“Who asked you?”
This may be the thought going through your mind as someone tells you how to teach your child, cook for your child, discipline your child, etc.
While it is sometimes necessary to seek parenting advice, shouldn’t it be up to you to decide when that time has come?
While our parents, friends, co-workers, and even strangers, may have good intentions (or simply think they know best) there are times when unsolicited parenting advice causes more stress for the parent and/or the child.
Here are a couple of tips on how to handle unsolicited parenting advice from those we know and love:
Is the advice good? Even if it is unsolicited, it does not mean it won’t be good advice. Take a quick internal evaluation to verify if the advice has value and if you want to engage the person to learn more.
If you are a new mom or dad you will likely get a ton of parenting advice before the baby is even born. If that is the case and the advice is unwelcomed you may need to have a talk with your loved ones that sounds something like this:
“I appreciate how much you want to help. I am fortunate to have someone like you who cares so much. That being said, I need room to find my own way as a parent. If I need guidance I will make sure to ask. Other than that I need to ask that you not jump in to instruct me on how to manage my little one.”
Either the person will accept it or not. That part is their own issue. If you do not want the stress of unsolicited advice you must stand firm on how you want to manage your child(ren).
This approach involves limiting time with the person, or people, who are causing the problem. This may not always be possible, especially if the unsolicited advice is coming from someone who assists with childcare.
Also, this may not always be the best approach. This could be seen as avoiding the problem. However, if you are not prepared to be direct yet or the person is someone that you don’t need to be around, this could be a path worth taking. However, it is important to note that this would only be a short-term solution.
Like anything in life, knowing when to heed the advice of others and knowing when to disregard it, is a balance. The answer is not always black and white. Taking someone’s unsolicited advice on parenting could potentially open up unsolicited advice in other areas. Decide when you need the advice, then take it if necessary. If not, do not be afraid to take the direct approach and let the person know where you stand.
Thoughts on this? Please comment below.