10 HORRIFYING Pieces of Old-Fashioned Parenting Advice

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Parenting is hard. We all know that. Being a new parent means a lot of experimentation and frankly, a lot of messing up.

Plus, there’s so much parenting advice out there that it can be hard to tell what’s valuable and what’s…stupid. Generally, though, we’ve progressed to the point where we at least know the basics: Babies need to be fed, loved, and taken care of.

However, it took us way longer to get to this point than it should have. We used to give parents some terrible advice, and this list proves it.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, people believed that diarrhea infections could be completely avoided if you were able to control your bowels. Therefore, parents attempted to potty train their infants when they were as young as two months old. They were told to hold their babies over the chamber pot to help train them. Yeah, that worked.

Forget soap and water! Parents used to be told to rub their week-old teeny tiny babies with oil to clean them. Have you ever had oil all over your skin? However it makes you feel, it’s definitely not clean.

During the Middle Ages, when water was severely contaminated, it wasn’t safe for anyone to drink…not even babies. So what was the next best hydrating liquid? Beer! That’s right. We used to give babies beer. This explains so much.

Eighteenth-century England experienced a contamination of its milk and water as well. So what did those saucy Brits do? Turned to gin, of course! Guys, England used to be chock full of drunk babies.

In 1916, John B. Watson, the founder of behaviorism (the theory that human and animal behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning, without taking thoughts or feelings into consideration) and all-around wrong guy, believed that babies were born as “blank slates.” He thought that if mothers gave their children too much affection, they wouldn’t be prepared for the real world where they wouldn’t be given love and attention all the time. Needless to say, this is bad advice.

Parents used to think that if you breastfed your baby while angry, it would give the baby colic. Then, we realized moods don’t get transferred through breast milk. Duh.

Doctors used to think that breastfeeding after nine months could lead to brain damage for the baby and make the mother go blind. Doctors believed this. Doctors.

With mass urbanization in the 1930s, parents looked for ways to let their babies get some fresh air. So, of course, their first move was to build a frickin’ baby cage and hang it out the window. We were not smart, folks. I bet I know what happened: All those beer- and gin-drinking babies grew up to invent the baby cage.

We all know arranged marriages were a thing and still are in some parts of the world. But parents used to promise their babies to other families in exchange for dowries. One day: diapers. The next: wedded bliss. And diapers.

One tenet of John B. Watson’s behaviorism was that the baby was never to inconvenience the adult. So, if the baby were annoying you or making you tired holding him, Watson suggested leaving the baby alone. No time limit. No “check back again in five minutes.” Parents used to be told that if they didn’t want to deal with their baby at all, they simply didn’t have to. Wonder how that worked out…