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Most people visit Reddit for the memes. I go for the free parenting advice.

Not really, but I occasionally find some nugget of wisdom that gives me pause. For example, I discovered a thread in the Parenting subreddit titled “The single best parenting advice you got,” and there is some gold to be mined here. 

The thread begins with a story by u/twogingercatz, who felt they were on their way to becoming too wrapped up in parenting tips and tricks. Then they read a story about how children know when someone around them is being insincere. Reading this allowed them to relax as a parent and be themselves, which, as someone who experimented on their kids to get them to eat more vegetables, hit a little too close to home. 

The other responses are too good not to share, so here is some good parenting advice from the last place you’d expect it: Reddit. 

“No one knows [your kid] better than you do.”

This sage advice, courtesy of u/oolongtea, came from a doctor treating the user’s 2-week-old for a kidney infection that had spread through their body. After one hospital had sent her away, telling her that her suspicion something was wrong was “new mom jitters,” she went to another facility to get the diagnosis. It was there the doctor confirmed what this parent knew to be true.

She adds, “Even at two weeks, I’ve known her two weeks longer than any doctor I could take her to.”

“Children can’t meet an expectation unless the expectation has been explained to them.”

We assume that kids should know what to do, but actually, they’re figuring out how the world works. User u/Sbealed adds, “They are sponges and can pick up a lot from seeing and hearing things, but being told straight out what the expectation is for any given situation cuts down on power struggles and makes setting limits and boundaries easier.”

“You are not a failure or a bad parent if you take a week-long vacation without the children. You are a good parent who needed a break.”

“We come back refreshed, recharged, and wanting to cuddle our baby,” adds u/dinosaregaylikeme. Swap duties with your partner or take the day off and do something for you. It will pay dividends for your child in the long run.

“I’ve found when you talk to children like adults, but on their level, they respond much better.”

Put another way: Show your kids courtesy, and they’ll be courteous with you. User u/krome8 adds, “I want my twin boys to be respectful human beings, but above all, I want them to be able to be critical thinkers and take care of themselves.”

“Apologize when you do something wrong or that hurts their feelings.”

Part of talking to our children like adults is admitting when we’ve done something wrong. The truth is that parents will screw up or make their children cry, and I’m taking this wisdom from u/NovelTeach to heart. If we’re supposed to teach our kids to be good adults, we should start by admitting when we know we fall short of expectations.

“[They’re] gonna be what [they’re] gonna be; don’t compare [them] to other kids.”

This advice came from u/Anxiety_Potato, who shared with her father her concern that her child would start walking late. He replied with the above statement, and it’s a good reminder that (most) everything will work out when it’s supposed to. 

“Are they doing something wrong or doing something I don’t like?”

Fart noises. Crude songs. Poop jokes. I assume u/KewZee must have heard them all to be inspired to write this reply. As frustrated as any parent gets when they’ve had their fill of scatological humor, one has to ask themselves the above question. Chances are the answer is the latter, but it doesn’t hurt to set limits, too.

“Treat everyone with dignity: them, you, other people.”

When considering this advice from u/Plan_in_Progress, I thought about all the times I may have inadvertently embarrassed my children. It only takes a moment to consider how our actions affect others.

“Teach them not to pour grease down the sink – even if you think they already know that. Even if you’re sure they should already know better, tell them again.”

What was probably meant as tongue-in-cheek wisdom is actually some practical advice. User u/Faiths_got_fangs shares the bonding experience of cleaning a grease trap with their tween son after he forgot to do what he’s been told many times before: not to pour grease down the drain. It’s a lesson they’ll never forget, and as they put it, it’s something “none of those mushy gushy parenting magazines and blogs will ever tell you about.”

“Choose your battles.”

If you want to reduce your stress levels, follow this advice from u/RecordLegume. Does it mean to let your kids have sweets every night? No. Does it mean to occasionally let your kids wear their pajamas for a Target run? It won’t hurt them in the long run (aside from some embarrassment you might feel). Just make sure to protect them from themselves when it really matters. 

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