If you’re a parent or know a parent then you’ve probably heard (or experienced) a horror story or two about unsolicited parental advice. And while sometimes this advice is helpful and sometimes it isn’t these bits of vintage parental advice will have you thankful that at least it’s not horrifying. Let’s look at some of the most bizarre parental advice from decades past.
Pregnant women should avoid thinking about ugly people. Throughout the 1920s it was believed that if your baby was born with any physical imperfections it was definitely the fault of the mother for having looked at something, or rather someone, grotesque. And to take this a step further, soon-to-be mothers were told to look at things they found beautiful. If they wanted attractive offspring, that is. While this sounds insane today, we can’t imagine the guilt and even shame mothers must have been made to feel if their perfect bundle of joy was born with any kind of imperfection.
Only kiss your child once a day. This little tidbit was published in a 1928 parenting manual and went on to say that the only time a single forehead kiss was acceptable was before bed. The times have certainly changed because much more recent research suggests that giving your little humans lots of affection has nothing but positive benefits.
No baby-proofing in the 1950s. At this time experts believed that baby-proofing equaled lazy parenting and that a baby can learn what not to touch simply by the mother yelling at it. We can’t help but think about how wrong this is.
Postpartum? Strip some furniture about it. That’s right, in the 1950s women who reported feeling sad after giving birth were advised to skip the doctor and/or psychiatrist, and instead strip furniture.
For several years mothers were told to simply not be anxious around their newborns because if they were, it would make their breast milk poisonous. We can’t think of anything more stressful than being a new parent, so all we can say about this is that we’re glad we know this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Pregnant in the 1980s? No video games for you! Pregnant women were advised to avoid both computer and video games.
We saved the best of the worst for last: invite dad to “help” with the baby! It was as recent as the 1970s that women were told to invite the baby’s dad to help take care of it. We’re happy that we now know just how important it is for dads to bond with their children, not to mention the number of stay-at-home dads and full-time working moms we see today.