Sunday, October 2, 2016

5 Tips for Handling Unsolicited Parenting Advice -FREE CARD Download!


How to Handle Unsolicited Parenting Advice

“You should swaddle him. My baby loved it.”
"My child NEVER acted like that. Why don't you discipline her?"
 “Why don’t you breastfeed her instead? It’s healthier.”
“You should put some rice cereal in his bottle. It will help him go to sleep.”
“I think that wearing your baby all the time is going to make her spoiled.”
“Just let him cry it out. He’ll live.”
Oh my gosh! You let her cry it out? How is she supposed to ever feel secure if you do that?”

Sometimes it seems like one of the first (and longest) rites of passage as a parent is undergoing the vast amounts of advice that people will throw at you. This advice can be about anything - from feeding and soothing your baby to your daily routine and methods of discipline. While the people treating you to their tips, tools, and strategies may think that they are being helpful, the truth is that their advice may often be unsolicited and unwelcome.

Unsolicited parenting advice, though likely meant to help you on your journey as a parent, can have some unpleasant results. It can be annoying and frustrating. It can confuse you, especially if you receive conflicting advice. It can also make you feel like you are not the best parent that you can be. However, just screaming “I’m his mom, I’ll do what I want!” at everyone probably isn’t the best method. So what can you do to deal with this type of advice without hurting people’s feelings? Read on for a few tips on how to gracefully handle unsolicited parenting advice.

1) Thank Them for Their Concern

The first step when someone gives you unsolicited advice is to understand that they are probably acting from a place of genuine concern about your child. Not necessarily that they think that you are doing a poor job, but just a general feeling of caring about your child’s well-being. Keeping this in mind (though it may be hard at times), one thing you can do is to say something along the lines of “Thank you for your concern. I’m glad that so many people seem to care about my child as much as I do."  This is a polite way to let them know that you were listening and that you appreciate the (hopefully) positive intent behind it.
 

2) Educate Them About Your Decisions

Many times, people will give you advice that runs directly counter to the way you have chosen to raise your child. In these cases, their advice is something that you may have already considered, but decided against. Sometimes people don’t really consider that there are options other than what they have tried or heard about. If it is important to you that people understand why you choose to do things the way that you do, it is perfectly acceptable to politely explain your decision. It may not change their minds, but it could show them why they won’t be able to change your mind either. The main goal is for them to understand that despite your difference of opinion, you have your child’s best interest at heart and have made educated decisions about their welfare.

3) Be Honest with Repeat Offenders

If there are certain people who continuously give you unsolicited advice, chances are they are someone who plays an active role in your life. Often, when this happens, it can put a strain on your relationship. To avoid that, it is best to ask the person if they have time for a chat at a time when you have had a chance to calm down. Let them know, in a civil yet firm manner, that their continuous advice (or criticism) is making you feel negatively. Explain that, while they are important to you and you enjoy spending time with them, you would prefer if they would only give you advice if you ask for it. Though this may be something that causes them to feel offended or upset, it is better be straightforward so that you can have a frank discussion and move forward.

4) Take Their Advice into Consideration

One thing that I do have to mention is that just because advice is unsolicited does not mean that it is bad advice. Sometimes advice, even when it has not been asked for, can be valuable. It can be easy to write off all unsolicited advice as something that you will not use, but it would be wise to at least consider the advice before you set it aside. You may end up deciding that it is not the best advice for you, but every now and then you might find a piece of advice that is worth implementing. 

5) Don’t Take It to Heart

Finally, try not to allow other people’s constant advice (or criticism) to cause you to doubt yourself or your parenting skills. At the end of the day, you are the parent. I believe that most parents have their child’s best interests at heart and make decisions that they think will benefit their family. As long as you know that you are doing what you feel is best for your children, that is what matters.



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1 comment :

  1. While I agree that most people only mean well, there are times when their advice go over the top. If they think that me being the child's parent is somehow not enough, does my occupational therapy job hold no value. I think I know more about my child both as a parent and an OT.

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