Every day, it seems like there鈥檚 a brand-new parenting study or news article with expert tips聽for raising great kids. You鈥檝e read so many at this point that you don鈥檛 know what to believe. You think you鈥檙e doing a pretty good job, but then a new parenting聽book comes along and throws your entire mama world into chaos. Before you start questioning everything and focusing on how you鈥檙e parenting all wrong, let鈥檚 get one thing straight: You鈥檙e not a failure 鈥 not even a little bit. Read on for the five parenting myths you should stop believing once and for all.

1. Never put your needs first.聽You鈥檙e 100 percent hopelessly devoted to your kid. She鈥檚 the apple of your eye, your pride, your joy, and the one person you would do absolutely anything for. But being all about your child doesn鈥檛 have to mean that you always put her needs first. (Of course, there are plenty of times when this is a must, like when she鈥檚 sick or hungry.) There鈥檚 a reason the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask before your child鈥檚. If you aren鈥檛 taking care of yourself, you鈥檙e of no use to anyone, including your child. Caring for your kid 鈥 that鈥檚 a yes. Ignoring your needs now that you鈥檙e a mom 鈥 that鈥檚 a myth you need to put to rest.

2. Kids always need choices.聽Giving your child a few choices can really pay off: It can reduce temper tantrums, build critical-thinking skills, and make her feel like she鈥檚 more in control. But it鈥檚 not always your best option. Let鈥檚 say it鈥檚 the middle of the winter, and your preschooler refuses to put her coat on before exiting the grocery store. You could give her the choice to wear it or not, but it鈥檚 way too cold for that. (Plus, she鈥檒l probably spend 10 minutes blocking the store鈥檚 exit as she debates wearing, and not wearing, the coat.) Seriously, put on your dictator hat and tell (not ask) her to wear the coat. It鈥檚 for her own good. You鈥檙e the parent, and it鈥檚 your job to protect your child.

3. Bribery is always a bad idea. If you鈥檙e a fan of聽RHONY,聽you probably remember some candy-coated bribery from last season. If not, one of the housewives admitted that bribing her little ones with Sour Patch Kids totally worked for her. Before you start judging and saying, 鈥淚鈥檓 a better mom than that,鈥 think about it. Maybe you should carry around a pocketful of gummies in the event you need your child to do what you ask. This tactic works, but it can backfire. If you bribe your child every time she throws a fit, she鈥檚 going to expect a reward. An occasional peace offering may hold your child鈥檚 attention long enough to calm the situation.

4. If you pick聽up your crying baby, you鈥檙e spoiling her. Your MIL is a total fan of this one. Your newborn is wailing away, and you rush to her side. In some circles, this is a major parenting no-no. According to the cry-it-out theory, you should leave your baby where she is, and she鈥檒l learn to self-soothe. Oh, and if you don鈥檛, you鈥檙e spoiling her. This is a total myth. You can鈥檛 spoil a newborn. You鈥檙e not giving in when you pick up your crying three-week-old. You鈥檙e helping her. As your baby gets older, you can take more time before running to her cry. Until then, go ahead and pick her up. There鈥檚 no proof that doing so will turn her into a spoiled brat later in life.

5. You can make your kid a genius.聽Oh, the flash cards. You have stacks on stacks on stacks of them. Why? Well, because someone told you that it鈥檚 entirely possible for parents to make their kids smarter by throwing an educational arsenal at them. So, you enroll your baby in infant art classes, take your toddler to early-math tutoring, and pick out at least five different languages for your preschooler to learn. Providing your child with plenty of learning opps isn鈥檛 a bad thing 鈥 but thinking they鈥檒l put her on the road to Harvard just isn鈥檛 realistic. Sometimes parents need to let their kids be kids. That may mean scaling back on the educational push and giving playtime a chance.

What parenting myth drives you batty? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!

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