There’s all kinds of false ideas swirling around when it comes to parenting. From the idea you shouldn’t discipline your kids to misbehaving children can only come from bad parenting. Here’s 5 other parenting myths you should leave in the ‘fake news’ pile.
1. The ‘back in my day’ myth
Nostalgia is a funny thing. It can turn highschool into a fun rite of passage and childhoods into idealised rose-tinted wonderlands. How many times have you heard from your parents - or said yourself - things were better back in my day? Before political correctness and smartphones to ruin childhood fun. But the truth is things aren’t so different. Kids can still enjoy playing in the backyard or roaming neighbourhood streets. We’ve just learnt the importance of safety, especially in outdoor playtime. Ride your bike (but wear a helmet), visit the playground (just not by yourself) and do anything and everything your parents enjoyed. In fact thanks to smartphones things are better than they were back in your day because now you can check up on your kids anytime.
2. The ‘super mum’ myth
Rachel Allan is an author, business owner and busy mum. She knows how hard it can be at times to keep on top of everything in your life. Which is why she’s ready to give the flick to the ‘super mum’ myth.
"It is time we debunked the super mum myth. We can not possibly be this person - there is just not enough time in the day. Let's stop looking at other mum's highlight reels on social media and thinking that, that mother has it all together. Because she probably doesn't. It is nice to bake fresh cakes and biscuits - but it is OK to buy them at the supermarket too. Homemade, nutritious dinners are great - sometimes a drive through takeaway is just what is needed.
Mums we can not give all of our time to our children, have display home quality houses, home cooked everything, push the pram in the park every day, look immaculate, do yoga and hold down a job or business. Something will give - and it will most likely be you! Lower the expectations and start to live life!"
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3. You have to treat your children the same
You should always provide your children with the same opportunities to excel in life but age and development can mean they are ready for different things at different times. The problem is a young mind can’t understand why they are being treated differently, outside of mummy mustn’t love me. For example, your older child may have outgrown their old bed but all the younger one sees is their sibling getting a new big kid bed. Rather than buying your younger child a bed they don’t need yet, let them know they’ll have the same as their sibling when they reach the same age.
4. Illness hinders your parenting
Teena Hantke, from Whoa Mumma, shares one myth that’s been a real thorn in her side.
“As a mother, blogger, volunteer and worker who has several chronic health conditions and over 40 surgeries in the last 20 years I faced prejudice that I wouldn't be well enough or capable enough to be a parent and that if I was a parent my child would miss out on so much. I would have to strongly say that the opposite is in fact true. For myself and other parents I know with chronic illnesses we genuinely work harder to make sure our children don't miss out on normal childhood activities and to give them the best experiences possible.
I would also say one of the benefits of kids having a parent with a chronic illness is that our children grow up displaying more empathy and compassion towards others with illness and less judgmental. For instance my 5 yr old recently saw someone using a mobility scooter and the person had no outward signs of a condition (no casts or missing limbs), but at his tender age he commented that just because he couldn't see what was wrong didn't mean there wasn't something wrong, he understood the concept of 'invisible illness', a concept many adults do not respect or grasp.”
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5. Your needs should come last
People often say once you have kids it’s 18 years of your life gone in a flash. Yes they will take up a great deal of your time, and you probably don’t mind. But there’s a balance between putting your kids first and letting your dreams or goals disappear. It’s time to let go of the myth that your needs should come last.
They will wait while you finish cooking dinner before you view their picture and they will appreciate your full attention when you are able to give it. They will learn independence, patience and self-respect by example when you put yourself first. Being a parent is not your whole identity and putting yourself first sometimes is not the same as putting your kids last.
We hope letting go of all these false ideas will make you a happier, healthier parent. At the end of the day every parent is doing the best they can and the last thing anyone needs is a niggling, silly myth holding them back.