Bad Parenting Advice

by Dani Ryan
Originally Published: 

As we were walking the mall for the umpteenth time last week (effing snow!), I noticed the Leapster Explorer was on sale for almost 50% off the original price. I was intrigued. While The Kid enjoys playing with the myriad of puzzles, blocks, and loud plastic crap we own, she would much rather spend her entire day on the couch surrounded by all of her electronic toys.

Like lots of other mothers out there, I try to limit her “gaming hours” during the week, but when I’m desperate, I’m quick to hand one over to keep the peace. {Like in the car, at the grocery store, during a horrible diaper change, or after dinner on Friday evenings when my husband misses his flight home.} And with a 6+ hour road trip planned for late March, 50% off a hot toy like the Leapster turned me on more than a man in uniform.

But before I could snatch one of those puppies off the shelf, I had to make sure it was a worthwhile purchase. So I took to Google and was lucky enough to stumble across a 3,000-word essay written by a woman who thinks she’s the next coming of Christ. I won’t bore you with the details of her rampage, but the gist is that her own kids grew up with no toys or TV and are now the most well-adjusted human beings to walk this planet, and she feels only Satan himself would buy electronic toys for his children.

{Insert eye roll.}

Armed with the brand new Leapster, I began to think about all the other bad parenting advice I’ve had over the last 2 years, and there’s been plenty…

1. Go home and have a glass of wine. I don’t normally need such prompting, but this came from a high risk technician after our 5-month anatomical scan. Clearly, she didn’t know I’m a “go hard, or go home” kind of gal.

2. Cocoa butter has caffeine in it! This came from the sales clerk at a maternity store when I turned down her 2-for-1 offer on stretch mark cream in favor of my Body Shop stuff.

3. Only take her out if you’re wearing her in a carrier. Funny enough, this advice came from our pediatrician. As The Kid was too small for the Baby Bjorn when she was born, it took THREE AND A HALF WEEKS for me to work up enough courage to take her out of the house.

4. Bite back. In response to my appeal for help with a bad spell of biting during breastfeeding, my Mom’s best friend told me to bite her arm. It worked with her daughter.

5. Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know this is practical advice, but it has to be the most irritating thing you can say to a new mother.

6. Put her in her crib, close the door, and turn up the radio. This advice was given to my Grandma when she left the hospital with her firstborn, and she passed it along to me. She qualified it by saying, “I never had to do this, lovey”, but I’ve always wondered . . .

7. The more she’s awake in the day, the more she’ll sleep at night. Having gone through 11 months of sleep issues, I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

8. If that were my child, I’d be putting some whiskey in a bottle. And this is why my Aunt has never been allowed to touch my child.

9. Never let her cry. As I was chatting to a nurse about sleep training at my Grandfather’s funeral, my cousin’s wife leapt across the room and told me I should be holding my child to sleep all night, every night, like she did with her girls. I was so happy when my cousin divorced that bitch.

10. It gets better. I think we’re all guilty of this one. You see a woman with a colicky baby at the mall and the flashbacks to that hellish time in your life makes you yell, “IT GETS BETTER!” over her screaming child. The intent is always a good one, but unless you’re attaching a timeline to that statement, it’s probably better to give her arm a good squeeze of encouragement instead.

What bad parenting advice have you gotten?

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