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Vintage Parenting Advice That Today's Parents Will Love

Carla Cain Walther
by Carla Cain Walther Published on September 21, 2014

Parenting advice from centuries past tends to support pretty authoritarian practices. Typically kids didn't have childhoods. Once they could do heavy lifting, sew a hem, or pluck a chicken they were put to work. Well, we decided to dig past all of the conservative junk and found some great and totally relevant parenting tips that you can use today!

Kids had it tough in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Parenting pamphlets used to give all kinds of advice to mothers and fathers, but often the tips were verging on what we'd now consider child abuse. The youth of today? They have it EASY.

However, we sifted through the outdated and scary tips from yesteryear to find some really helpful parenting advice that today's moms can use!

Sometimes it's difficult to picture your adorable reward at the end of your pregnancy journey because your body is going through unfamiliar and painful changes. Dr. Napheys’ reassuring words from his 1889 book, The Physical Life of Woman, to try to remain as positive as you can will certainly come in handy at your lowest moments!

This incredible piece of advice lifted from the 1888 book The Duties of Parents by John C. Ryle is applicable today. Frequent yelling, strict punishments, and spanking only makes it harder to build a strong and loving relationship with your child.

Soccer, basketball, baseball - parents today know it's important to get their kids into sports or dance or anything that get their bodies moving at a young age because it teaches them sportsmanship and a respect for the health of their bodies that they'll carry into adulthood!

Duh, right?! Well, as Dr. Napheys' observed, it wasn't unusual for kids to drink coffee or have a tiny sip of their dad's whiskey drink in the 18th and 19th century. Now we know that caffeinated beverages and sugary drinks are really harmful. No matter how much your children beg you, keep 'em away from the sodas and artificial juices!

Ruth Peck McLeod shared this advice in her 1930 article, "Has Your Child A Home?" and we totally back it up! No matter what decade we're in, having respect for your child's belongings will encourage respectful and mindful behavior in the way her treats your things.

Teaching your child how to walk or ride a bike or do anything that nurtures his independence is frightening. Today's parenting experts would support Dr. Napheys’ warning that letting your fear show will only make it harder for them to accomplish whatever goal they're trying for!

Jacob Abbot hit the nail on the head with this parenting tip from his 1871 book, Gentle Measures in The Training and Management of The Young. As a parent you understand that the best way to bond with your children is to open yourselves up to their dreamlike world and become a little childish and hopeful yourself.

Another valuable tip from John C. Ryle. Parenting is all about experience life's new surprises with your little one!

Did you find these tips helpful? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!

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by Carla Cain Walther

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