12 Parenting Myths and Misconceptions

Myth # 1

Parenting comes naturally after you become a parent.

Though there is something called a parental gut instinct, parenting is not a natural skill. Every parent has to learn on the job, making mistakes along the way. Mistakes make you learn your job better. They matter only if you keep repeating them.

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Myth # 2

A child only needs love.

Love is a much used and misused word in our culture. It means different things to different people. What children really need is attuned attention. They require emotional availability and support.

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Myth # 3

Too much love spoils a child.

There is no such thing as too much love. There can be too much indulgence, which surely spoils a child, but too much love is an oxymoron. At a deeper level, every human being looks for love and approval, including the parents, because each person is deprived of unconditional love.

Myth # 4

Parents have all the answers.

Parents can’t possibly know everything there is to know. No parent has all the answers. Parents should not put too much pressure on themselves or have unreasonable expectations from themselves.

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Myth # 5

No one knows a child better than the parents.

While parents may know more about a child’s food and sleep habits, mostly their view is limited and biased towards their child. Teachers and other people, who see a range of kids, can have an objective view of your child. So, if someone makes an observation about your child, do not ignore it. Children often exhibit different personalities when not at home.

Myth # 6

Parents know what is best for their children.

Most parents take their role too seriously, feeling completely responsible for their offspring’s welfare. They consider it their duty to guide their children in all aspects of their lives, because they think they know what is best for their children. But the truth is that we can never know what is ‘best’ for another being, including our children.

Myth # 7

Children should be stopped from crying.

If a child is upset and wants to cry, it is a natural response – as natural as it is to laugh, be angry, sad, hurt or jealous. Parents must show patience with a child’s emotional processes and not dismiss them with words such as “you will be fine.’ Or ‘stop crying like a baby.’ Parents must never trivialize a child’s emotions.

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Myth # 8

Babies get spoiled if you pick them up whenever they cry.

If a baby calms down when you pick her up, it means that she needed to be picked up at that time. Contrary to the popular belief, the child develops confidence and trust in you when you respond to their needs, especially during the first six months of their life.

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Myth # 9

Younger the child is, less likely s/he is to remember the trauma.

Contrary to popular belief, stress and trauma affect young children in profound ways. In fact, the impact is deeper in very small children, because little babies are not fully equipped to process pain. Pre-verbal stress or stress which happens before children learn to speak remains with them throughout their life and leaves them with an unexplained feeling in their body.

Myth # 10

Children are naturally resilient.

While it is true that children can easily adapt to situations and display remarkable strength, but resilience is developed when parents listen to their children’s feelings and thoughts.

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Myth # 11

Parents shouldn’t fight in front of their children.

You can hash out your differences in front of your children if you are going to be mature about it, and if you can state your case in a calm, low-volume, blame-free manner. This kind of discussion will teach valuable lesson in conflict management to your child. But if you are going to be ugly about your arguments, shouting, name-calling, or blaming each other, it is better to take your fight someplace else, because parental fights can be unnerving for small children.

Myth # 12

Spare the rod; spoil a child.

This myth is based upon the belief that discipline is the primary requirement of a child, and if that involves physical punishment so be it. In our zeal to enforce discipline we forget that any abuse creates scars on tender hearts, which are difficult to heal.

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