It seems like, these days, everyone has an opinion on everything. And when you're a parent, people are even more insistent about offering their often unsolicited opinions. As much as you may want to disagree and debate, it's difficult when its presented as well-meaning input from friends or family members. But when it comes to how you choose to raise your child, there are quite a few bits of outdated discipline advice that aren't worth listening to — and you shouldn't feel guilty for doing so. Though it might sound easier said than done, disregarding what anyone thinks about your child-rearing preferences is a surprisingly easy habit to adopt.
Long before your little one entered this world, you probably spent countless hours researching and reading all you could about which teaching methods and parenting styles were best for the needs of your family. But, like plenty of parents, sometimes your pre-baby plans don't always match up with your reality. And that's OK, too. It's totally normal for parenting to be a bit of a trial-and-error experience. Finding what works for you and your family takes time and consideration. So, if you're trying to sort through the overwhelming amount of discipline advice out there, here's what you can ignore.
1. Spanking Stops Bad Behavior
I'm considerably biased when it comes to this topic since I was raised in an abusive environment, so I've never given the time of day to anyone who's advised me to spank my child. But, for some parents, tradition or pressure might lead them to think this outdated advice isn't so bad. However, according to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), "physical punishment is not an appropriate, or even a consistently effective, method of discipline." Beyond the fact that spanking doesn't produce the expected results, it can negatively affect children in the long-term, too. In that same study by the APA, it was found that children who were spanked were more likely to become physically violent, see physicality as a way to resolve conflict, and perpetuate the cycle with their own children.
I won't let my personal feelings on the subject interfere, but statistics don't lie. This archaic form of discipline should be done away with immediately.
2. Never Compromise
Your grandparents likely adopted the disciplinary belief that a parent should never look weak to their child for fear of becoming a pushover — I know my grandparents certainly believed this to be true. But, never budging on an issue or dealing solely in absolutes can have an unhealthy influence on family dynamics. As family therapist Dr. Karin Ruskin explained to Psych Central, teaching your child about compromise means they're less likely to bully and more likely to show empathy and make well-informed decisions. Modeling diplomatic behavior isn't a sign of weakness; it's showing your child what having good character looks like.
3. They Need To Toughen Up
Because I gave birth to a biological male, I've been frequently told I need to squash his natural tendency to be sensitive and emotive. You've probably heard the phrase, "man up," or something similar that implies males shouldn't show emotion. On the flip side, I've also been at my son's school and heard parents tell their daughters the same thing, "don't be a crybaby." So why should you disregard the notion that kids need to get tough? According to Psychology Today, telling your kids to toughen up can lead to psychological distress, difficulty expressing emotion, and being less likely to seek help for mental health issues. Basically, there's nothing wrong with letting your child feel what they feel. Ignore the haters.