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The Worst Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Received

When you become a parent, everyone has advice. Some of it is great; some of it really, really isn't.

Flickr / Porphyria Poppins

When you become a parent, suddenly everyone has an opinion — and, boy, are they more than happy to share it with you. Friends. Relatives. Random strangers. It’s almost like holding a baby is some universal code for “please, break all boundaries and give me your advice on vaccinations, bottle feeding, and your secret to sleep training.” Doesn’t matter if you asked for it or not. Nope, you’re going to get it. It’s a natural parent of being a new parent; it’s also, at times, very frustrating.

Now, of course, some of this advice is more than welcome — and very helpful. Parenting is daunting and, as they say, it takes a village. There’s a big chunk of it, however, that’s complete nonsense, because not everyone is an expert and what worked for them might not work for everyone and also, sometimes, what that person said sounds super dangerous and deeply strange and what the hell, man? To celebrate this frustrating part of new parenthood, here’s a collection of the silliest, head-scratchiest, and, sometimes, downright dangerous advice parents have ever received.

 

“I was standing in the lobby of the hospital with my newborn. We were preparing to take him home. A stranger turns to me to admire the baby, which is totally fine. Then she says, “If he ever fusses, just blow on his face. It will surprise him and he’ll stop crying!” In an I-haven’t-sept-in-three-days haze, I simply nodded and agreed. It actually sounded like decent advice. Cut to me, a few weeks into fatherhood, blowing in my baby’s face as he’s crying. My wife is like, ‘Why are you spitting on the baby!’ ‘Some women in the hospital told me to!’ ‘A nurse?’ ‘… no!’” — Evan K., Brooklyn

“I had a boss who told me to put my career first while my children were babies because they won’t remember me not being around. Are you fucking serious?, I wanted to say, I’ll remember! ­Brian S., North Bergen, New Jersey

“My wife’s grandmother told us to never smile at our baby. We just sort of nodded and changed the topic. She was a spooky old lady.” — Steve L, Grand Rapids

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“My wife and I were friends with this couple in our building complex who had a five and six-year-old. Our daughter was three at the time. One night we’d gotten a sitter and were hanging out in their apartment when the husband said, ‘You got a sitter? You should just give ’em NyQuil. That’s what we do when we want them to stay in bed.’ Basically, he was talking about drugging up his kids and leaving them alone. We didn’t hang out with them anymore after that.” — Luis K., Miami

“My father-in-law told me to spank my kids. I told him that I wouldn’t ever and if he ever lays a hand on them, I’ll knock him out. Honestly, I think I earned his respect by getting so angry. He’s an old-school tough guy.” — Chris L., Louisville

“Someone once told me to let my kids choose every activity themselves. Oh yeah? Because that means my daughter will be looking for a moon-princess-unicorn-string-cheese-eating-class. What I mean is that she doesn’t know what she wants or how to know what she wants. She’s a toddler! I take note of her interests and push her to try things she might like and that’s how we learn and she finds excitement.” — Kyle P., Chicago

“A family friend told my wife not to read to our kids at home because they’ll read enough in school.” — Dave, Atlanta

“This isn’t the worst parenting advice I’ve ever gotten but it’ is advice that makes me really angry. I have in-laws that always try to make my kids hug people they don’t want to hug. That’s their decision, man, not yours. If my kids don’t want to hug someone, they don’t want to hug someone. I don’t care if you think they’re being rude. They should never be forced into that. That’s something my wife and I care very deeply about.” — Tim K., Las Vegas

“An uncle told me that I should only calm a crying baby if they continue to cry for 25 minutes. No exceptions.” — Brian K., New Orleans

Never let your kids see you fail. Could you imagine that? Someone who was so scared that they didn’t want to show their kids that they made mistakes too? What kind of example is that? What kind of life is that?” — Harris K., Albany NY

Don’t vaccinate your kids. Fucking idiots.” — Lawrence J., San Francisco

Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is good advice in theory and sounds nice when you hear it before your baby comes. In practice, it’s just not possible. It makes me hate whoever said it.” — Brad P., Mobile, AL

“This came from a very old woman at a local park: If your child bites you, bite back. I think she may have been an evil spirit.” — Xavier H., New York

Don’t ever give your kids choices. I mean, I get what they were saying. And it makes sense to an extent. But it’s an insane thing to say to somebody because of course you should, regularly, give your kids options.” — Chris J., Seattle

“My parents told me to keep the baby up as late as possible so that they sleep. The last generation really was just winging it, huh?” — Paul K., Hoboken, New Jersey