10 Outdated Theories About Parenting

Written by Tinzley Margolin

A sleeping male baby with his arm extended

It turns out that conventional parenting techniques long heralded as law have often proven to be less than the ideal approach. What our parents, and their parents, held as child-raising gospel no longer holds water, according to many experts. Here are some examples of old ideas that are giving way to new discoveries – 10 outdated theories about parenting:

You may read Tinzley Magolin’s blog Nanny Flower’s Kids Blog by clicking here.

  1. Don’t pick the baby up every time she cries. – The philosophy behind this old theory holds that it will spoil the baby if she catches onto the fact that crying will garner your attention. Babies, in fact, do need your attention for one reason or another when they cry, and they need to know that you’ll be there for them when they do.
  2. Alcohol rubdowns reduce fevers. – They do not lower the baby’s temperature. To compound the error of this myth, the risk of absorption of alcohol into the baby’s skin poses an even greater danger than the fever itself.
  3. Immunizations weaken your baby’s immune system. – Your baby’s immune system will naturally develop antibodies against minor illnesses as he grows. However, immunizations against serious diseases protect the baby from experiencing their effects as opposed to enduring them (if they aren’t in fact fatal) just to develop a resistance to them.
  4. A strict feeding schedule is essential for your baby’s health. – Wrong. Doctors now agree that it’s best to allow the baby’s own hunger cues to dictate when they eat, rather than to feed her just because ‘it’s time’. Feeding on a schedule rather than on the baby’s cues can actually be unhealthy for her.
  5. An infant should be put to sleep on its stomach.  – The logic here was that the child would be less susceptible to choking on spit-up. However, evidence now indicates this sleeping position leads to higher incidents of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
  6. Too much sugar will make your kid hyper. – There is actually no evidence to support this theory. The truth is that some sugary foods lack the fiber that allows the sugar to be released gradually into the bloodstream. That, and not the sugar content itself, is the cause for your child’s energy burst.
  7. It’s wrong to answer: “Because I said so.” – Truth is, there are times when this is a valid answer to settle a debate that has otherwise been answered in detail. Once you’ve provided ample explanation as to why something is the way it is, ending your child’s protests by reminding him who’s the boss is perfectly OK.
  8. A child’s brain is fully developed by the age of 3. – There are some basic skills that a child will fully develop by that time, but her brain will continue to develop in some areas for years to come. Such things as personal interests, skills, and abstract thought appear later in life as a result of this continued development.
  9. “My baby deserves the best.” – Not so fast. There is a natural tendency for parents to want to provide everything they can for their children; however overindulgence and leniency can be far worse for them than letting them do without a few things from time to time. If you’re going to lavish them with anything, make it love.
  10. Parenting comes naturally. – It doesn’t take more than a brief glance at headlines to see the lie in this myth. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if it came naturally to you either. The truth is we all need to learn what does and doesn’t work in raising healthy children. There is no shame is seeking advice and assistance from qualified people.

This article intrigued me to attempt to answer some of those questions from a fathers and my own perspective, some of which I have no knowledge on and will only answer the ones I feel able to.

Don’t pick the baby up every time they cry.
We made this mistake with all of our little ones in the long run it would seem to make them cry for longer and become more needy early on.

I recently discovered that babies can communicate with sign language, this would mean that parents could communicate with baby rather than baby crying out in frustration, this is something we are going to try with our new addition to the family.

For more information on this topic please take a look at the Babies and Sign Language website.
Or simple watch this to be completely amazed.

Baby Molly signs impressively with an extensive vocabulary for a toddler that still can’t talk yet, at least not with spoken word!

Too much sugar will make your kid hyper.
Hmm does that include Apples and other natural sugars, I think that it is the manmade chemicals, preservatives and artificial sweeteners that are making the kids hyperactive, this is just a personal opinion, but seems an obvious one to point out.

Parenting comes naturally.
Does it Bo**ox.
As a new father I was scared out of my mind and had no idea what to do, how did I hold a baby, change it, erm! please stop that crying noise my brain hurts, in my humble and not very experienced opinion we should be taught parenting skills at school as then there would not be quite so many stressed out parents beating them selves up for making silly mistakes, the state needs to realise this and drastically change the public education system if they ever hope to tackle problems such as Anti Social Behaviour and learn to deal with ADHD etc.

It’s wrong to answer: “Because I said so.”
Poor ole Mum often starts to get stressed out with the kids especially at bed time as they share a room and talk and talk and talk.
Dad most nights has to pounce up the stairs and firmly and loudly tell them enough is enough, carry on the laptops are gone!.

That is my two pence for today thanks for reading, Stu.

Thanks to 10 Outdated Theories About Parenting- Written by Tinzley Margolin. on Risa’s Blog.

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6 comments

  1. amras888 · April 5, 2012

    I remember not being picked up. I remember being a baby and find it incredible that folk don’t. It was uncomfortable and frustrating. I needed mom after a bad dream, and from my cot I could hear her voice coming from the next room. But I just had to cry to exhaustion. I was about six months old, and she never comforted me again until a few days before she died. But such were the mores of Catholicism. They were good people, misled by Rome. Fortunately, in my life I found much happiness elsewhere, and I’m cool.

  2. I liked everything about this but #7, especially if the kid is very sensitive. I heard that to the point that it became abuse. 😦

  3. Pingback: Hyper-parenting « The Koala Neighbour

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