We live in divisive times. And it seems that, with every passing day, it becomes more difficult to agree on anything. Hell, someone can’t even post a 30 Rock meme on social media without getting flamed. When it comes to agreeing on how to raise kids? Forget about it. Ask 20 parents the same question and you’ll get 20 different answers as well as 1,000 reasons why each is correct.Debates can rage about everything from snacks and sleep training to discipline strategies and Daniel Tiger theories (“I’m telling you, Daniel’s dad can’t work at a clock factory and pay for their lifestyle. It’s a front!”) A lot of parenting advice is subjective, like why Jagger is a great name for a girl and why pie is a way better birthday pastry than a cake. But, what should parents agree on? We polled our editors and came up with this list of 101 things, simple truths we believe (rationally or not) all parents should understand. Here they are.
Screen-time for kids should be extremely limited, but sometimes you need that phone/iPad to help carry the burden. That’s okay.
Anti-Vaccine activists need to stop playing doctor.
“Baby Shark” is one hell of a catchy song.
When kids are in a playdate, they need to solve their own problems. That’s 90 percent of the point of playdates.
Soda, like beer or wine, isn’t for kids.
Grandparents generally mean well.
Puzzles are fucking awesome.
We all could use some more sleep.
Parents should be a united front.
Kids need to explore, without adults hovering over them and applauding their every achievement on the monkey bars or swings. If they fall, they fall.
Everything is sticky all the time, no one knows why, and no should have to talk about it.
Life isn’t fair, and kids won’t get invited to every party.
Facebook is for bragging, but not grandstanding.
Participation trophies are for insecure parents, not kids.
Youth sports should be fun.
Freaking out about what kids eat is largely pointless. A single candy bar has never killed anyone.
Families with perfect Instagram posts are all miserable.
Mr. Rogers was a saint.
Kids don’t have to “clean their plate” and shouldn’t be forced to.
Family dinners should be mandatory.
Every family vacation will be just fine if there is a pool involved.
One shoe is missing and it’s no one’s fault.
Kids should have at least an hour of play time every day.
Homework is a scam.
There are no “boys” toys and no “girls” toys. Toys are toys.
Yelling doesn’t work.
Every kid should have access to food, shelter, medical care, and a loving adult to guide them.
Threatening to turn the car around is a bad idea if you won’t really do it.
A person’s sexual orientation does not make them any less of a parent.
All mothers and fathers should get paid parental leave.
Playing outside is absolutely essential.
Kids don’t actually wash their hands and it’s fine.
Kids should decide when to hug — or be touched in any way by — another person.
Most parents are doing the best they can.
People who shame parents on the internet should be ignored, ostracized, or mocked.
Parents need to take care of themselves as well as their kids.
Kids shouldn’t be forced to talk to strangers.
They have yet to make a refrigerator big enough for a family art collection
Teaching respect is better than teaching deference.
Kids shouldn’t watch TV news. Neither should parents.
Phones have no place at the dinner table.
Kids should be allowed to wear whatever the hell they want until the age of five.
Gender reveal parties are dumb, but not worth whining about.
PBS is awesome.
We all say and do things as parents we swore we never would.
If employers want their emails answered at night, they can pay more.
There’s nothing wrong with hand-me-downs.
Parents don’t need to apologize for their crying children.
Raising kids in America costs too much.
The purpose of education is to create thinkers, not workers.
Cardboard boxes make excellent toys.
Parents are not obligated to keep all their kids drawings.
Raffi still gets it.
The mistreatment of children by a government is unacceptable in all situations.
Toy guns shouldn’t look real.
Co-parents should be treated with respect regardless of circumstance.
Every kid is special. Not every kid is exceptional. There’s a difference.
Kids deserve to inherit a world with clean air, clean water, and open space.
Politicians that don’t represent the interests of their constituents’ children should be removed from office.
No day care, camp, or other activity should end at 4PM.
The happiness of parents facilitates the happiness of children.
School calendars need to take single- or two-working parent households into account.
Modeling appropriate emotional reactions is one of the most important things a parent can do for their kids.
Your kid is not your therapist
Sometimes, you have to hide the batteries from that toy.
Roughhousing is a blast.
There is always more laundry.
Whoever invented the kids restaurant placemat is a genius.
All kids should be given space to be bored
We’ve all made mistakes and we have all judged other parents for their mistakes.
A child’s laughter should be bottled and sold as an energy drink.
Long car rides build character
If your kid wants to be naked, let them be naked
Fort building is, hands down, the best rainy day activity.
All kids are equally cute in the eyes of their parents and that telling those parents their kid is cute is just good etiquette.
Kids should be taught early and often to think about others, especially if they belong to a privileged group.
Sometimes, you have to lock your bedroom door.
Your kid has too much stuff.
A good routine is essential. But it should also be broken from time-to-time.
Kids should be taught to cough or sneeze into their elbow. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be runny nosed, germ-carriers. Sick happens.
Saying “Please” and “Thank You” are not exceptions. Good manners matter.
Kids need to understand — and accept — disappointment and rejection.
The joy of tucking a kid at night never gets old.
Few things in life match the joy of watching a child do something for the first time.
Popular kids TV shows are terrible but no one is making you (or your kids) watch them.
No matter how stylish you are or how great you dance, everything you do will be referred to “dad” style or “mom” dancing.
Having a kid is bad for the environment and thus you are obligated to try to be less wasteful.
Taking kids to bars with giant backyards is totally fine
Poop should be flushed down the toilet. Yes, even poop in a diaper. (It’s required by Waste Management for a reason)
It’s always a good time for crayons.
Learning to ride a bike is as important as learning to read.
Kids should be read to every damn day. No exceptions.
There are few things as fun as an impromptu family dance party
Kids are resilient and should be allowed to explore and test their boundaries physically
Kids have opinions and should be heard, not dismissed; they should not, however, be taken as gospel.
We all have lives outside our kids, including friends and conversations that are not appropriate for kids to know about.
Dunk on them with your spouse all you want. But you shouldn’t talk shit about other kids or parents in front of your kids.
Parenthood is a joy.