The Worst Parenting Advice Ever Given, According to Moms

The Worst Parenting Advice Ever Given, According to Moms

These moms prove that sometimes the best advice is to ignore the bad advice.

By: Leah Maxwell

When it comes to parenting, everyone has an opinion. Chances are you’ve heard a lot of advice about how you should raise your kids, whether from relatives, friends, acquaintances, or strangers in line at the grocery store (and probably all of the above).

Overall, people mean well and really do want to help, but sometimes their so-called helpful advice is the furthest thing from useful. We asked moms to share the worst parenting advice they’ve ever received -- everything from good advice gone bad to just plain bad advice -- and they delivered. Read on for some real doozies...

1. “I was told when my daughter was two weeks old that I absolutely must have a son for my husband. That was from a stranger at the grocery store.”

2. “I was told by strangers (repeatedly) to stop painting my son’s toenails and to stop letting him wear pink high-tops. He was 2.5/3 and he wanted his toes to match mine and his sisters’, and his favorite color was pink. I was warned that I was turning him gay and setting him up for a harder life than he would’ve had otherwise.”

3. “While I was pregnant, someone said sitting on a cold bench could cause a miscarriage.”

4. “A stranger (old lady) in the grocery store offered me a recipe for homemade formula. Because that’s where I want to get my sole nutrition for my infant child, from a handwritten recipe from a stranger in the chips aisle. She backed me into a corner and was all, ‘Are you giving that baby any of that ARTIFICIAL MILK? Because I have a recipe for homemade formula that is so much better for them.’ She had crazy eyes.”

5. “My grandma told me to only dress the baby in white or very light colors because dressing her in dark colors would make her bad. Keep in mind, in her day she was told to lay her infant on a blanket in the sun outside for a few hours while she went about her normal housework inside. So, you know -- different era.”

6. “My sister was told to cut her kids’ eyelashes (when they were days old), so they’d grow in thicker.”

7. “My father-in-law casually mentioned (in a way that suggested he was serious) that I turn a hose on my tantruming 3-year-old. A hose. Still unbelievable to me.”

8. “My beloved friend, who is the mother of six, said that I need to encourage my daughter to try to fit in because that will make her life easier. Instead, I will encourage my daughter to be her authentic self because that is what makes her happy. Why encourage your child to be a cheap copy when they are amazing originals?!”

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9. “I was told I should put my (exclusively breastfed) 1-month-old on a diet.”

10. “‘Give your baby a raw egg yolk mixed with honey and bourbon for her cold.’ There was no hiding my horror. I can’t remember her exact age except that she was under 1, so the honey [alone] was a no go.”


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11. “‘Don’t worry [about potty training] – they won’t go to kindergarten in diapers!’ Spoiler alert: YES, SOME DO.”

12. “‘Force your child to become the idealized view of a child you had in your head before you became a parent.’ You wanted a jock instead of a musical prodigy? Force football instead of violin to see if he comes around.”

13. “I was told to make sure I kept my son’s feet covered or else he’d catch a cold. This advice was given to me in July. While we lived in Arizona.”

14. “You'd better have another child because only children are (and I quote) ‘terrible.’” (My son is an only child, and so am I.)”

15. “I can't believe you keep picking up your crying 6-month-old baby. You’re going to spoil her.”

16. “Don't show your baby his reflection in the mirror because he’ll be scared that he has no teeth.”

What’s the worst parenting advice you’ve ever heard?

Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

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