4 pieces of bad advice for parenting your 1-year old

You’ll have people giving you bad parenting advice all throughout Baby‘s life- it certainly won’t stop once Baby grows out of babyhood. There may be time, though, when it isn’t clear whether it’s time to stand your ground, or time to follow another person’s suggestion. You (probably) don’t know everything, after all, and your friend, neighbor, carpooler, or cashier in the grocery line all know what’s good for Baby – don’t they? The answer: not necessarily. Here’s some advice that you’re better off ignoring.

“Just this once…”

So your toddler wants something, and is whining. Loudly. Suddenly everyone around you thinks they’re an expert in how one more cookie is totally harmless or how staying up one more hour past bedtime is really no big deal. It’s annoying, but more than that, it’s frustrating. You know what Baby’s sugar high will look like, or how difficult it will be trying to get her to daycare on an hour less of sleep. The best thing to do in the face of the just-this-once brigade is to stay strong, and remember that you know what Baby needs. Don’t forget that her sense of security relies on being able to count on the limits that your family – and your family alone – sets.

Bribery as a lifestyle

This is a bad idea for both politicians and parents. Okay, so giving Baby a lollipop so you can have a moment of quiet while you finish your coffee probably isn’t going to get you impeached. But what it will do is set a precedent for Baby to learn that when she acts out, she will get a reward. It’s much better to reward the positive after it happens, instead of using a reward to stop the negative behavior.

“She doesn’t understand. You need to explain it better.”

While it’s true that sometimes Baby really doesn’t understand what it is you want from her, more complex explanations might still go over her head. This is especially true if you or she are emotional at the time. When you find yourself and Baby locked in battle, it’s usually best to use firm, succinct explanations to describe what you want from her. This will have a much stronger impact than detailed explanations of why you need something.

“What she needs is more limits!”

Yes, boundaries are super helpful. But think about the first time you learned all the rules of traffic. It was confusing at first, right? Baby needs time to learn how to follow the limits you set. If she begins to feel like she can’t meet your expectations, she may stop trying. When she has stopped trying to run down the dog with her firetruck, you can move on to the finer points of table manners. Everyone who sees Baby in public may think they know what kinds of limits she can understand, but you’re the one who sees her the rest of the time, and you’re the one who knows what she can process right now, so you’re the one who gets to set the pace she follows in learning about rules.

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