8 Outdated Pieces Of Behavioral Advice To Ignore

by Autumn Jones

The advise on raising kids starts rolling in as soon as your baby bump pops. Everyone from your grandmother to the woman at the check out counter in the grocery store wants to pass down her wisdom on all things motherly. Although I truly believe these people mean well and their heart is in the right place, much of their council is just straight up wrong. With access to years of research and information on parenting, you are able to sift out the outdated behavioral advise you should ignore and stick with what has proven to be effective strategies for promoting desired behaviors.

It's not that surprising that some bad information is still floating out there in the parenting sphere, especially from older generations. Most modern moms have a world of information at their fingertips, but not too long ago mothers were taking tips from the books of a few celebrated child psychologists and swirling it in with what their own mother taught them. They weren't comparing one expert with the next and analyzing research on which to base their parenting style. Now that you have this knowledge available, you can see why some of these old ideas need to be put to rest.


Spanking Teaches Lessons

Spanking is still a controversial topic, even after years of research proves it causes more harm and no good. However, as each generation gains access to better information, this outdated mode of managing behavior is on the decline. According to Parents magazine, the American Association of Pediatricians advises against spanking since it has been known to lead to aggression, abuse, and addiction issues in adulthood.


Children Should Be Seen & Not Heard

Older generations believed the expression "children should be seen and not heard," showed that children had respect for grown ups by letting them do all the talking. However, silencing a child around adults can be a slippery slope. Keeping the line of communication open between you are your kids mean they will come to you when they need help, are struggling with tough decisions, or just need some encouragement. Buying into the seen and not heard mentality drives a wedge between adults and kids and is not modern behavior advice.


Biting Them Back Is Affective

Having a child who bites is challenging and frustrating, but following the advice of biting your child back, after he bites you, should be ignored. As Babble pointed out, a toddler will not understand that biting hurts others just because you sink your teeth into his arm. It will take time and patience to get through this phase, but will consistent reminders and redirection, the biting will pass.


Holding Them Spoils Them

The mother of my friend once said, "if you hold your baby too much, you'll spoil him." I was so confused — don't babies need to be held? Luckily, I did not buy into this idea. As What To Expect explained, newborns cry because they have basic needs — to be fed, held, comforted, and loved. They do not yet have the ability to manipulate you for attention.


Praising Builds Self-Esteem

Who doesn't love to hear how awesome they are all the time? It's true that praise feels good, but too much of a good thing can sometimes go bad.

In an effort to boost self-esteem, parents are told to shower their children in nothing but praise for their efforts and accomplishments (no matter how small). But according to Psychology Today, in prior studies, " students who were lavished with praise were more cautious in their responses to questions, had less confidence in their answers, were less persistent in difficult assignments, and less willing to share their ideas."

While acknowledging hard work and achievements is appropriate, going overboard can lead to problems.


Thinking Your Child Is Always Right

Every parent wants their little one to know they have their back, but always insisting your child is in the right is an outdated view of being supportive. As psychologist Lawrence Balter explained to Parents, talking to your child how others feel when conflict has occurred helps to build empathy, which is an important life skill hard to come by when you've been told over and over again that you're always right.


Telling Your Children To Do As You Say

True, adults are allowed to do certain things that children are not. But when it comes to the building blocks of citizenship for this world, actions speak louder than words. Parents who model the behavior they expect from their children are more likely to see those behaviors mirrored by their kids, as All Psych from Psych Central explained. In other words, kids will follow your lead more than verbal directions when it comes to behavior.


Issuing Long Time Outs To Make A Point

When my kids became more unruly as toddlers, I read that they should sit in time out for 10 minutes, to really make the point. But trying to wrangle an squirming toddler for one minute was hard enough. This old advice is no longer accepted among experts. According to Kids Health from Nemours, you should end time out once your child is calm, not when a specific time limit has expired. These type of time outs help to build self-control and self-regulated behaviors.