Some of the Worst Parenting Advice Ever

Whether you’re pregnant for the first time, or whether you’re talking about pregnancy with a new mom-to-be, chances are the advice is going to flow like water. Even after the baby is born, people are going to tell you how best to take care of your little one.

This doesn’t stop; parents of teenagers regularly receive tips on how they can make their kids “straighten up and fly right,” even from complete strangers.

If you’re a parent or even just pregnant, chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of some of this advice. And, as you also know, not all of that advice is good.

Here is some of the worst advice given to parents, collected by


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  • Train your children like stubborn mules.  A Tennessee minister by the name of Michael Pearl published a book last year that recommended striking 6 month-old babies with wooden spoons or flexible tubes when they’re acting selfishly. His book also insists that truly devoted moms can potty train an infant by the age of 2 weeks.
  • Ignore crying.  In 1929 the U.S. Department of Labor published a pamphlet that declared that a baby must learn that crying habitually should result in parents ignoring him. So much for handling colic.
  • Don’t hug or kiss your child. This amounts to spoiling, according to a psychologist named John B. Watson in the early 20th century, and it will “curdle” your child’s character.
  • No bouncing on the knee.  A physician by the name of L. Emmet Holt said that parents shouldn’t bounce babies on the knee, as it would spoil them and wreck their nerves. He also advised against playing with your infant until after the age of four months – six months, if you really don’t want to spoil the baby.
  • Be strict or your child will be a socialist.  In 1962 Walter W. Sackett Jr. Published a book that said parents who weren’t strict with children were unpatriotic and turning them into socialists. He compared parents who weren’t strict to Hitler (and this was long before the trend became popular on the Internet).
  • Don’t give baby angry breast milk.  One doctor in the 1920s advised against mothers breastfeeding while they were angry or experiencing premenstrual symptoms, as it could corrupt the baby’s character.


So, what’s the worst parenting advice you’ve ever been given?

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