14 Surprising Myths About Parenthood

Sugar doesn't make kids hyper...and other facts that will surprise you!

Myth: You'll spoil your baby if you pick him up whenever he cries.

Kids are undersize adults who are perfectly capable of holding down a job. Children should be seen and not heard. That's probably what you would have believed if you'd raised a family 100 years ago. Today, of course, you know such ideas are utter nonsense. So why are you still convinced that sugar makes your preschooler bounce off the walls? Or that bribing your child makes you a bad parent? Because you're no more immune than your Victorian ancestors were to conventional wisdom that's tossed at you by friends, family, and the media. To help you sort facts from fiction, we've taken a look at some myths that circulate widely among today's parents. Here, an update.

Myth: You'll spoil your baby if you pick him up whenever he cries.

Truth: You can't spoil a newborn. Period. If your baby calms down when you pick him up, he needed to be picked up. But more important, he has to gain confidence that you will respond to his needs, says Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., author of Emotionally Intelligent Parenting (Three Rivers Press). In fact, during the first six months of life, that's a baby's primary job. "The critical task at this stage is developing a sense of trust that the world will take care of him," Dr. Elias says. "If you're crying or screaming and no one comes to pick you up, you don't develop that trust." After the baby is about 6 months old, Dr. Elias adds, your job is to pull back a bit and let him figure out that he can survive -- for a few minutes, at least -- without someone rushing to his side. Don't worry; he may holler, but by then, deep down, he knows you'll be back.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment