Old School Parenting Tactics We Should Put To Rest
We do the best with the information we have. And, every few years, we receive new information that makes us look back on some of our behavior and go, “Yikes.” This has been true for dieting habits, exercise habits, smoking, drinking, trendy but hazardous appliances, and so much more. And it’s often very true for parenting. Parenting is such a quagmire: adults having to communicate with children in a way that children will actually understand. Throughout the decade, more insight into child psychology has helped parents tremendously, but that doesn’t mean that some stubborn, antiquated ways of thinking about child-rearing haven’t held on. But it’s always important to analyze and even judge what we think we know, especially when it can affect the well-being of future generations. Here are old school parenting tactics that should be put to rest.
We shouldn’t teach our kids to eat everything on their plate, regardless of whether or not they want to, because that’s how they can grow up to have issues with food. We should ask them questions like, “Are you still hungry?” or “Do you feel full?”
Insisting your child give hugs
Your kid wasn’t made to be a little affection machine. If he is affectionate with you and your partner, that’s good enough. But we shouldn’t teach kids that they should have to give physical affection to people with whom they don’t feel close or comfortable.
Praise, praise, praise
Should your child receive praise for a job really well done? Of course! Should he be told he’s the king of the world and the best at something for every teeny, tiny, mundane thing he does? Probably not. That’s how narcissists are made.
Ignore a crying baby
Babies are babies. They don’t understand that you’re staying away while they cry to teach them a lesson. They’ll just cry louder, and be more afraid. Find ways to soothe their crying, but don’t ignore it.
Stop breastfeeding at this time
Everyone has an opinion on when you should stop breastfeeding but the truth is that every child is different. There is a range of time in which you should stop, but it can vary for months from child to child.
Serving kids food
Kids food is okay for toddlers and very young children, but let’s not indulge children’s demands for nothing but hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches when they’re ten years old. It’s important to get them in the habit of eating adult food and trying new things early.
There are plenty of other effective ways to teach a child not to do something. Spanking is only a short-term solution with life-long mental and emotional side effects.
Talk to them like adults
At some point, this trend picked up in which parents started talking to their kids like adults. They wouldn’t sugar coat information. They wouldn’t speak to them in a soft, baby tone. This is, allegedly, to help them mature at a healthy rate. But it can actually just be traumatizing and rob them of important, innocent years.
Saying, “Because I said so”
“Because I said so” is not a good answer to, “Why?” At least attempt to explain to your child why he must do—or not do—something. Just saying, “Because I said so” will lead him, in the future, to not even ask for permission because he’ll expect tyrannical and nonsensical answers.
Timeouts, like spankings, might work in the short-term but in the long run they can be damaging. Timeouts can be very embarrassing for children. The idea should be to teach him why his behavior was wrong, but not to make him suffer for it.
Using treats as rewards
Using treats as rewards now can cause some unhealthy behavior towards food later in life. Often, adult emotional eaters were given treats as rewards when they were kids.
Enforcing nap times
You can, of course, try to have naptime. But don’t yell at your child if he doesn’t close his eyes or won’t stay still for naptime. This can make a child turn into a grownup with insomnia and anxiety around sleep.
Having a kids table
Kids tables are fine for very young children, but it could be a good idea, around age eight or nine, to transition your kids to the grownup table. This can be a natural way to have them observe adults, and wean them off of some of their adolescent tendencies (like throwing food).
Having a nanny to keep the kids away
As parents, you obviously need alone time to work on your marriage. But nannies shouldn’t just be on-call, giving parents the chance to ignore their kids whenever they want. If you travel with your kids, for example, don’t bring the nanny and leave the kids at the hotel with her. Take your kids on the cultural outings. Experience things together.
Say the mean thing back
For some deranged reason, some parents thought it would be a good idea to start saying mean things back to their kids when they say mean things to them. But kids don’t have the mental and emotional tools to process nasty words the way adults do. You don’t teach them a lesson by telling them, “You’re ugly too.” You just scar them.