constructive manner, disagreements are not something you need to hide from your child. In fact, seeing how you work out these differences in a blame-free manner can help your child as they learn to deal with situations where they do not agree with others. However, if fighting cannot be done in a respectful manner, then it may be best to do this someplace away from your child.