Nonsense Parenting Advice

We all know there is a lot of parenting advice out there. A lot. Good advice. Bad advice. But what of that special category of parenting advice? The advice that sounds sensible, but is actually nonsense?

Here are my top ten pieces of advice that appear perfectly reasonable at first glance, but are nonsense. Nonsense, I tell you.

1. Don’t make threats about consequences you aren’t willing to follow through on.

Yes, this sounds very sensible. However, it rather assumes that your children care about the threat, remember the threat, and were even listening to you in the first place. They weren’t. Make as many empty threats as you like, it really doesn’t matter. (Presumably, people whose kids actually listen to them don’t even need to make threats in the first place.)

2. They will eat it if you don’t give them an alternative. They won’t starve themselves.

They will, actually. They will starve themselves.

3. If they hurt themselves, they’ll learn not to do it again.

They won’t, actually.

4. If they don’t want to go to sleep, just put them in bed and leave them to it. They can’t scream forever.

Well, maybe not. But they can scream long enough for the police to be notified.

5. Let them make their own clothing decisions and express who they are.

Who they are is someone willing to die of hypothermia. Specifically, a pyjama-clad gruffa-fairy, who is willing to die of hypothermia.

6. Make sure they’re really tired, they’ll sleep better.

No one has ever had as much energy or been as awake as a tired toddler. Tigger has less energy than an over-tired child.

7. They don’t need to be eating snacks between meals.

They do if you want to achieve anything with any day ever. In the battle between childhood obesity and being able to do the shopping without a tantrum, raisins win every time.

8. They’ll be perfectly safe. They’re not stupid. They’re not going to fling themselves down the stairs/out of the window/over that cliff.

They have no survival instinct. None. Zero.

9. I’m sure they don’t need a bib/apron/hazmat suit – that will wash right out anyway.

It won’t. Don’t even need to know what it is. It won’t wash out.

10. It’s okay, they won’t even remember that thing you definitely don’t want to do/buy/feed them was even mentioned.*

They will remember it until the end of time. This is not like empty threats. Children hear empty promises. Like mini Liam Neesons, when a child hears an empty promise, they will look for you, they will find you, and they will make you give them the damn ice cream.


(* This one is generally said by the utter fool who mentioned the thing in the first place.)


  1. Siobhan says:

    This really is a bumper #FridayFrolics week already – have laughed out loud so many times in the past 10 mins that my husband is now having a read to find out what all the fuss is about! Fab post x

  2. The Fat Girl says:

    Love this, had me laughing along with you. Not a parent yet but my cousin had her first the same time as we got our puppy and we once found ourself comparing things between puppies and toddlers and half of the ones on your list were things we discussed! Not comparing a child to a dog obviously, it just made us laugh!

  3. Haha, all very true, especially number 3. The number of times I have told Youngest not to jump from the table to the dining room table because she will hurt herself. She does but every single day she tries to repeat this action!

  4. Spot on with a side of so many chuckles. They actually will starve themselves. We’ve gone 18 hours without fluid as we hadn’t packed the blue beaker for The Boy. Only the yellow one. Love this hon x #blogcrush

  5. So true – they really would probably starve themselves and no matter how tired they are, they never ever want to go to sleep, what is that all about?! They’re all crazy! #fridayfrolics

  6. This is by far the best parenting advice I have ever read. The weird thing is I might need this advice for myself. As Patrick was trying to get a stain out of one of my blouses, he remarked, “You know, you need to wear a bib ALL the time.” Hahahaha! Perhaps we can adopt these to the aging with a few modifications. For example, #10 is actually true, they will never remember. What thing?

  7. Wendy says:

    Haha love this, all so try. Laughed at loads of these, especially number 2 as my boy is such a fussy eater, he would definitely rather starve than eat a piece of cauliflower haha. Congrats, this post was linked to #BlogCrush xx

  8. Jennifer says:

    I can’t tell you how much I hate the phrase, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it.” Usually screamed by my ex-husband when my son was young. First off, it’s a ridiculous thing to scream and second of all, he didn’t have anything to do with bringing him into the world, I’m the one who pushed that kid out.

  9. Finn says:

    This really made me laugh. Every point is absolutely spot on. But does it really matter if they won’t eat carrots? A bit of give and take works wonders – OK, a lot of give from you and a lot of take from them!


  10. Liz Deacle says:

    Ha!ha! Loved this! Although mine are teenagers now I would love one day to have the courage to try the old’if you don’t eat it you’ll starve’ what WOULD they do I wonder??

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