20 Parenting Tricks People Used As Recently As The 2000s (But Are Totally Not OK Today)

Modern parents are best known for disregarding many of the usual parenting tactics that were used for ages amongst mothers and fathers of the previous generations.

For example, previous generations of parents weren’t as concerned about car safety and didn’t always use a car seat. Instead, they let their little one use the seat belt if they were deemed to be old enough or they had to sit on an older relative’s lap with the seat belt around both of them if they were going to be going on a long car ride.

This parenting trick has been largely disregarded by modern parents, as they often rigorously research car seat brands because car safety is a huge concern for them and they want to make sure that they purchase only the sturdiest car seat around for their child.

Modern parents also don’t try to introduce an infant to solid foods before the age of four to six months and they certainly don’t do so by putting rice cereal in their bottle, since now people know that it could aggravate any potential food allergies. Back in the day though, it was pretty common for moms to give their infants their fast taste of solids by putting rice cereal in their bottle—even though it probably wasn’t very appetizing for the poor wee ones.

Underneath is a compilation of all the parenting methods, tips and tricks that have thankfully fallen out of favor amongst modern parents.

20 Letting Infants Exercise Their Lungs Until They Fall Asleep

Psychology Today writes that it used to be quite common for parents that were trying to sleep-train their infant to let them exercise their lungs, even if they woke up in the middle of the night.

Modern science has disproved this theory and now people know that letting an infant stay in distress isn’t a very good idea. In fact, some scientists theorize that it could even lead to a child growing up to be quite uncooperative with their parents. Many parents nowadays prefer to use more modern and kind-hearted methods of teaching their little one to sleep throughout the night.

19 Wrapping Baby Up In A Blanket And Letting Them Sleep Face Down

Parenting notes that previous generations used to see no problem with wrapping an infant up nice and cozy in a blanket before letting them sleep on their stomachs. It was believed back then that “infants slept better if parents let them sleep face down.”

Most parents in the modern era have rejected this piece of advice because science has discovered it’s just too much of an unnecessary risk to take and it’s far better to let your infant sleep on his or her back without any blankets around them in the bassinet. After all, once they’re older and can turn over on their own, they can figure out on their own if they prefer to sleep on their stomach, their back or curled up on their side.

18 Mobile Walkers To Teach The Mechanics

Brixy notes that it was the norm for parents in previous generations to purchase mobile walkers in order to help teach their baby how to walk. Heck, I remember my parents bought one for my little sister when she was a baby. I remember laughing hysterically whenever we’d visit my aunt’s house because my sister would start zooming around in the living room and my aunt’s dog used to follow her in the mobile walker, barking as if she was egging her on.

Mobile walkers have fallen out of fashion in the modern world because parents today are far more concerned about safety. They tend to opt for stationary walkers that allow little ones to practice the mechanics of walking without giving them too much freedom too quickly.

17 Using Rubbing Alcohol To Ease A Fever

Whenever my little sister and I caught a gnarly cold or even the flu virus when we were kids, my mother would frequently put rubbing alcohol on our foreheads if the thermometer showed that we had a higher-than-normal temperature.

Nowadays, Parenting points out that parents tend to opt to give their over-the-counter medicines depending on how old they are if they want to reduce a temperature that’s off the charts. Some parents will even leave the rubbing alcohol in the medicine closet and just let their child’s immune system do the work if they do not show signs that are feeling uncomfortable.

16 Following A Strict Feeding Schedule

Brixy notes that physicians used to recommend that an infant be fed every four hours—no more and certainly no less.

Many doctors today do not recommend that new parents follow such an inflexible schedule. Instead, they often advise new moms and dads feed their baby on demand for at least the first three months of their life. If the parents discover that their infant has a craving for a snack every hour or so but they’re still growing at the normal rate for babies, then it’s perfectly fine to try to make the time in between feeding extend a little farther day after day.

15 Drying A Child's Hair Before They Go Outside So They Don't Catch A Cold

I can’t tell you how many times I heard the old wives' tale of how going out with wet hair would cause me to catch a cold from my mother. Even if I was done swimming at the local community club pool, my mom would have me towel dry my hair before we left just so I wouldn’t wind up getting a virus.

Bustle writes that this piece of outdated parenting advice has long been debunked and there is absolutely no evidence that frolicking around outside with a wet head is going to make a child more susceptible to catching the common cold.

14 Going Easy On The Food If A Child Has A Fever

Mommyish notes that a popular bit of parenting advice used to be to “starve a cold and feed a fever.” Basically, if your child has the common cold, they should only eat light whereas a child with a fever needs to eat more.

There’s no scientific evidence showing that eating light with a cold or shoveling food down your child’s throat to help a fever go away actually works. In fact, it’s best to let your child’s individual appetite be your guide if they’re feeling crummy. Some children prefer to eat light and nap all day while others become totally ravenous when they are not feeling too well.

13 Keeping Cats Away From The Child's Crib

I’ve always been a big animal lover ever since I was a little girl and I was totally one of those kids that used to feed the stray cats that hung around in the neighborhood. I fell in love with this adorable stray I named Smokey due to his grey fur, but this was right after my younger sister was born and my mother told me that we couldn’t keep him as a pet because he might jump into my sister’s crib and cause an issue.

Mommyish writes that while it is perfectly fine to wait until your child’s older before they get a pet so they can help take care of it, there’s no need to worry that your current pets are going to jump into the cradle and act like a Disney villain or cause any issues like the ludicrous old wives’ tale insinuates.

12 Rice Cereal In A Bottle To Soothe An Infant

Brixy writes that it used to be all the rage for parents in previous generations to introduce their infant to solid foods by putting some rice cereal in a bottle. Apparently, this magic rice cereal also had the power to soothe any cranky baby almost instantaneously.

This piece of advice has fallen by the wayside since modern science has proven that it’s not a good idea to introduce solid foods if a baby is not four to six months old yet, since it can lead to an increased chance of your little one getting food allergies and cause even more sleep disruptions for them.

11 Shaving Infant's Hair So It Grows Back Thicker And More Luxurious

I always wondered why my sister and I always had so little hair in some of our old baby photos and one day I decided to ask my mother what the deal was with the ridiculously short hair cut. Of course, she parroted the old wives’ tale about how shaving a baby’s hair helps it grow back longer and thicker, which just made me face palm and hide all those hysterical photos.

Mommyish writes that thankfully, shaving an infant’s head is no longer the thing to do amongst parents of newborns because now we know that it doesn’t work due to the fact that how long someone’s hair grows or the thickness level is due to genetics, not a stylist’s scissors.

10 Stopping Breastfeeding When Baby Is Six Months Old

Parenting writes that previous generations of mothers used to try and wean their infant from breastfeeding by the age of six months, but this practice has fallen out of favor with mothers in this day and age.

Many pediatricians nowadays reject the six-month deadline and encourage new moms to breastfeed their child until they are at least a year old. The World Health also writes that children can be safely breastfed until your child hits the age of two or three. As long as both mother and child are happy with the arrangement, there’s no rush to wean them off of breastfeeding.

9 Letting Children Sit On Laps During Car Rides

Parents points out that the interest in durable car seats for children is a thoroughly modern notion and previous generations of parents saw nothing wrong with letting their young child sit on an adult’s lap or simply use a car seat.

Even though my mother went out and purchased a car seat when both my sister and I were infants, she also told us some hair-raising stories when we became adults about how she used a seatbelt from a young age or sat on my grandmother’s lap if she had to take a ride in the car with her family when she was a wee one.

8 Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child

My father grew up in a pretty strict family and always used to poke fun at the fact that my paternal grandparents and great-grandparents were firm believes in the old saying of “spare the rod, spoil the child.”

Parents writes that this strict style of parenting doesn’t fly with many modern mothers and fathers (my dad included) because science has proven that using aversive methods isn’t a good way to instill any kind of discipline into a young child and it’s only going to wind up backfiring on the parents in terms of having some serious fallout issues with regards to their behavior in the future.

7 Eating Everything On The Plate So No One Wastes Food

My mother and my two aunts always shared funny stories of their memories about growing up with my grandparents, including how it was instilled in them that they could not leave the dinner table until they had finished every morsel on their plate. Thankfully, my mom never cared whether or not my sister and I had leftovers on our plate.

Parenting notes that this method of teaching kids good manners has slowly disappeared since research suggests it could mess with a child’s ability to figure out if they have had enough to eat and giving children a variety of foods is a better way to make sure that they are consuming enough nutrients.

6 Feeding A Baby When You Assume They're Hungry

Parenting writes that it was a common belief that the reason why an infant decided to exercise their set of lungs is due to the fact that they are hungry and their parents need to give them a bottle full of milk so that their stomach will be soothed enough to fall back asleep.

This isn’t quite try, as babies will use their lungs to vocalize for all sorts of reasons and them starting to make a racket isn’t always an indication that they are hungry and want a bottle. They could be bored, need a diaper change or simply seeking attention from their mother or father.

5 Being Strict When It Comes To Your Child Playing Video Games

When I was growing up, my younger cousin would always vent to me about how my aunt and uncle never let him play video games because they felt that it would teach him bad habits.

Even though there are some parents in this day and age that are worried about the amount of hours their child spends glued to a video game, TED writes that there has been some research that shows that children that play a lot of these games often develop excellent communication and leadership skills, which are essential qualities that any young adult needs today in order to succeed in the highly competitive job market.

4 Waiting A Half Hour After Eating To Resume Swimming

I remember one time when I was a little girl and my younger cousin was feeling very put out because his parents wouldn’t let him run back into the pool they had in the backyard since he had just finished eating his lunch and they wanted him to wait at least 30 minutes before jumping back in.

Duke Health writes that this outdated belief has been debunked and there is really no need to wait so long after eating to let a child resume his or her swimming activities at the pool or the beach with their friends or relatives.

3 Using Hats To Keep Baby Warm Even In Summer Months

If you look through the old photos of my little sister when she was an infant, you’ll see that even when it is clearly summertime, my parents fervently believed that babies can easily become cold and put a thick hat on her head.

Parenting writes that for the first year or so that babies do need a bit of help regulating their body temperature and that’s why layers and accessories are a good idea in the winter months, but there is no need to go to such extremes when the weather is nice and it feels like the Sahara desert outside.

2 Baby Powder Prevents Diaper Rash

When my little sister was an infant, I always overheard my mother reminding my father to use a ton of baby powder when changing my sister’s diaper because it was thought to be a foolproof way to protect against getting an annoying diaper rash.

First Cry Parenting notes that now we know that baby powder should only be used in moderation to help prevent diaper rash and since it can dry out your infant’s skin and actually cause irritation, it is best to just apply it sparingly to certain areas on your infant instead of slathering it all over your child’s body.

1 Biting A Child Back If They Bite You First

Babies and puppies often have the disconcerting habit of nipping their parents and their owners. Back in the day, it used to be advised by both so-called “parenting experts” and “dog trainers” that if your child or your furry friend did that, to do the exact same thing to them.

Parenting writes that modern moms and dads have thankfully learned that the “eye for an eye” technique is absolute hogwash and doesn’t actually teach a baby (or a puppy for that matter) anything. It’s best to set children and puppies up for success by giving a firm reprimand and redirecting their attention to the appropriate toy that they can nom on.

Sources: Brixy, Mommyish, Parents, APT Parenting, Romper, Parenting, Psychology Today, Bustle, TED, Duke Health, First Cry Parenting

More in Parenting