Maybe you are raising kids, so you have already gotten some of this advice and you are either living up to it or ignoring it. Or you are a brand-new parent or will be, or are planning to be, and you might have gotten some of this advice and are trying to take it to heart - or you have not heard it yet and you're frankly surprised that you're getting it from us.
Well, actually, the advice we're showing you now is not advice we would give, per se- it's advice that has been given that could be filed under Myths and Legends.
Yes, we have all gotten our share of parenting advice, and we want to show respect and deference to those who have been there - including our parents, who raised us hell-raisers and survived. But here we will present some of the most popular advice over the years - and tell you how it's all hooey.
Mythical Advice: Don't bribe your kids. Actually, giving incentives for specific behaviors can be good - such as a couple M&M's if your child goes potty successfully during the training stage, or a sticker for making his bed everyday for a week. But be selective and use it as a last resort.
Mythical Advice: Don't argue in front of the kids. Actually, fighting should be shown as a normal part of relationships and not something that should be hidden or abnormal. The points to consider, though, are to never fight about the kids in front of them (such as about discipline), and don't let arguments or disagreements turn into emotional or physical abuse. Try keeping the tone as loving as possible, and when the fight blows over, make sure your kids see you "kiss and make up." Basically, show them that all couples disagree, but that it can be handled in a respectful way and shouldn't be feared.
Mythical Advice: Always put your kids first. Actually, doing so might actually give your kids a false sense of self-importance and may contribute to selfishness. Instead, don't drop everything for your baby after the first nine to 12 months; continue whatever conversation you are having until you can pause, and don't stop doing what you're in the middle of doing just because your child is hungry or crying. This teaches patience and respect for others.
Mythical Advice: Sacrifice everything for your child. Actually ... related to the point above, don't make your kids the center and circumference of your world. It's OK to have "date nights with your spouse, or for you to have a weekly poker game or book club without your kids. You should focus on yourself sometimes - after all, you will be living with yourself a lot longer than your kids will. Or at least, you should.
Mythical Advice: Treat all your kids the same. Actually, more emphasis should be laced on "fairness" rather than sameness. It's fair that an older sibling can stay up 30 minutes later than a younger one, or that the older sibling does not need to nap while the younger one does. The real sense should be to treat each child the same when they are at that age. Don't treat your 12-year-old differently than you treated your 15-year-old when the older sibling was 12. Make sense?
Mythical Advice: Quality time. Actually, it isn't so much what you do with your kids - it's more about that you spend time with them. Any time at all - whether it's going over homework, saying prayers before bed, or playing an impromptu game on the family's tablet computer. All time spending bonding and connecting is "quality time" to a child.
Mythical Advice: Control your emotions. Actually, you are not alone - all parents at one time or another "lose it" and scream at their kids. The key is not that it happens, but what you do as parents afterward. In other words, once you have calmed down, go to your child and apologize. Once that happens, kids are resilient and will generally overcome outbursts. Just don't make it a habit.