Outdated Parenting Advice: Common Old Wives’ Tales for Parents and Grandparents to Ignore
When Divina Jacobs, a mother of three from Arnold, had her first child, she was surprised by all the unusual parenting advice she received. She heard a lot of outdated advice and old wives’ tales, and not only was this advice untrue, some of it was absolutely bizarre.
“With my first child, I was told not to let her cry in the evening or right before bed because that would cause gas, which would make her colicky,” Jacobs says. “I was supposed to do anything she wanted, so she wouldn’t cry at all. Also, I should never rub her gums, or her teeth wouldn’t come through. And I was told that if I held her up by her arms in a walking motion before she was six months old, she would have bowed legs. None of these proved to be true, so when my second child was born, I took all the advice with a grain of salt.”
Most parents and parents-to-be can probably relate to Jacobs’ experience. When it comes to babies, it seems everyone—family, friends, even strangers—feels the need to give unsolicited parenting advice. Sorting through this information can be confusing, leaving you with more questions than answers. And although old wives’ tales are usually harmless, they can pose a potential danger if you resort to them instead of seeking medical attention for your baby.
“Everyone projects what worked for them [when they were raising children] on you, so that’s what they advise you to do,” says Robert G. Graw, Jr., a pediatrician in private practice in the Davidsonville office of the Pediatric Group and CEO and chief pediatrician, Righttime Medical Care. “But it’s important to realize that what worked for them may not work for you.” Instead, Graw advises new parents to gather information and talk to their pediatrician. “Your pediatrician can guide you based on your family and your lifestyle. Every child is different. You need to find what works best for you and develop your own parenting style,” he says.