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52 of the Worst Parenting Tips Parents Get

Parenting is definitely not one size fits all, but some pieces of advice are downright wrong. Our experts name the troublesome tips you can feel free to ignore.


"Boys will be boys"

"When young boys, bite, kick, or hurt other kids, the behavior needs to be addressed and not tossed into the pile of 'boys will be boys.' Children, both boys and girls, need to know about personal boundaries and which behaviors are and are not acceptable." —Danielle Lindner, MS in teaching and elementary education and the founder and CEO of The London Day School (Here's how to deal with the worst bratty behaviors.)


"Don't worry, she'll grow out of it"

"Hurting friends, grabbing their toys, throwing things, or destroying property is not something that all kids do, nor is it something that should be let go in the hopes that a child will 'grow out of it.' Teaching the acceptable way to behave around others will help the child build positive long-lasting relationships with their peers, their teachers, and their parents." —Danielle Lindner


"Stop praising your kids so much"

"Kids do need praise and should be told when they have done something well. Catching a child doing something good, like sharing or helping another child down the slide, should be positively reinforced with praise. When children feel that the good things that they are do are being noticed it gives them a sense of pride and builds self-esteem. Children who have a high sense of self-esteem are much less likely to grow up to be schoolyard bullies, as they don't need to make someone else feel bad to build themselves up." —Danielle Lindner (Here are more tricks for building self-esteem in your kids.)


"Everyone should get a trophy as long as they show up"

"Teaching kids that just showing up to an event or game is worthy of a trophy is not doing that child any favors. Instead, teach them that in addition to being present, they need to participate to the best of their ability. The focus should be on teaching teamwork, being ready and prepared for the game, being okay with either winning or losing, and how to exhibit good sportsmanship. These skills will help with everything children do throughout their entire educational career and into adulthood." —Danielle Lindner (Check out this useful and funny advice on parenting from your favorite comedians.)


"Leave them alone, they'll figure it out"

"While space is an essential part of every healthy relationship, giving kids too much space can backfire. Growing kids need to be reassured every once in a while, and just letting your kid handle his concerns on his own at a young age can be counterproductive. It's best to let him try on his own for a little while but be ready to help when he asks." —Enozia Vakil, certified child psychologist and hypnotherapist (These are the compliments you need to stop giving your kids.)


"Kids need strict rules"

"You do need to set the ground rules when it comes to day-to-day activities and other crucial aspects of your home life, but being extra strict can have a major negative impact on your relationship with your child. Be the parent but in a super approachable way, so your child feels like he or she can come to you." —Enozia Vakil


"Don't punish your kid"

"In an attempt to establish a happy parent-child relationship, you may be tempted never to punish your children and let them learn from their own mistakes, but that's not something a good parent should do. Establishing a middle ground between being easy and strict is the way to go." —Enozia Vakil


"Kids should do their homework on their own—after all, it's their assignment"

"I've found that high-performing students have parents who are highly involved in supporting their children as they do homework. That doesn't mean that parents do the homework for their children. Rather, it means that parents are looking over the assignments the child has in their assignment book, checking that the child has done all the work assigned to them, finding out what happened to any missing pieces of work, ensuring that the child has a quiet place to work and is on task (this often involves sitting with or near the child while she does homework), and helping the child to neatly put the homework in the appropriate folder and pack up the school bag." —Heather Miller, Ed.M., director of LePage-Miller, a K–12 instructional design firm based in New York City (Here's what your kid's teacher wishes you knew about homework.)


"Let your child determine what activities to do"

"Children are not the best judges of what things will benefit them. Most famous ballerinas, athletes, and pianists will tell you that they wanted to quit at many points throughout their childhood. When parents encourage children to persist in spite of challenge, boredom, or even failure, children get the chance to take their skills to the next level. Over time, as their skills develop, children begin to appreciate the activity that they've spent time on, and it becomes a cherished part of their identity. And what if your child never becomes a professional at the activity? He or she will still have learned persistence, which will help in every aspect of their lives for as long as they live. Not a bad trade-off for tolerating your child's grumbling about soccer practice!" —Heather Miller (Here are tiny ways you can encourage your children every day.)


"Your child will learn to read at school, don't worry about it at home"

"Learning to read is a very complex task that can take a long time for a child to master. The children who are star readers at school are almost always those whose parents saw it as their duty to teach their children to read rather than leaving it all to the teachers. While teachers at school do a wonderful job, parents should see themselves as part of the teaching team, practicing one on one with their children. This is how so-called 'gifted' or 'natural readers' are created." —Heather Miller (Here are some reading habits to instill in young children.)

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest