Old School Parenting: 20 Myths Parents Believed Were True

There are some 'bits of advice' that have become a constant in a parent's life. They are fed little white lies at gullible ages to either rid some of their annoying quirks or to just make raising children easier on parents. Plenty of malarkey has trickled down generations and as adults, they still hold a slight belief in some, as ridiculous sounding as they may be. Though these myths rarely (make that never) carry truth, they have somehow been successful in maintaining a status for as long as anyone can remember.

Millennials are raving to debunk myths and dispel such inauthentic, inaccurate superstitions. Seriously though, how many times has anyone fallen victim to misfortune after a black cat crossed their path? When was the last time an old wives tale proved to be factual than fictitious jibber jabber? Did they happen upon a sack of freshly minted dollars after a case of itchy hands? No. But, people still hold on to the suspicion that maybe their parents were right. After all, they are no more immune to superstition than their grandparents were.

Fact is, as humorous as these myths may be, they are labeled under myths for a reason - it's all word vomit disguised as wisdom when adults wanted to make them act or behave in a certain way. As children, it was easy to swallow any information fed with a stern expression and sincere heart. As adults, they find good-humored pleasure in recycling these myths when and where convenient for their own children.

Sharpen those pencils (or ready those thumbs on the keypad!), it's time to take a few pointers! Let's sort some facts from fiction. Here is a list of 20 famously used myths we were probably raised to believe.

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20 Sugar Makes Kids Hyper

Who here hasn't heard this one? The term 'sugar rush' was coined out of this sacred belief. Sugar seems to be public enemy number one as far as kids are concerned. We have all had our chocolates confiscated, and sweeties hidden at the topmost shelves- safely out of reach for the fear of activating the monstrous demon that leads to a hyper child.

You are nodding along in agreement, aren't you? Thinking it's SO TRUE.


According to many researchers, there is no direct evidence linking hyperactivity in a child with sugar. Researchers at Yale also observed that, though sugar may influence a release of adrenaline into the bloodstream, it is not solely responsible for your child to tear down curtains and hand painting off your walls. Any foods which cause manipulation of blood sugar, thereby releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream, can be held culpable for causing irrational behavior in your child. Even a tomato!

Age also factors in for energy surges. 

The younger the child, the more energy he/she has in them which is just waiting to burst out. Helpful tip: including fiber to the everyday diet is a known method of balancing blood sugar levels. So, maybe next time, instead of forcing a bowl of greens for dinner, some oatmeal or cheerios might prove to be equally healthy.

19 Babies Who Walk And Talk Early Grow Up To Be Smarter

The social pressure of observing speech and the ability to walk without assistance in a child as early as 8 months, can be a cause of anxiety in most parents. There is a strong belief circulating among parents that a child who can walk ahead of his/her peers is the ultimate ruler of the sandpit. In short, it is widely accepted that there is a connection between early age development with intelligence in later years. However, the timing when the child decides to speak their first words or run a marathon is of little, or no consequence.

According to a study supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), there is no evidence of children who are quick to speak or walk, grow to be exceptionally smart nor better co-ordinated. Infant vocabulary varies from one child to another, as long as the child shows signs of communication and coordination between the ages of 12 to 20 months, it is perfectly natural to discover the child's genius in later years.

Babies are purely perceptive and they mimic behavior. Your baby can grow up to Newton-ic intelligence so long as he is provided with the resources, environment, and circumstance. What we are trying to say here is: let your baby be a baby! Don't give in to the social pressures of training your child to achieve something ahead of time, when it will take its natural progression.

18 More Babies Are Born During A Full Moon


The moon has been accused of first-degree romanticism since its' existence in our orbit. Although it stands innocent of having any kind of contribution to child making, save for the moonlight lazily peering through the curtains on a perfect night. Many doulas, grandmothers, and even maternity nurses swear by the belief that there is a surge in babies during a full moon.

This is as good as believing storks really do deliver babies, maybe a full moon aids their flight route?

You know this silly myth does not carry an ounce of truth because the fullness of the moon cannot determine the populace of babies born! According to BabyCenter, scientific studies have already disproved these notions stating of their absolute inaccuracy. After having examined data collected over 20 years, astronomer and physicist, Daniel Caton, found no correlation between deliveries and full moon.

Seriously though, what were you expecting? You've got babies being welcomed in the sun as much under a full moon. Maybe people need to quit holding the moon accountable for their romantic rendezvous and it's eventual natural consequence. Babies are born in the heat. Babies are born in the spring. Babies are born in every country along the equator. Babies are born. Period.

17 Bouncing A Baby Will Cause Bowlegs

This old wives tale probably went pandemic after some paranoid mommies found it logical that a baby cannot possibly hold his own weight so young. Of course, the only reasonable explanation to avoid such incidents was to popularize the notion and instill fear of defects. Babies learn to hold their weight quite early on in their lives. They wobble and remain unbalanced until they finally develop the strength and sense to hold themselves up. Though it is wise to be careful not to put too much pressure on their joints, especially the neck which begins to grow stable after 3 months. There is no evidence to support this myth.

Since babies are postured to bend their legs within the uterus, they naturally tend to seemingly have a bow shape in the initial months after birth leading (up to 6 months.) Encouraging your child to stand will help them find their center of gravity and eventually dispel the fear of standing without assistance.

According to pediatricians, babies begin straightening their legs at 2 months with reflexive movements rather than voluntary controlled kicks. Once the bones develop strength, your baby will enjoy being positioned upright or playfully bounced. Bow legged-ness is only caused due to severe deficiencies, disease, genetic defect, or fractures.

16 Two Blue Eyed Parents Can't Have a Brown Eyed Kid

There is a lot of science involved in attempting to disprove this myth. Genetic interaction is still vastly unexplained and unchartered. Though it is rare to find children with darker eye color than their blue-eyed parents, it is still entirely probable. Simply put, if the genes don't learn to play nice, the rare result is the addition of melanin which causes the pigmentation to express brown instead of blue.

Eye color is subject to a lot of pigmentation over time and exposure.

Babies may have hazel colored eyes in the first few months which may, over time, grow to be dark brown. Eye and hair color has been associated with several cultural myths believing certain colors to even bring bad luck or be associated with witchcraft. People who are blind to scientific facts seek their understanding in such myths.

Your brown eyed baby drips chocolate with every wondrous look, moms, and dads! Don't let myths allow suspicion into your minds.

15 It Takes Seven Years To Digest A Piece Of Gum


Though gum is indigestible purely because of its' synthetic properties, it is passed out in 6 to 12 hrs with the rest of your body's garbage disposal. Our bodies retain the sugar content in the gum while discarding the rest. So rest assured, your body does not have a gum storage or utility room inside to hold it for 7 years. What goes in, must come out!

My grandfather ingrained the fear of gum in me at the tender age of 7 and, to this day, I cannot chew gum like a normal person. If this were true then emergency rooms would be filing in teenagers by the dozen every hour! Parents were sly to invent this little lie to save from choking hazards which children often find themselves in. I bet anything that goes into your child's mouth finds a way down their throat to lodge somewhere that triggers a panic attack in you. Which is why this little white lie proves to be a handy tool in your arsenal.

Janitors might rejoice at the knowledge and begin campaigning for gums to be swallowed, instead of finding them stuck beneath desks and chairs. You would think if mere gum poses such a health hazard it would have been off the market decades ago!

14 Eating Carrots Will Give You Night Vision

...and yet I have a family of five with four rocking aviators styled frames to hipster squares! Bugs Bunny here would have sooner become one of the superhero's found in the Avengers had carrots given him super sight. Jokes aside, this myth isn't entirely incorrect. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, which aid in the body's Keratin production, hence improving eyesight, hair, and nails.

Not everything mom said was to trick you into eating what she considered healthy; sometimes it really is just healthy.

You would have to consume an unimaginable amount of carrots before you can kick into night vision, but studies prove there is a definite relation between eyesight and carrots. According to studies focusing on Vitamin A benefits (not carrots specifically), roughly 250,000 to 500,000 children suffer deficiencies leading to impairment or blindness.

I suppose we can stock our carts with this helpful vegetable after all. Maybe this little myth can be allowed to breathe for another generation to come!

13 Walking Barefoot Will Make Your Feet Big

Legend has it Bigfoot still wanders the Himalayan terrains, and occasionally makes a stop at the mall to fit into a pair of Jimmy Choos. Some cultures encourage barefoot walking as part of healthy feet habits. Shoes do restrict the shape and natural size of our feet, however walking without them do not turn you into Bigfoot. As most physical attributes, genetics come into play to determine the size of your feet. However, our feet size change throughout the span of our life.

Walking without shoes relaxes the toes apart giving the impression of bigger feet. It is common practice in Asian countries to observe walking habit without shoes, within the house, as a sign of cleanliness and respect. If you notice Asians have smaller feet compared to Europeans or other ethnicities, maybe it's because they didn't wear shoes (insert my fancy eye roll here.)

This is another one of those little white lies mothers whispered into your ear so you didn't run wild and get the soles of your feet dirty every five minutes. It is the first item in apparel children will gladly discard if they aren't fed stories to keep those shoes on! The fantastic power of myth might be the reason for your shoe obsession after all!

12 You'll Grow A Watermelon In Your Tummy If You Eat A Seed

There is nothing quite as delicious as a juicy bite of blushing watermelon, on a hot summer's day. Considering our stomach contains mainly acid, I don't see it making for the ideal gardening environment! Just like the innocent gum accused of health hazards; seeds share the blame in finding more children than desired in emergency situations.

The truth is watermelon seeds will accompany the unwanted gum stub down the disposal pipeline on your next visit to the loo.

According to healthcare specialists, seeds are only harmful if they are part of a rotting piece of fruit or vegetable or not the kind humans can normally consume (bird seeds for example). Watermelon has hydrating benefits aplenty. This fruit is all heart and no deceptions!

Seeds and the likes, are immediately destroyed when exposed to stomach acid which is why you can enjoy swallowing a few with those watermelon slices (handpicking is a chore if mom's not the one doing it!). Such myths, sadly, can put off children from developing a love of fruit since they immediately begin to associate it with something negative. How about instead of feeding the myth, feed the child?

11 If You Don't Finish Your Food, The Boogie Man Will Eat It

This may not be as popular on the western side of the world, but it is famously used around Middle and South East Asian dinner tables. Giving the Boogie Man the last bite serves as an almost sinful act. Children are taught to combat monstrous attempts from young ages in the battle of good Vs evil. We have innumerable satan-made tales to teach our children good etiquettes. A circle of frowns would follow if there were leftovers on our plates, and the teasing image of a two-horned pitchfork wielding villain would suddenly summon in front of our eyes with drool running down his cheeks at the sight of our unfinished pizza.

Fantastical, isn't it? I think so.

Teaching children the good habit of finishing their food and not wasting it demands to tap into your creativity. Different cultures have their versions of monsters on standby, waiting for a chance to pounce on opportunities adults perceive as incorrect behavior. Pretty sly of the adults! It beats the endless cajoling and convincing it might otherwise take for your child to chew and swallow (while your food sits cold in its plate.) Needless to say, this is a myth which needs no supportive study to prove its ridiculousness (insert eye roll here).

10 Girls Who Wear Hats/Caps Grow Bald

This can be a little girl'ss worst fear if she is as fond of her locks as she is of her dolls. Now I am not sure why this myth ever happened to take form in the first place. While male patterned baldness has scientific evidence, there are no or few types of research linking receding hairline in females to headwear. This would mean women/girls who opt to wear hijabs/headscarves save a ton of shampoo and hair care products because they must be bald underneath the tightly wound cloth (Gasps!).

Female baldness has no direct link to any kind of headwear, be it a baseball cap or a large tent wrapped around the head in the wilderness that is this world.

According to the dermatologist, Aman Samrao, pressure on the hair follicles for extended periods may contribute to a receding hairline due to alopecia. This could be true for even women who tightly braid their hair, common in African Americans, and not subjected to wearing hats, beanies or caps. Unlike male patterned baldness which is mainly genetic, thinning of the hair in females is largely due to the environment and treatment of the hair itself (go easy on those products, if you know what I mean).

Anyway, who says bald isn't beautiful? I say, out with the old, on with the bold! Hear! Hear! After all, who needs hair with a gorgeous face like yours?

9 Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever

This anecdote dates back to the 1500's, when it was believed a full stomach would only aggravate a person's fever by dispensing energy in digestion, instead of fighting the fever. Well, of course, with recent advancements and the innumerable medicinal discoveries, this too was proved as bogus. Common sense insists we keep up the nutrients intake, in order to combat any changes in our body's temperature. No wonder chicken soup can do wonders for the body and soul!

According to Mark A. Moyad, MD, the 1500's folklore believed a fever would run the metabolism into overdrive inhibiting any progress of recovery. Truth is, our bodies need a lot more energy if it's combating an illness, be it a cold one or running a high temperature. Children at young ages especially require an adequate amount of calories and fluids to strengthen their immunity.

Personally, I think ice-cream makes for a great treatment against the flu (maybe mom might not agree to our remedy!). There's nothing like battling those germs by rewarding your body with a little bit of love and plenty of food!

8 Sitting Too Close To The Screen Will Make You Blind

I suppose this one keeps parents from having their kids glued to their favorite cartoon, while secretly wanting to catch an episode of the hot buzzing Quantico. It's difficult to fight for the remote with a child when they have such fancy in their eyes, enjoying an episode of Ricky and Morty. Nevertheless, you can find children of varying ages fixating on some screen of sorts these days.

With an array of options from iPad, smartphones to portable video games, there is only so much a parent can do from keeping their child's eyes away from the screen.

There is no significant proof of any physical eye damage by being seated too close to the T.V screen unless you were born before the 1960' when radiation effects were still a mystery. However, exposure to any electronic device emitting artificial rays can cause eye strain (potatoes and apples are what the difference is between a strain and damage.) You won't lose an eyeball, but you may have a hankering headache. According to Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD, if your child has to sit close to the T.V, it might be an indication of poor eyesight to being with!

A simple solution to all this is simply switching the T.V off! Ever tried that? Maybe encourage outdoor activities, instead of pushing a phone into your child's hands to keep them busy while you drool over how luscious Priyanka Chopra's hair looks in the latest season.

7 Heartburns In Pregnancy Means You Will Have A Hairy Baby

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This may not be entirely false, considering researchers at John Hopkins have confirmed a correlation between a baby's hair and heartburns. The reason is that the Oestrogen hormone is responsible for a lot of radical physical alterations (swollen ankles, bloating, the pregnancy works!) is also responsible for relaxing the base of the esophagus causing refluxes. And, it's really acting as a fertilizer to your baby's budding follicles.

"Man, I'm pretty!" said Johnny Bravo in every episode ever aired. It's true, with hair like his who wouldn't feel exceptionally attractive? Mothers would sooner begin to chow on Indian food if heartburn were the sole reason for a newborn with a head full of thick locks.

A hairy baby is just a fuzz-covered bundle of joy.

Rejoice, mommy! The heartburns may be incredibly uncomfortable to deal with as your pregnancy furthers from trimester to trimester, but the result will be exceptionally gorgeous. We think you should consider stocking up on scrunchies and headbands with Rapunzel on the way!

6 Drinking Cold Water After A Meal Is Bad

Contrary to popular belief, the temperature of the water has not been evidenced with a positive or negative effect when combined with a meal. In fact, research suggests cold water might even burn more calories even if it is a significantly low difference. The commonly accepted theory is that cold water solidifies fat in the intestines, contributing to bloating and a sluggish pipework. Some have gone as far as putting blame on consuming cold water to heart attacks! The things we are gullible to believe!

In South Asian cultures, warm or room temperature water and teas, are preferred with meals with the belief of encouraging better digestion habits. Some myths are purely cultural without holding evidence to support such ideologies. Drinking water after a meal will naturally help in keeping hydrated and breaking down fibrous food contents. According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, drinking water will always be beneficial, whether cold or hot. The internal pipeline you're so worried to clog needs moisture to combat constipation.

And let's be real. You usually pair your meals with a soul-satisfying cold soda anyway. Let's not prosecute water when you are still learning to rid some actual bad habits. Guilty as charged!

5 If Your Nose Is Itching, Someone Is Talking About You

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The 'itchy nose conjecture'  has it's' own history of lore with old folks scrutinizing every part of this feature to superstition. Some believe an itchy nose indicates a visitor; left side itch means expect a male visitor, while the right side is a female. The superstition goes as far as connoting an itch on the inside to death and misfortune.

Maybe allergies weren't introduced in history when this little white lie came out.

Otherwise, it would have saved some people a ton of grief over something that could simply be remedied with a good scratch or moisturizer.

Of course, this myth holds no truth. We don't believe scientists and researchers would allocate precious time to study the correlation between an itch and myth, especially when there are hoverboards and flying cars still trying to make a breakthrough! We all love to believe we are important enough to be spoken about. On the other hand, we do indulge in idle gossip more than we would like to admit. This maxim possibility stems from a place of insecurity.

Simply put, an itchy nose is possibly an indication of allergies. Save your investigative energy on stalking an old schoolmate on facebook (we are all doing it!). If someone really is talking about you, make it count.

4 Hiccups Mean Someone Misses You

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It's strange how myths are obsessed with putting meaning to simple body reflexes. Our forefathers really knew how to put a superstitious spin on anything they could not be explained in laymen terms. Everything our body does has to have a mythical significance. Why can't a cute little hiccup spell be just that? Although, it does flatter one's ego to think hiccups indicate someone missing them.

According to William A. Whitelaw, a professor in the department of medicine at the University of Calgary, there may be more than one reason to your hiccups. Consistent rhythmic hiccups might be indicative of underlying health issues, whereas conditional hiccups usually arise from acid reflux. In other words, nothing like a good old home remedy to rid yourself of a bothersome spell.

But, if you insist on holding on to this belief, then maybe you should call on the first person who appeared in your thoughts with the onset of hiccups. Maybe it's not someone missing you but, instead, you want an excuse to contact that special someone? These are all things that make you go hmmm...

3 Drinking Coffee Will Stunt Your Growth

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Giving caffeine to a child is as good of an idea as injecting a dose of steroids into a gym rat. The results will be equally drastic. However, caffeine is not solely subjected to coffee. Parents find coffee tantamount to narcotics where kids are concerned. We are all aware of foods which drive children into hyperactivity, and yes, coffee is guilty of this charge indeed.

While coffee can affect a child's disposition and appetite, it will not affect their bone growth.

It was widely believed coffee consumption at young ages can lead to osteoporosis by directly attacking bone growth and density. According to Dr. Solomon, while drinking coffee, it most definitely cannot affect the health of bones in children. However, it does contribute to poor sleeping habits which influence overall growth. Children need to observe 10 to 12 hrs of sleep in their pre-teenage to allow growth hormones develop their body for the next growth spurt.

A sip or two won't harm your child, but it may leave them crawling up ceilings like Spider-man. Word of advice to the wise- proceed with caution.

2 Eating Bread-Crusts Will Give You Curly Hair

This old aged tale could be the answer to saving cost on curling irons, instead, investing in a healthier alternative- whole wheat bread! So you would think. While we all love naturally lush curls flowing down our backs, this myth does no carry a hint of truth to it. You can cut the crusts off of your PB&J's now, you won't curl up.

But, hold that thought.

According to research conducted by German researchers is 2002, the crusts on bread have eight times more of cancer-fighting oxidants and are richer in nutrients. Time to wear the big boy pants and keep those crusts on. Those bread crusts may not give you curly hair but they will keep you healthier. Let's not burst granny's bubble though.

This myth began its' circulation at a time of the great famine, in Europe, hundreds of years ago, when a rich head of curly hair was perceived as a sign of optimal health. Mothers, then, had to convince children to eat down to the crusts to avoid malnutrition and starvation. At the time, only the rich were fortunate enough to exercise the option of cutting the crusts off, while the majority of the population hungrily devoured every last crumb. We owe it to history to be grateful of crusts.

1 If You Make An Silly Face, It Will Remain That Way

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As children, it provided premier entertainment for our faces as weirdly as possible, from scrunching to inverting eyelids, to touching our tongues to our noses. You know you have tried them all successfully. Being creative with our faces was a feat of its own. The only ones who seemed to object to our facial acrobatics were the adults. (Parents, go figure.) There is no evidence to support such outrageous conjecture.

Unless a child, or adult, suffers from real disorders, defects or illness lending to facial distortion, there is no permanent effect of making silly faces at your siblings or the neighbor's loud dog.

An erroneous of a statement could not be made. Jim Carrey would have had to hire a plastic surgeon to have his features set back to their original positioning had this been true. Our face muscles have a lot of elasticity which is why they will always return to the original form, no matter how much we stretch them in expression or silliness.

With time, stress, exhaustion, and anger can contribute to early onset of wrinkles. A permanent frown can put a few wrinkles and folds on your forehead. So next time you see a child making faces, join in on the fun and exercises those muscles into a youthful face.

References: everydayhealth.com, science.howstuffworks.com, mom.me, scientificamerican.com, udel.edu, healthfully.com, sciencedaily.com, beingtheparent.com, scientificamerican.com, livestrong.com, yalescientific.org, wonderopolis.org, mirror.co.uk, kidshealthy.org, sharecare.com, livescience.com, wonderpolis.org, beingtheparent.com, lifewithgremlins.com

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