Great Sounding Parenting Advice That I Hate

Because it doesn’t work!

There’s just soooo much parenting advice out there.  It can be overwhelming.  Some of it is just plan dumb, some of it is great and much falls in the middle – it sounds good but doesn’t work on your kids.


Give your child choices to get them to do something.  Sounds great.  Trick them into thinking they’re in charge.  Too bad they know what you’re up to and will NEVER chose out of the options you give them.  Even if they like the options.  They will pick whatever it is they can’t have.  Every.Single.Time.  Followed by a kicking screaming tantrum for said item.

Don’t get into power struggles.  This can actually be good advice in certain situations where you can’t win.  Like toileting.  But my children can turn breathing into a power struggle.  It’s like their pass-time, seeing how many things in their life they can make a struggle for supreme power.  Like just the basics of life.  Walking?  Power struggle.  Sleeping?  Power struggle.  Eating?  Power struggle.  Talking?  Power struggle.  Everything must be a power struggle.

Don’t frame things with yes or no answers so that they can’t say no.  My kids don’t care how you frame your question.  The answer is still no.  “Do you want to put away your stuffies first or your doll?”  “Nothing!”  “Do you want to wear your red jammies or blue?”  “No”  “No what?  No red?”  “No jammies!”

Don’t tell your kids “no” but tell him yes within a different scenario.  In other words don’t say, “No you can’t jump on the couch” but say, “the couch is not for jumping you may jump on the trampoline”.  Honestly, my kids look at me like I must think they are dumb.  They know that whole long sentence is the same as saying no.  They now throw a fit because they want to jump on the couch and not the trampoline.  I try saying the magic sentence again and again but they scream harder and finally I’m spewing, “NO! NO! you can’t jump on the couch!”.

Don’t punish your kids but give them boundaries.  Really?  What does that even mean?  How do you even enforce a “boundary” without a consequence?  Oh?  you drew all over the wall after I told you not to?  You broke the boundary but taking away all your crayons is a punishment so I’m just going to say nicely, “it’s not nice to draw on mommy’s walls” and my child will never draw on the walls again.  I actually have learned that “punishment” is a bad word.  But if you use the word “consequence” that’s ok.  So just remember that you don’t use punishments, you use “consequences” and everyone will think you’re a great mom.  That ties in with the next one.

Don’t tell your kids they need to obey.  Like how dare you expect your children to obey.  Don’t you know that will make them vulnerable to predictors?  If you teach your child to obey you’re practically setting them up to be molested.  Only defiant children are safe.  It’s ok to use the word “listen” though.  You can tell your children they need to listen, when what you really mean is obey, but because you used a different word it’s all good.  Then you can get upset after because they only listened to you and didn’t actually obey because they were confused by your wording.  And did you know predators never will tell your child that they need to listen?  They only use the word obey.  That’s how you can tell who they are.

Never force your child to do anything they don’t want to do.  See above.  This makes them vulnerable to predators.  It makes them passive and unresistant if you force them to brush their teeth.  Or if you pick them up when they don’t want to be.  You must reason and convince your child to do what it is they need to do and if they don’t then you must let them have their way.  You don’t want them to become passive and get molested do you?  ‘Cos child molesters will always use force and will never charm and bribe your child into doing things.   (yes, I’ve actually had this conversation with someone in real life about how forcing your child to brush their teeth means they will be molested one day).

Sympathise with them so they feel you understand and connect with them.  I do do this but every time my kids think it means I’m going to give in to them and then they flip out more when they realise that it doesn’t.

Let kids work things out themselves and don’t get involved except to stop someone getting hurt.  I’ll just save you the time right now.  If you don’t get involved, it always ends up in someone getting hurt.

Sleep when the baby sleeps.   Sure, because my kids sleep.  And because we don’t need to eat dinner or have clean dishes or clean clothes to wear and because my other kids can take care of themselves while I sleep and because my baby sleeps longer than 20 mins at a time.  Sleep is overrated anyway.

Don’t bribe your kids or they won’t be intrinsically motivated.  This may be true but I don’t think my kids will ever be intrinsically motivated to eat their vegetables, to clean up their room or to do anything they don’t want to do.  They only start doing these things on their own when they want to; when they start wanting a clean room or they start liking vegetables.  I mean, do you clean because you’re intrinsically motivated or because company is coming over and you don’t want to look like a slob?  Or you like having a clean house?  Do you eat your dinner because of your motivation or because you like your food?  There’s always a benefit to us for the things we do.  We’re motivated by the rewards we get though they’re not always visible rewards.  You can’t force those internal rewards (which I guess is intrinsic motivation), they come with maturity.  So until my kids start enjoying eating because I’ve made them taste food they’re insisting is yuck though they have never ate it before, or they realise they feel more relaxed in a clean room and can find their things, or realise their little brother is bigger than them and it’s better not to bite him, I’ll resort to bribery.

So how do you parent your kids?  What does work?  I’m not sure.  I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out.  And if I do my kids are too smart and will probably figure out a way to make it not work anymore.


1 thought on “Great Sounding Parenting Advice That I Hate

  1. Pretty accurate post.. even the stories about glorifying strong willed children never fail to leave me worried that my ‘calm’ and ‘obedient’ child will easily be lead by peers.

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