Monday, October 30, 2017

10 Parenting Myths, Busted

There are certain pieces of commonly accepted parenting "truths" that are about as fact-based as the tooth fairy.

Maybe it's wishful thinking. Maybe it's just that these things sound like they should be true. Maybe in our sleep-deprived state, we parents are willing to believe just about anything.

In our vulnerable, sleep-deprived state, we parents are willing to believe just about anything.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Whatever the reason, we all get fooled by these 10 brazen lies about parenting, at least some of the time.

1. If you want your kids to sleep in tomorrow, put them to bed later. It seems like simple logic and math, but somehow the reverse is actually closer to the truth. In fact, kids who go to bed late have a good chance of actually waking up earlier and acting like manic hobgoblins for the rest for the day. Have fun with that.

2. Just ignore the whining. Generally, any parenting truism that starts with the word "just" is a load of crap. There is no "just" doing anything when you're a parent. Kids don't just whine because it's effective at getting them what they want (although that's an added plus for them.) They whine because they enjoy hearing the sound issue forth from their lips. You really can't do a thing about it.

3. A consistent bedtime routine eliminates bedtime battles. You can do an hour song-and-dance routine of bath and stories, but the fact is they're still going to come out of their room 300 times after you say good night. There aren't enough drinks of water or bedtime songs in the world to prevent it. Sorry.

4. If they're worried about monsters, fix it with some "monster spray." Maybe this is redundant after busted myth #3, but kids at bedtime aren't actually scared of monsters. They're just stalling, and by wasting your time decorating a bottle of "monster spray" (a.k.a: water) you've played right into their sticky little hands. Next thing you know you'll be handing over your credit card and moving into the spare room so they can have yours.

5. You can sleep when the baby sleeps. People like to tell this to new parents because it makes them sound wise. Like Confucius. But when the haze of sleep-deprivation clears, you'll realize it makes no sense. By extension, you should also be cooking when the baby cooks and cleaning when the baby cleans, and that leaves just a few holes in this sage advice.

6. Validating your child's feelings calms them instantly. Don't get me wrong: if your kids throws a fit because she doesn't want to stop playing when it's time for preschool, saying empathetic things like "It's fun to play, isn't it? You don't want to leave your toys" isn't going to hurt. Just don't expect it to help, either.

7. Don't referee your children's arguments. For every time I've seen a disagreement where kids work it out by themselves, I've seen 9 more that end with the biggest one sitting on the other, a screaming match, or one kid running away with hands over ears yelling "I can't hear you!" and the second running behind them screeching like a banshee.

8. Don't buy toys and you won't be surrounded by clutter. The answer to an overstuffed playroom is just to stop buying toys, right? False. Kids are hoarders. They will fill your house with scraps of paper with random pieces of tape on them. They will pile identical-looking collections of acorns, rocks, and dead withered-up wildflowers everywhere. And let's not forget the flimsy plastic party favors that barely even work, nevertheless the kids bond with them as if they were long-lost blood relatives.

9. Keep a clean car by not allowing food inside. This is not a battle you can win. Until the last kid moves out, you're going to be driving a landfill on wheels. Science has yet to discover how they do it, but children are capable of converting the oxygen they breathe into crumbs and granola bar wrappers.

10. Sippy cups will prevent spills. The search for an actually spill-proof cup is the parenting quest for the Holy Grail. Does it even exist? No one knows. Just when you think you've found one, your kid proves you wrong by turning it upside-down and shaking out the entire contents into your purse.

And even after busting all those parenting myths we'd love to believe, the annoyances and the messes of family life are still oddly worth it. Nothing destroys your sleep, your house, and your sanity like having kids  and we wouldn't have it any other way.

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3 comments:

  1. Kids are hoarders. It's ridiculous. I swear I've spent my life de-junking the bedroom belonging to my little sisters...and it's about time to do it again for the pre-Christmas clean-out. They even hoard their Christmas candy...which works for me because then I go in the fridge and eat it for them after giving them plenty of time to eat it for themselves. The car thing is possible, though, I know, because even our 15-passenger van was always pristine, never had stains anywhere, no junk left behind. There are times when I feel a bit like I grew up in the military...and our relationship with the family vehicle is one of those times. I still get nervous when Angel and I have to borrow it to transport a bunch of teens.

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  2. I especially hate the when baby sleeps one. If you try to sleep, they will wake up every 5 minutes, cry just long enough to wake you up, they drop instantly off to sleep again, while you wait for the next shoe to drop. Which it will, immediately after you've fallen into a doze!

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