Parents of little ones: What do you wish you knew earlier?
May 19, 2022 9:04 PM   Subscribe

A friend kindly pointed out that our child (~4yo) is often W-sitting, and why we should address it. We're lucky she told us because we were completely unaware. Now I'm curious if there's anything else we should know! (One more example: Don't kiss a baby's or child's ear.)
posted by shrimpetouffee to Human Relations (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It sounds like the concern about the W sitting is very overstated.

I double checked because I W sat all the way into my 20s and have had no problems.

Also, kissing an ear canal is weird and who sucks that hard when they kiss anyway?

I'm sure someone else can correct me, but these seem like they're just searching for things to stress about.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2022 [54 favorites]

What do you wish you knew earlier?
That none of that stuff really matters and to take a chill pill.

Also, stock the house with pinworm medicine. Enjoy your 4 year old!
posted by Toddles at 9:47 PM on May 19, 2022 [32 favorites]

The days are long but the years are short.
posted by fairmettle at 10:35 PM on May 19, 2022 [32 favorites]

As you may already have found out...

There's no shortage of dubious child rearing advice.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:46 PM on May 19, 2022 [27 favorites]

Just give them a hug, and get down on the floor & join in with their game. You can even W sit along with them!
posted by rd45 at 12:05 AM on May 20, 2022 [7 favorites]

That there are innumerable people out there who market their services (childcare, private therapies, sleep consultancy, sling advice etc) to tired stressed new parents, and one of the main marketing tactics is to make them anxious about something that is completely normal. That also goes for the "gentle parenting" attachment crowd.
posted by altolinguistic at 12:35 AM on May 20, 2022 [16 favorites]

I think at least one of the supposed "Risks" on this list is outdated/dubious:
Hand Preference – In a W-sitting position, a child has too much trunk control and stability. It’s very easy to use either hand to accomplish tasks. However, developing hand preference is important for writing ability later on.
It is simply not true that in order to learn to write a child must "develop a hand preference".

There a literally millions of left-handed people around the world. Until a few decades ago, they were forced to learn writing righthanded, often using cruel methods (eg tying left hand to back), and or shaming (don't use the "bad hand"). Any respectable educator today would reject the concept of hand dominance.
Today, a genetic link has been established, however research suggests there are other reasons to.
Whatever is the cause, hand dominance is not something you (or anyone) should drill into your child.
posted by 15L06 at 12:41 AM on May 20, 2022 [16 favorites]

In answer to your question: What do you wish you knew earlier?
To trust my own instinct as a parent, over internet or real life experts, books, well-meaning friends, relatives and Strangers in supermarktes.
When my son was four i knew something about him was different, that he was not like others his age . But i ended up trusting well-meaning others over my own instinct and suppressed my strong feeling and did not pursue getting a diagnosis. Now he is 13 yrs old, and was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder last year. It could have saved him and me and his father so much pain If we had found out earlier.
posted by 15L06 at 12:52 AM on May 20, 2022 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Ahhahahaaaa as someone who needed bilateral hip surgery to correct issues stemming from w sitting and years of pt to correct the issues… yeah listen, maybe it’s overstated or whatever but there’s relatively straightforward ways to sit that don’t predispose kids for hip surgery in their 30s. Just because it doesn’t happen to every single kid who w sits doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile advice to redirect to different stable ways of sitting comfortably.

Broadly, yeah there’s a million things parents won’t know and honestly that’s ok. Incorporating reading on best practices for vestibular development (happens relatively late) and proprioception would be helpful for a ton of parents who end up with “problem kids” because they just aren’t getting the kind of regulation their bodies need - I think that’s something most parents don’t know that’s an easy update. Spinning in swings, getting tossed at soft surfaces, having different types and kinds of pressure - all amazing for kiddos and their developing senses. Talking to OTs will provide a wealth of things they wish parents did for all kids.
posted by Bottlecap at 12:55 AM on May 20, 2022 [11 favorites]

There a literally millions of left-handed people around the world. Until a few decades ago, they were forced to learn writing righthanded, often using cruel methods (eg tying left hand to back), and or shaming (don't use the "bad hand"). Any respectable educator today would reject the concept of hand dominance.

This isn't an argument against hand dominance, it's an argument against enforcing right hand dominance. Many left handers have a naturally dominant hand. Their left hand. Surely, you should allow children to use their natural hand preference and encourage them to develop their fine motor control in the hand(s) they themselves prefer to use.
posted by plonkee at 1:42 AM on May 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

I wish I'd gotten an earlier intervention for my child's speech delay, but, like, pandemic. She's fine now.

Mostly I wish I'd known how much of parenting is learning how to put a lid on our own crap, and self-regulate, heal, and breathe, so we can be our best selves for our children.

And that it's ok if you don't always bring your A game, it's a long haul.

And that everyone is going to have an opinion, on everything. Don't let them dicker and bicker in front of your kid or get a rise out of you. "I didn't ask for advice, thanks," cool and collected.
posted by champers at 2:52 AM on May 20, 2022 [7 favorites]

Kids don’t need many things. They especially don’t need a crap ton of toys. I wish I had encouraged family to give money to the education account, books, or experiences over stuff earlier.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:10 AM on May 20, 2022 [12 favorites]

Not to worry about potty training until the kid is READY. Especially nighttime diapers can pretty much stay as long as the kid needs them, there is a hormone that dictates when they are dry at night. Underwear on the other hand, I had to make that happen.

But it’s not true that kids who aren’t potty trained at 2.5 get lazy and poo in their pants for fun until high school….
posted by pairofshades at 4:40 AM on May 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

Two things:

1. I wish I had learned early on to tell everyone with well-meaning "expert" advice to mind their own business.

2. Kids need to learn how to be bored. They will struggle with it, but a coping with boredom is one of the most important skills a human can have.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:43 AM on May 20, 2022 [20 favorites]

Best answer: 1. Don't get medical advice from reddit. (Applies to parents and non-parents alike.)

2. Very young children (under about 3) should not exhibit a consistent hand preference. If they do, that's sometimes a sign that the less-used hand is weaker. Handedness develops around the same time as crude writing skills (age 4-6) and is probably neurologically determined: in most people, expressive and receptive language localizes to the left brain (which controls the right body), but one in four lefties are right brain language. Pretty neat!

3. I'd never heard of the ear kiss thing either. The only articles I can find are in things like Audiology Today (discount on hearing aids!) and the Daily Fail and one case report of a 49-year-old who was "aggressively kissed" by their 4-year-old kid. This person was also being treated for impacted earwax with a suction vacuum, and if you've seen those you'll know they are way more powerful than even the most enthusiastic kiss! (Otherwise, think how gross it would be to get a mouthful of earwax when you kissed someone. Blech.) I don't know how the ages got flipped in the popular narrative, and I won't say it never happens, but this seems more like a freak accident than anything worth worrying about.
posted by basalganglia at 5:30 AM on May 20, 2022 [9 favorites]

4. Baby aspirin is not for babies!!!! (This one is real.)
posted by basalganglia at 5:35 AM on May 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

No winter jackets in the car seat.

Picky eating can be fixed fairly easily with feeding therapy or occupational therapy because there are professionals trained in helping kids learn to like and accept new foods and textures.
posted by at 5:35 AM on May 20, 2022 [7 favorites]

Don't trust random websites or acquaintances with diagnosing for "problems" with kids. The w-sitting thing was clarified at the top, but there are a zillion things like that that it seems you may be susceptible to. Look at sites like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland clinic, Johns Hopkins, etc. Don't trust Web MD, ever. They are better now on some things, but they are still peddling the same alarmist bunk on w-sitting.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:29 AM on May 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Most important thing anyone told me: Quality of time spent with your kiddo is more important than quantity.

One hour where you are really focused on your kid -- able to respond with curiosity, respect, and joy to what they are thinking, feeling, and doing -- is awesome, and much better for you both than spending a whole day only half paying attention because you are bored or multi-tasking.

When I was told this I was upset that y work schedule left me very little time during the day with my little one. But the pandemic just reinforced it! We now get more out of the hour we spend together in the morning doing homework together or talking on the walk to school, than we used to when we spent 24 hours a day together bored and irritated.
posted by EllaEm at 8:23 AM on May 20, 2022 [7 favorites]

There is apparently a kid in college football, and figured to be a first round draft pick who can throw a ball with either hand equally well. So handed-ness or hand dominance is becoming a relic of the past, and if your kid doesn't display a dominant hand it's not the end of the world.

Also, I have a kid that loves toys (My Little Ponies specifically) and a kid only two years older who hates them. It's kid-specific, and if you deny a toy-loving kid toys they aren't going to be happy. Just let your kid be who they are - try your best to guide them with options, not mold them into what you wish for them to be like they are princess or something.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:29 AM on May 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

Kids cost A LOT of $$$$ to raise. While I understood that on a common sense level, every time I was writing a check to AYSO or girl scouts or dentist, or buying new shoes every six months, etc. I learned how painfully expensive these little cuties can be.

Also, with multiple children (we have 3 in 30 months top to bottom), fair does not mean equal. Treat them all as individuals. That will pay off in the long run.

Apparently, kids can live for months on air and buttered noodles. They will eventually graduate to chicken fingers and ketchup and air.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

As a single parent for many of my kids young years, with a deadbeat ex husband who did little for them, I wish:

That I'd stressed less. And spent more time just playing with them. Some days it was all I could do to just make it through the day, what with cleaning, cooking, laundry, baths, teeth brushing. Now they are in their 20s, great people, I very much enjoy their company...

....but I wish time had gone a little slower, a little easier when they were little.

So enjoy all the little things. Finding fall leaves; pointing out clouds and seeing shapes in them; the beauty of sunrises and sunsets.
posted by annieb at 4:43 PM on May 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

Their pets do not go to college with them.
posted by momochan at 5:39 PM on May 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

Do not take away your child's security item, such as their blankie or favorite stuffed toy or beloved truck or whatever it is. If they end up taking it to college hidden in their pillowcase, that's great. If as a young adult they keep it in their sock drawer and look at it every once in a while, that's fine too. I've never understood why parents would hide or "lose" a benign source of comfort and self-soothing just because a child gets older. The world might be better off if we all still had our favorite Winnie the Pooh.
posted by a fish out of water at 6:10 PM on May 20, 2022 [10 favorites]

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