Everyone from your parents to in-laws to friends to random people on the internet will have your back with parenting tips, tricks, hacks, general advice, stuff they read or heard on Facebook or any other piece of trivia from the entertainment section of your local newspaper.
But be mindful. The stuff they tell you might sound like something a good parent would do, but it’s only deceptively good advice. Luckily, folks on Reddit have been pointing out bad parenting practices that, on paper, might sound quite nice to some, but really aren’t, and more people should be aware of that.
The now-viral thread has nearly 14,000 upvotes with just one Reddit award, but it’s the award that matters. Bored Panda has gathered the best of the best responses and laid them down in the curated list below. So, scroll, vote, comment, all that jazz, and share your “good” parenting advice that’s actually not-so-good advice in the comment section below!
More Info: Reddit
If they are throwing a tantrum, distract them by giving sweet treats or a new toy.
My nephew is two. Whenever he throws a tantrum, his parents say fuck it and give him candy because they don’t want to deal with it.
When he throws a tantrum at my house, I let him cry it out for a little while then offer him water. Works like a charm. He stops crying, he learns to do what I ask him to when I ask him to, and we get to hug it out in the end.
Get ready to become his favourite person.
My nephew was the same and I was strict when i needed to be and kind the rest of the time. I swear every other adult in his life was the opposite, they’d tell him off for accidents and mistakes, or just from doing normal kid things, and when he threw tantrums, they’d give him sweets to shut him up. When his parents asked him to do things, it was always a struggle, so they always called him a bad kid. when I ask him to do things or calm down, he does it without question, and when we’re together he’s a freaking angel, he’s not a bad kid at all.
Now I’m his favourite person because for a long time I was the only one that gave him the kind of structure and attention he needs.
Plus playing minecraft with him doesn’t hurt.
Sex is a dirty, embarrassing off-limits subject that they are never mature enough for you to discuss it with. Good way to ensure your kid grows up with some form of bodily insecurity and you’re also leaving them to learn about sex/sexuality from their peers or the media, the two most destructive sources imaginable.
Tell your daughter “that boy hurt/teases you because he likes you!”. Sure I get the surface idea of “making a negative seem positive”. But it’s a good way to end up confused as to how she ended up with an abusive boyfriend later in life.
I’m sure this’ll get reddit readying their best super original “attack helicopter” jokes, but the whole “boys = blue/action toys, girls = pink/frilly princess things” needs to stop. Just let the kid be a kid. If he wants a barbie, cool. If she wants to play football, cool. Your kid won’t grow up wrong if their room isn’t colour coded and your child’s masculinity/femininity is none of your business anyway.
Always tell your kids to finish their food. This honestly just promotes obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, although I get the idea of telling them to finish what’s on their plates.
Don’t let your kids fail.
The worst thing we can do as parents is never allow our kids to fail. We only fail them, as parents, by never allowing them to face disappointment and are robbing them from the ability to learn some basic life skills. Let your kids fail, fall on their face, pick themselves up and rub the dirt off.
Have a second child so they can babysit each other
Lol my brother is 9 years older than me. He was always supposed to be my babysitter.
When I was 6 (so Kiki, my bro, was 15), my parents went away on a trip and left him in charge with a list of chores.
Well, I ended up doing most of those and making dinner for us. And when I was done, I walked two blocks to my friend Anne Marie’s to go play. Kiki was asleep, so I didn’t tell him I was gone (it was like noon).
Kiki received a very angry phone call from Anne Marie’s mother, who yelled at him that he needed to be actually watching his 6 year old sister. She also called Mom, who called Kiki to yell at him again. Poor boy cried!
14 years later and when it’s just the two of us taking care of a task … I’m still in charge. He may be my older brother, but sis is the one who gets things done. I love him to death though!
My dad, a psychology professor, told me that if my child bit me, I should bite him back.
My mom hammed it up when we bit her. She would be like “Oh ow~! It hurts!!!! Why did you bite your mommy???” and we were like oh no oh s**t my mom is sad I f****d up. Babies aren’t so good at empathy but they do know when mom is upset.
It’s like raising kittens really. Playtime ends when they use their claws or teeth, sooner or later they’ll play nice.
Constantly tell your kids they’re the smartest kids ever.
F**k, this is the worst. My 9yo is struggling because we were so nice to her and so impressed with her intelligence. 3 siblings later, and any day without being the smartest and best becomes a problem.
“Do as I say, not as I do”
Ah, sounds like what I got told.
“A child is to be seen, not heard”
And by seen, they meant sit there listening in patiently as they talk for hours on end about the local gossip. And get told off for being anti social if I get a phone out or book, or God forbid “hide from them” when I went to the toilet.
Keep your kids super clean and away from potential allergens.
If your children don’t come in contact with germs they won’t have any immunities to them! So many kids my daughter plays with are obsessed with hand sanitizer and so have to keep explaining to her that it’s bad for her to use.
We never use hand sanitizer at home so whenever we go to the hospital or doctors office my oldest hits up every single dispenser. Every. Single. One. Even if they are only 10 feet apart and we pass 20 of them on the way to wherever we are going.
It’s the only time I don’t mind him overdosing on sanitizer.
Teach your child that the sun goes down every day because it’s mad at them.
Holy [smokes] imagine them freaking out during a solar eclipse.
“TIMMY WHAT DID YOU DO?!”
Ah, this reminds me of the time where my dog [peed] on my grill and we were cooking burgers and there was flames, we in humor mode made him think that his [pee] set it on fire. He doesn’t [pee] on things anymore.
Let your toddler play with your phone to calm them down.
My 2 yr old niece was playing with my brothers phone and ended up on Instagram liking dudes pics.
My mom always says this one: “When you have kids, lie to them. Lie through your teeth”.
No Mom, no.
When I was in elementary school I asked mom one day why she sometimes used pads and tampons. Without a second thought she told me that she used them because “she couldn’t hold her pee sometimes.”
Let me remind you that this happened wayyyy after my potty training.
She realized that she really shouldn’t have lied to me when she found out that I was using her pads in order not to pee on myself (I think I thought “if mommy couldn’t hold it as a grown up how the hell am I supposed to hold it as a child?”). Also because she purchased perfumed pads, I put some of them in my drawers because come on, they smelled nice. So before mom ran out of her pad stock, she decided to talk to me about why she really used them.
Lying to your kids to explain difficult things.
I get that in some situations, like if someone [chooses to end their lives], telling an alternative story may be a good idea. But for 99% of situations or questions a kid asks, a parent should respond factually.
Edit: By alternative story I don’t mean lying. I’m talking about simplifying words and concepts to explain the idea, not outright fabricating or denying events.
Not letting them date until after high school.
That one backfired on my parents in a big way lol
Edit: ok so I didn’t elaborate because I didn’t think that many people would be interested hah.
Technically, I wasn’t allowed to date until after college. I wasn’t allowed to go out with my friends very often during high school, so I would have to pick and choose what events I wanted to ask to attend because they would be angry if I asked too often. The easiest way to deal with this at the time was by lying or sneaking around- sometimes I would say I had an after school club to go to but that was hard because I would always need a ride home and my dad started work right after our school ended.
I ended up dating a guy in high school and since we were never able to go out on actual dates, he would just come over after school and leave before my parents got back for dinner. I did leave the house once in awhile but not very often because I was so paranoid about being caught and because we didn’t have a car. So this leads to sex, which I was definitely not ready for or even want at the time (don’t worry, it wasn’t rape- he did get my consent although he didn’t really respect my boundaries but that’s not the issue here).
Anyways, I met my current SO in college and we’ve been dating 6 years but my parents only know about 1 of them sooo yeah.
Moral of the story is restricting me from boyfriends did not stop me from sex, and now I have trust issues with my parents.
Make your kids give hugs and kisses to show affection to relatives, friends, etc.
I’ve always let my son decide who he wants to hug/kiss. He can say no. It teaches him he’s allowed to have boundaries.
Autonomy in general is very important in addition to supporting the decision as long as it’s reasonable.
Give them treats and rewards EVERY time they do a chore or something around the house.
“Your reward is getting to live here, the clothes on your back, and the toys you play with!”
~ My Dad
That’s what my dad says too, but in his defense I’m now 20 and I want to move out.
My dad told me that anyone living in his house will have to do chores.
After the age of 18, you’re no longer a resident but a guest. That’s what my dad explained to me.
If you ignore them they will leave you alone. Whoever made up this advice originally is stupid. This hardly works on adults let alone children who still don’t understand the ‘too far’ line when joking/teasing.
When your kids achieve something great or good just tell them it ain’t s**t. That way it gets them to do even better the next time!!!
… And then later in life they get to have all kinds of f****d up complexes like myself. Unable to relax with out feeling like s**t.
Kid is obviously being bullied on a playground. Adults brush it off as “kids being kids”.
Or if a boy is bullying a girl and they say ‘oh he just likes you’. Don’t teach kids that people show affection by bullying. That’s setting them up for bad relationships.
It doesn’t matter how miserable and toxic your marriage becomes, you need to stay with your partner to keep the family together.
Edit: I’m surprised and a bit disheartened to see how many people relate to this. One of my good friends grew up with a controlling, abusive father and parents didn’t divorce until the oldest kid went to college. Her mother stuck it out because she was raised to think that a “together family” would leave her kids better off (she’s since apologized to her children many times for this, but my friend is acceptable the apology very readily)
My parents have had serious marriage problems since I was in 4th grade and my father has been emotionally abusing my mother and my siblings and I for a very long time. At this point I just want them to get it over with and my father to work on his problems or get the f**k out of our lives. It was a significant factor in me developing depression and becoming suicidal at multiple points in my life.
Your child can never do wrong. Something else must be the problem.
This is very true, but so is it’s inversion.
Some parents never trust their kid telling them something is wrong. From something as minor as an unfair teacher to as severe as being uncomfortable with someone who turns out to be a molester, a lot of parents just don’t trust their kids at all.
I feel like this was me, and I honestly have no idea how much of it was just default mistrust and how much of it I actually earned.
Either way, when I was 16 I was fired from my awesome summer job over a complete misunderstanding (manager offered me my job back later, bunch of people quit over it anyway). I cried after it happened, and luckily a bunch of my coworkers sat me down to talk it out. My dad, on the other hand, didn’t so much as let me speak up in my own defense when he came to pick me up. He just assumed I was a horrible employee, and we drove home in one of the most tensely silent car rides of my life.
I have some self-esteem problems, as you might guess.
My sister has the habit of buying both of my nephews presents, but she does it in a way that she thinks is fair. I mean, say it’s my oldest nephews birthday. Well she buys them both toys so that they don’t feel left out. Same for the younger one. If say, one of them gets good grades or has done something good, they both get presents.
I mean, that’s awesome, but I feel that that might be a bad parenting habit since she’s spoiling them both at the same time. And most of the time, the oldest fights over the younger one’s toys because he choose something that interested him later on. So I don’t think it’s working.
Surround your baby with lots of pillows so that he’s comfortable and won’t roll over.
Also, put lots of stuffed animals in the crib with your baby!
Seriously, don’t do this.
Basically a risk of suffocating. You need to make sure a baby is warm and comfortable but consider that a baby can’t move stuff that gets in the way.
“Keep the household quiet when baby is sleeping.”
We are a busy household 4 dogs 2 cats a 2 year old and a 2 month old. If I want to blend a smoothie, listen to music or vacuum the house I do it. We do not tiptoe, my kids sleep through noise.
Withholding the truth from your kids.
After two of my grandparents died. My parents took it upon themselves to not tell me my grandfather passed away while I was at boarding school. Got a very random text from my estranged sister saying “it’s a bummer what happened to grandad”.
Second time my mum texted me while I was living abroad to tell me my other grandad is in hospital sick. After an hour catch up on skype with my dad, turned out he was in hospital… But dead.
So never withhold the truth. It f***s with our heads. FOR LIFE.
All of the authoritarian parenting advice out there. Be strict, use time-outs or spanking or whatever at the slightest provocation, don’t let your kids have any freedom or privacy, “my house my rules” and so on.
I heard “my house my rules” until I left the parental house at 20.
I still have trouble communicating and setting boundaries, especially with people I think are authority-like.
I know exactly what you mean. My parents demanded instant, unquestioning obedience as long as I lived under their roof. Failing that, I was yelled at to go to my room, “stop talking foolish talk”, or stand in the corner (this until I was 17 or 18) Today I can’t approach my boss without thinking I’m saying something stupid, doing my job badly or worse, “being disrespectful”.
I realize this is probably mild in comparison to some people’s experience, but I just needed to get this off my chest.
This post made me realise my parents didn’t raise me so well.
They’re pretty old, so they had old fashioned parenting methods. I got spanked until I was 7 or 8 until they decided kids were not for spanking anymore, which isn’t that bad. But I also got coddled my whole life. Everything was made easy for me, and I was always told I was the smartest and prettiest and most capable. Left me with high self esteem and virtually no majorly bad experiences aside from an abusive sister, but now at 17 I’m still not allowed to do ANYTHING for myself. I’m not trusted with any tasks at all, nor am I given any freedom. Worst of all, I’m given no chances to fail because I have no choices. My mom makes all my choices forcibly so that I never suffer any consequences ever.
As for the high self esteem, I had to do a lot of therapy to recover from (among other things) the crippling realization that I am not, in fact, the smartest and prettiest. Hit me like a train, basically lost all sense of self worth for a while
I think its wrong if a parent uses financial leverage against their child’s personal choices, such as where to attend college. “We won’t pay for you tuition unless you do THIS, attend THIS school, and follow all of our rules”.
This may seem like a well intended way to guide your children away from harm and keep them on their best path.
However, I’ve found that it can be harmful. Your parents try to know what’s best for you, generally speaking, but it is still a form of emotional manipulation that I don’t think is appropriate for a 17 or 18 year old, or anyone old enough to be making choices about their own living situations.
By the same standards, a parent might say, if you choose to marry this person, we will not help you cover the costs of the wedding.
If your parents really respect who you are as an adult, they should give you unselfish support that doesn’t vary depending on how they would potentially make a different choice in your scenario.
Console them when injured and don’t let them climb or find themselves in any hazardous situations.
Now, I don’t mean to say never console ANY injury. Just most. I stopped reacting at an early age with my daughter while allowing her to jump on the bed and climb ladders and balance on wood piles and… I HAVE THE TOUGHEST MOST INDEPENDENT CHILD EVER! Serious falls she just gets up and walks away no tears. She has incredible hand eye coordination and impeccable balance.
Please note that this statement is within the realm of reason, it’s not like I’m telling her to suck it up with a split forehead or encouraging her to climb on zoo fences…
You have the right to invade your child’s privacy because it’s for their own good.
There are specific situations where I think doing this can be condoned. But I’m talking about those parents who go through the kid’s diary, social platforms, closets, everything – just because their kid is acting secretive or because the parents “have a hunch.” Children of parents like that will grow up to be mistrusting of others, among other issues. I would know, thanks mom.
Your kid probably won’t act so sketchy around you if you taught them early about good communication and trust. Snooping around their stuff and not giving them their own space isnot good for either of you. Trust is not a one-way deal.
Let them beat you at games.
Nooooooooo. Play a game with a good handicap mechanic (randomness or explicit) that lets you beat them closer to 50% of the time and ideally lets you adjust the handicap as they start winning more. Or switch games to something more complex but keep its randomness at a level so that they can beat you legitimately but definitely not always.
They need to learn how to deal with loss, how to adjust their behavior based on what’s happening to them. Forget that oft-touted idea of “teaching them that things will be handed to them” (which is true though I detest the bleak pessimism we often see it portrayed with), more importantly you’re lying to them about which things that happen to them are important and can be learned from.
Put another way: a lot of parenting ideas seek to shield children from consequences. F**k. That. B******t. Also don’t give them all the consequences all at once. Let them face consequences, but at a level appropriate to where they are in life and ever increasing in severity, with spikes and lulls in relative difficulty for them to handle.
Source: not a parent, but a classically trained game designer.
“Spare the rod, spoil the child”. Don’t beat you kids. Don’t SPOIL your kids, but don’t beat your kids.
This. Education is so much more effective when you reinforce positive attitudes instead of just punishing the kid relentlessly.
“Get your kids into a strict bedtime routine.”
This is great for the VERY early years, but once you start incorporating stories and such, you have to mix things up a bit or you’ll get stuck in a situation where you can’t shortcut ANYTHING or your kids won’t be settled. Have to make them adaptable.
Give your child a unique and meaningful name.
Don’t forget to spell it ever so intricately as possible too. You really want to make sure they are the only one.
You really want to make sure they are the only one…
…who can ever spell their name right.
Take away their belongings (video games, laptop, phone, etc) if they get bad grades in order to motivate them to get good grades.
They don’t want good grades, they just want their stuff back. They won’t develop a healthy work ethic this way.
EDIT: Ok guess I’m not too good at phrasing. What I meant is don’t give them something they don’t deserve just to take it away later. If they want a new phone, give it to them AFTER they earn it. Instead of giving them a phone and then taking it away because they aren’t working hard, just don’t give them one in the first place, until they get their work up.
Stalk your child on social media to make sure they are safe.
Or, try hiding in plain sight, always tagging them with wishy washy “I love my son/daughter! Like if you love yours!” graphics with way too few pixels. Friend all of their friends, post random things you wish were inside jokes on their timeline at least once a day. And don’t forget political posts.
Basically, digitally p**s all over your kids social media to passive-aggressively show the world that is your kid, back off.