Parenting Rules You've Broken


Just admit it, we've all done it!

I couldn’t help but recall the time I made a rule, “No eating in the car,” as I discovered yet another rock solid French fry under the passenger seat.

Greasy hand prints, fruit smears, sticky half-eaten candies, cracker crumbs, and stagnant yogurt stains, a week’s worth of YUCK, I cleaned up from my car, among other things including old water bottles, McDonald’s toys, stickers, soothers, and the entire beach from Price Park (so much sand!).

I couldn’t help but be frustrated I broke this rule I set when Jack was a baby.

Realistically, and fast forward almost five years and add a second child, it’s nearly impossible not to eat on the go. However, I’ve discovered it’s quite common to break many rules we’ve set as parents.

So cute and innocent, weren’t we? So stupid sometimes, honestly.

The car incident got me thinking, “How many other rules have I broken?”

And then I asked other friends and family on social media just for kicks. Here are some of the answers I received:

  • “I said I would never be that parent whose toddler was running around with snot coming out of their nose,”admitted Masika Allan. “Little did I know you would have to wipe their nose every 30 seconds for them to be snot-free.”
  • One of my husband’s friends Charles Powell said, “No eating on the couch” was a rule that “went out the window fast.”
  • Speaking of food, Allison Hutchinson added she would never use food as an incentive, to avoid “forming a bad relationship with eating...“I quickly discovered how motivating the odd treat was and probably use food bribes more than I care to admit,” she said.
  • Lysa Sexton said she would never pass on her fear of spiders to her kids. “Now they both scream when they see one,” she said.

TV and screen time is another common broken rule.

  • “Mine was TV as a babysitter,” Megan Lowery said. “What a non-parent thing to say. I would never shower, cook meals or make phone calls (if not for TV).”

Carli Truant agreed.

  • “When the boys were newborns I was super strict about the TV never being on in the house. I remember thinking my kids wouldn't watch any TV until they were school-age,” she said. “I've since learned that throwing two toddlers in front of Paw Patrol for 20 minutes is the only way to guarantee they won't kill each other if I need to get something done.”
  • “Pretty sure that's the only way dinner gets made,” Brittany Clarke added.
  • Selina Boily said on the TV topic: “Being a very young and idealistic tree-planting feminist who thought that television/mass media was the source of all violence and evil and children should never be babysat by a screen, I remember very clearly the morning I staggered out to the living room after being awake all night with my newborn to ask my 26-month-old if he wants to watch Winnie the Pooh again.”

How about food and TV mixed?

  • “Something I always said was no TV in the bedroom and no food in bed. Now every night that isn't a school night (my daughter) gets to pick a show and have a small snack,” said Candace Elliott.

Troy Giles brought up the whole soother debacle.

  • "As soon as my child is old enough to ask for a do-do (pacifier) that's when it stops," he said. "Yeah right!”

And even breastfeeding came into the discussion.

  • “Before I had children I swore I would never ever breastfeed my kids after they were a year old,” said Sarah Byrne. “Then I had Isla, was not ready to wean her at a year and became educated. I nursed her until she was almost four, tandem fed her and Harlow for two full years, and am still nursing Harlow at three. I have become a nursing advocate and don't regret my decision for a second.”

Oh and let’s not forget fast food.

  • “Never allow McDonald's,” said Kelly Gagne.
  • “Never eating McDonald’s,” agreed Lyndie Kendall. “Not that it's a weekly happening but in a pinch. Also he knows that driving to Starbucks and mom ordering an earl grey tea latte is a guaranteed cake pop.”

Eating in public with kids in general often amounts to a lot of broken perceptions for parents.

  • “Children behaving in restaurants,” brought up Ashley Carey. “I swore up and down I would never ever allow my children to misbehave in a public place. That worked fine for Layna and then Lincoln came along. I attempted to take them both out to Romeo's for supper by myself… Lincoln literally took off his boot and threw it across the restaurant and hit a lady in the back of the head.”

Ouch! And back to the topic of messes.

  • “I remember thinking how disgusting it was that (my friend) had a pile of diapers by her fireplace in her living room, which was the diaper changing station,” said Michaela Peet. “I mean how hard is it to get up and put it in the garbage. Fast forward three years and I had a pile to put hers to shame. Children are humbling.”

And sometimes it’s simply a reflection of the bigger picture:

  • "I'm going to work my kids in to my life, not the other way around,” said Scarlett Feltrin. “They rule me.”

Ann-Marie Fifield sums up the topic quite nicely:

  • “Well I'd like to compare my two children to my two dogs. The first dog was house trained promptly, could sit, shake a paw, obey, went on long walks and adventures and then the second came and it's OK if there is the odd accident in the house and who needs to sit and shake a paw anyways?”

Ash Degraaf