Debunking Parenting Myths: What’s the Truth?

parenting myths and facts

In the world of parenting, many myths have been passed around for years. People have different opinions and upbringings, which lead them to make their own decisions on how they should raise their children. However, experts in the field of childcare do not support many of these myths. Which myths need debunking, and which ones can parents start loving? Let’s find out. 


10 Myths About Parenting and the Truth Behind Them

Parenting is an ongoing learning process, and sometimes it is hard to know where to turn for reliable advice. Sure, some myths about parenting have a little nugget of truth in them (in fact, many do), but many myths are simply not true — and can only add unnecessary stress to your life.

It’s, therefore, crucial to distinguish between fact and fiction when it comes to parent myths. Here are ten parenting myths and the facts behind them.


Myth #1: Parents need to be strict and authoritative to raise well-behaved children.

The Truth: Many parents believe that the best way to raise kids is through call tough love. The truth is a parenting style that is warm and loving but also firm and consistent. Kids who grow up feeling loved tend to be more cooperative than those who are neglected or belittled.

A study found that too strict parents don’t raise well-behaved children; instead, they create rebellious kids. The researchers found an optimal amount of discipline that helps children develop self-control without pushing them away from their parents.

While it’s vital to provide consequences for bad behavior, they’ll be more likely to act out if you’re too restrictive with your kids. It’s crucial to find a balance between being strict and being too lax so that your child knows what’s expected of them and allows them some independence.


Myth #2: Vaccines cause autism 

The Truth: This is by far the most controversial parenting myth. This myth has been thoroughly debunked by scientific research and major medical organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. There’s no evidence to suggest that vaccines cause autism — or any other medical condition.

Vaccines are important for good health because they don’t just protect against diseases but also help prevent the spread of infections within communities. If fewer people are vaccinated, more people are susceptible to contracting diseases like measles and whooping cough — which can be deadly for babies and young children who aren’t yet old enough to receive vaccinations themselves.  


Myth #3: You can spoil a child by giving him too much love and attention

The Truth: The reality is that children need both love and discipline. They need boundaries, rules, and structure to help them grow into responsible adults. Those who receive love and attention from their parents are less likely to develop behavioral problems. Children who receive a lot of affection from their parents tend to have better self-esteem and fewer behavior problems than kids who get less affection from their parents (or no affection at all).

They thrive on positive reinforcement, so it’s important to give them praise when they do something well or make an effort to help with chores around the house. Whenever they do something terrible, it is necessary to discipline them accordingly.


Myth #4: Kids Are Resilient

The Truth: Resilience is the ability to face adversity, cope with stress and recover quickly. Kids are indeed resilient if they have a strong support system in place. But a recent study found that resilience is very hard to develop in children. 

Studies found that children who have exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress can develop PTSD symptoms even if they don’t show signs of externalizing or internalizing problems. Kids with PTSD are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like substance use, poor academic performance, and risky sexual behavior. They’re also more likely to experience anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health issues later in life.


Myth #5: If you don’t scold your toddler for potty training accidents, he’ll never learn how to use the toilet. 

The Truth: Undoubtedly, learning to use the toilet is challenging for toddlers, especially if they don’t have the training yet. But punishing them for accidents will only make things worse. Research suggests that using negative reinforcement like punishment or yelling at your child during this time can cause him to become anxious about using the potty.  

The key is to keep at it and be positive. If your child does something right, praise them, and try not to make a big deal out of accidents (unless they’re dangerous). It’s better to look at the situation and say, “Oops! Let’s get some paper towels and clean up this mess.


Myth #6: Honey is a good choice of sweetener for my baby

The Truth: No. Parents should not give honey to children under one year old because it may contain bacteria that can cause botulism. The honey may also contain Clostridium botulinum spores, which can multiply in the intestine, producing toxins that can cause paralysis.


Myth #7: Language ability determines school readiness

The Truth: Your kid isn’t ready for school only because she can speak English and count to 100; he isn’t prepared because he knows his ABCs and can write his name. School readiness is also about being ready to handle the emotional stressors of being away from home, making new friends, and dealing with difficult situations like bullying or teasing.


Myth #8: A baby walker promotes early walking

The Truth: A baby walker is like a training wheel for a bike. It can help babies learn how to balance and take their first steps, but it doesn’t make them walk earlier. Only developmentally ready babies can stand up, support themselves, and learn to walk. 

There has been a call from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to stop producing and selling baby walkers with wheels. They impede normal motor development, leading to poor balance and coordination. In addition, they increase the risk of falls, which are among the leading causes of injury in children under five years old.


Myth #9: Children need time alone to develop independence.

The Truth: Children don’t need time alone to learn independence; they need opportunities to practice it within safe boundaries set by their parents. Your child will develop problem-solving skills if they are allowed to try independently before getting assistance from you or someone else. 

For example, if your child is struggling with tying their shoelaces, they should have the opportunity to try on their own first before being helped by someone else (even you). If your child struggles too much, offer guidance but don’t do all the work for them just yet! Let them try again later. 


Myth #10: Parenting comes naturally

The Truth: Parenting is a learned skill. While some people are naturally good at parenting, most of us need to learn it. Parents-to-be can take advantage of resources like this one to learn more about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. 

Once babies are born, parents need to keep learning from books and websites, other parents, and their own experiences. The more you know about what works in your family and what doesn’t, the better you’ll be at raising your kids.


Tips for Positive Parenting

There are many ways to parent and many different parenting styles. What works for one family may not work for another. However, there are some things that all parents can do to ensure that they are raising children who grow up to be well-adjusted adults. Positive parenting is a style that involves building your child’s self-esteem and confidence. It also helps develop a solid parent-child relationship based on mutual respect and trust.

Here are some tips for positive parenting:


Use encouragement rather than criticism

Encouragement is a powerful tool for positive parenting because it focuses on what your child does well instead of what they do wrong. For example, instead of saying, “That’s not good enough,” try saying, “You really worked hard on that project.”


Show a good example

Model good behavior for your children by showing them by example how you should behave. For your child to be polite and considerate of other people’s feelings, you must also be polite and respectful of other people’s feelings yourself when they’re around your child to see how it’s done.


Be consistent and fair when disciplining your children

When you overreact to minor infractions, it can damage the trust between you and your child and make them feel like they’re being punished unfairly. On the other hand, if you don’t discipline your kids for serious misbehavior, they’ll begin to think they can do whatever they want, leading to more significant problems down the road.


Set boundaries

Rules are necessary for any family, but children need to understand why those rules exist. You should explain why they need to do it instead of saying “because I said so.” The more logical reasons behind a rule, the easier it is for kids to follow it without question or argument later on when they’re older and more able to understand why certain things are important.


Don’t compare your kids

Comparing one child with another — or even yourself —can cause problems in the relationship between you and your children. Instead of comparing your child to yourself or siblings, focus on their individual needs, traits, and personality. Don’t compare your child to other kids outside of the household either. Don’t compare how other parents raise their kids differently to how you raise your kids, especially in front of your child. In addition to strengthening your relationship with them, this will boost their confidence.


Where to Find Reliable Parenting Advice

If you’re looking for a good source of information on parenting, you’ll want to make sure it’s coming from a reliable source. Here’s where to find reliable parenting facts and advice.


Ask your pediatrician

Your doctor is an expert on children’s health and development and can advise everything from sleep training to discipline issues. Plus, they have seen many families over the years. They will know what worked for others in similar situations and what didn’t work for others in similar cases, so you don’t have to spend time on methods that don’t work!


Health Professional Organizations 

Professional organizations often publish position statements about controversial issues in children’s health care — for example, should all children be vaccinated? They publish information on treating various childhood illnesses and other childcare topics based on current research findings and recommendations from experts in the field. Here are some professional organizations you can follow:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
  • The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)



There are millions of books on every aspect of parenting — from birth through college graduation — so it’s easy to find one that fits your needs. Look for books written by experts like pediatricians or child psychologists. They can give you solid advice based on research and real-world experience.


Medical Blogs

Many doctors and medical professionals have blogs to share information about their professions and interests. A medical blog can offer a wealth of knowledge on vaccines, breastfeeding, and raising children with special needs. CMC Fresno has a monthly dedicated blog with timely information and insights into your child’s health.



Parenting is an art, and no two children are alike. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising kids — and that’s what makes parenthood so incredibly rewarding. As long as you’re doing your best to provide for your kids physically, emotionally, and intellectually, you’re doing great!

For more parenting advice, read the CMCFresno blog


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