Raising happy kids is no easy feat. Beyond the first words, first steps and other adorable growth milestones, parenthood requires you to make tough calls. Sometimes you may feel unsure about your decisions, and that’s okay. You’re doing great – just by virtue of the fact that you are seeking information about good parenting and your child’s development.  

However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed is by the plethora of myths and misinformation floating around. So, what is true, what is a myth, and what is best for you and your kids? We’ve debunked some common parenting myths and misconceptions to help you make the hardest job in the world just a little bit easier! 

1. “Children should come first.” 

Busted! Yes, you’ve decided to raise a child and be responsible for their health and wellbeing but, if you sacrifice yourself and your mental wellbeing for your child, you’re actually taking away from your child’s development because you cannot pour from an empty cup. Marriages can also take a serious hit when feelings of sadness, anger and jealousy are at the forefront. However, studies show that happy marriages result in happy kids.

Taking care of yourself is as good for your family as it is for you. These eight do-able tips will help you get started.

2. “You’ll end up parenting like your parents.”

Both myth and true, depending on your consciousness about it.! Whether your parents were kind and supportive or used fear-based parenting, you may wonder if you’ll be the same way. That’s completely natural. Ultimately, your emotional capabilities of self-awareness, resilience and empathy will decide your parenting techniques. 

It takes a conscious effort to break negative childrearing patterns but, by coming to terms with any difficulty you may have experienced during your upbringing and by focussing on the positive parts of your childhood that you would want to repeat, you’ll be able to consciously parent your children however you would like, and thrive as a parent. 

3. “The ‘terrible twos’ are truly terrible.”

Not true. Though you may feel like they’re terrible, and so, the experience can vary from parent to parent. It’s not that 2-year-old kids are terrible; it’s having the appropriate expectations of what a 2-year-old is capable of. 

At this age, they’re struggling to understand what’s happening and what’s making them so upset. Understanding their needs and labelling those emotions for them will help you set appropriate expectations while setting appropriate boundaries and limits. 

4. “Children who walk early and talk early are the brightest.”

Children who are significantly delayed in these areas may have a developmental disorder, but the opposite simply is not true. These highly noticeable developmental milestones mark exciting transitions in a baby’s life, but there’s no universal schedule that all babies follow. 

While milestones have some value for identifying young children that may require follow-up care, there is no conclusive evidence that children who hit motor milestones early are, on average, more likely to have better motor skills than others later in life.

5. “Strict parents raise well-behaved kids.” 

False. Studies show that most people believe strict parenting encourages good behaviour and manners in kids. However, research studies conducted on discipline consistently suggest otherwise. Strict or authoritarian, child-raising actually more often produces kids with lower self-esteem and confidence. 

It is good to have limits in place to protect the safety of your child. But, doing it in a sensitive way through open discussions and back-and-forth interactions will show that you value their input and go a long way to building trust and a healthy parent-child relationship.

6. “It’s better to shield children from loss.”

Myth busted. It would be wonderful if we could all protect our children from having uncomfortable, difficult and traumatic experiences. Unfortunately, it’s not possible. Instead, the best thing you could possibly do for your children is helping them build the resilience that they’re going to need in the future.  

It’s important to be straightforward, again, in a sensitive and loving way and explain the loss to your child. Sitting with them through their difficult experiences so they know they can get through them is a much more powerful lesson for them than anything.

When it comes to parenting, you will hear a lot of dos and don’ts. Fortunately, children and parents learn together, and your parenting can change and develop as your child changes and develops. And, on days when you do feel like you’re struggling, you can always reach out to an accredited therapist at Plumm for support and resources you can trust.