From the moment that your baby belly starts to protrude, you are inundated with unsolicited parenting advice. Some of it comes from a good place, and the rest, let’s hope it does. Whether it’s family, friends, or complete strangers, they all have opinions about parenting and they want to make sure that you hear them.
There’s a lot of talk, particularly via social media memes on the benefits of bringing back “Old School Parenting.” I took a look at “Old School” parenting practices and theories to see which were still valuable, along with some others which are complete bogus and should be left in the past, where they belong.
18 Home-cooked Meals
Most of us dine out or consume fast food a lot more often than we’d like. “Old school” parenting involved a lot of home cooked meals, and left-overs nights. These were both good for the family, who was forced to sit and interact with each other, and for our waistlines. Even if your memories of home cooked meals centre around calorie laden holiday treats and rich meals, take a second and think about it.
When you cook real food, using fresh ingredients, you can adjust what is going into your mouth. An extra meal or two a week that is cooked from scratch (and taken as leftovers for lunch the next day) makes sense for everyone.
17 Focus on Grown-up Relationships Too
Your children are incredible, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes you need to spend time with the grown-ups. Whether it’s getting out for a regular Saturday night date night, or inviting other couples over for some cards, board games, or a wine tasting, it’s important.
Past generations loved their children, but didn’t boast their lack of lives since becoming parents as a martyr badge. One day your child will grow up and get their own life, so make sure you have one too that’s reasonably intact.
16 Let Your Kids Just Play
We all want the best for our kids, we want to provide them with every possible opportunity available, but sometimes we push too much. Parenting these days involves a lot of activities, swimming lessons, French club, soccer practice, you name it. Kids don’t need to be enrolled in every single activity that their friends are to have a great childhood.
Consider how stressed out you get when you feel over scheduled. Give your kids a little (or a lot) of unscheduled time to explore other facets of childhood. Extra bonus, you’ll spend a little less time at the hockey rink at 6AM on Saturday.
15 The Importance of Manners
Culture has become more casual, and in many ways this is a very good thing, allowing for a more open dialogue between adults and children, however that doesn’t mean that good manners are ever out of style. Your kids don’t need to call you Sir or Maam, but they should still be taught a page or two from the books of Miss Manners.
By instilling manner basics, respect for elders, saying please and thank you, and the value of a well written thank you note, you will be helping your child become a more successful and a more likeable human being.
14 Sick? Try the B.R.A.T. Diet
When someone has an upset stomach, whether it’s vomiting, diarrhea or a general sense of queasiness, there are a number of traditional suggestions to help make a child (or adult feel better). The B.R.A.T. diet is one of these theories. B.R.A.T. is a pneumatic device that stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast: items a sick person should consume to aid their road to recovery.
The reason that the BRAT diet works for someone with an upset stomach is that it consists of “binding foods” that are low in fibre and will help make your feces firmer, and the high levels of potassium in bananas can help replace nutrients that your body may have lost during vomiting or diarrhea.
13 Consume Clear Liquid if You’re Vomiting
If you are actively throwing up you’re going to want to even avoid something plain like the B.R.A.T. diet until your stomach settles a little. The suggestion of a clear liquid diet consisting of water, fruit juice (without pulp), gelatin, tea or coffee without cream, strained vegetable juice, sports drink, dairy free ice pops, and fat free vegetable and meat broths aren’t just good for fasting before tests, procedures and surgeries.
Chances are your granny was right, these are a good temporary measure when you have an upset stomach because they are easily digested and will leave no residue in your intestine. They’ll also help keep your electrolytes up when you’re ill. Word to the wise, this diet shouldn’t be continued for more than a few days. If you still aren’t able to keep food down, contact your medical care provider.
12 Go on a Traditional Road Trip
Many a parent has uttered the expression “only boring people get bored.” Take traditional road trips that are focused on family togetherness and not simply the big destination theme park, with electronic equipment on route to keep everyone distracted 24-7.
You probably aren’t going to remember watching that movie together, but you are going to remember the time that you all saw that beautiful rainbow, or managed to see license plates from every state and province in your road trip travels.
11 Keeping Up with the Joneses
Childhood is tough enough without it becoming an accessory to parental competition. Growing up, less than a generation ago, birthday parties were pizza, balloons and games, not an elaborate princess party that rivals many weddings, catered by a gourmet chef.
When kid activities focus on the children having a great time, and perhaps the birthday person’s interests, instead of the ice sculpture at the neighbor kid’s party everyone will have a better time, with less stress.
Yes, you should teach your child the value of hard work. By allowing your child to take on some chores, not only will you be teaching them responsibility, you’ll also be providing them with valuable life skills that will help them at “adulting” down the road.
9 Allowing for Failure/No Focus on Self-esteem
There’s no doubt that a supportive environment will help your child thrive, but think back to lessons that you’ve learned from your own failures. Sometimes stepping back and letting junior find out the consequences of not doing their homework, or feel the satisfaction of finally mastering a skill through hard work and perseverance can help them more than leaning in, hovering, and protecting them.
8 You Shouldn’t Go Out with Wet Hair
While going out in the winter with wet hair isn’t going to give you a cold or the flu, like “Old School” parenting would have you believe (you can thank viruses, germs, and what’s going around at daycare for your case of the sniffles) it isn’t a good idea to go outside with wet hair when it’s chilly outside.
Cold weather can cause the moisture in your hair to freeze, making hair less pliable and a lot more susceptible to breakage. That’s right you could break off a big chunk of hair, and don’t say that mom and dad didn’t warn you!
7 The Punishment Should Fit the Crime
While you probably don’t want to (and shouldn’t) force your teen to smoke an entire carton of cigarettes because you caught them vaping, appropriate consequences for punishment will help remind your child of what’s acceptable and what’s not.
If your teen is late for curfew, consider requiring more check ins and an earlier curfew for the next few weeks. if your kids are repeatedly fighting over a toy, consider putting the toy in question high on a shelf, visible to your child, for a day or two to remind them of the importance of sharing.
6 Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child
The basic interpretation of this expression is that by not disciplining your child, you don’t care about them and are spoiling them. While as parents it is our job to teach our children, and sometimes dole out punishments, corporal punishment as a childrearing device can do more harm than help. By using “the rod” we teach our children that violence solves problems. Is that a message you want to be sending out?
5 You Can’t Leave the Table Until You Clean Your Plate
Ever think that maybe the obesity epidemic has something to do with being raised with the clean plate club? While all parents should gently nudge their kids in the direction of healthy food choices and taking a few extra bites of their salads, don’t force a child who is full to overstuff themselves, even if you are pushing peas. By force feeding our kids we are training them to push past their body’s own natural feeling of fullness.
4 Breastfeeding Moms Clean Their Nipples with Boric Acid
Back in the day moms were told to clean their nipples using boric acid, a primary ingredient used in products to kill cockroaches, are you sure you want that anywhere near “the girls” or your newborn baby’s mouth?
3 Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Workshop
I thought this expression didn’t hold water, but it really has more to do with my modern interpretation, which seems contradictory to the fact that children and adults need free-time and rest. This expression, with biblical origins, doesn’t disparage rest, it criticises laziness. So go ahead take a load off and let your child do the same, just don’t spend all weekend binge-watching Adventure Time with your kids, get outside and do some gardening as well, okay?
2 Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever
We’ve all heard this expression, but it’s just wrong. Medical science states that we should feed both fevers and colds. When you are fighting an illness such as a cold, your body needs energy to do so, and this energy comes from calories. When you have a fever, this is the immune system’s way of increasing the body’s temperature to beat the bug.
As your temperature increases, so does your metabolism, so eating becomes even more important, not less. Most important for recovery is drinking plenty of fluids, as a fever dehydrates you, and don’t forget to pass the chicken soup.
1 Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard
This phrase was a widespread thought in Victorian culture with children both being expected to be quiet and well behaved, but also having virtually no say in their own lives. Family dynamics have changed in recent years, and children are very involved in familial decisions being made.
A recent UK survey suggests that nine out of 10 families involve their children in family decision making no matter what their age, from family vacations to new houses. Don’t you want your child to have a voice?