Few things irritate me more than being offered unsolicited advice related to parenting. Now that I think about it, I have never been good at receiving any sort of advice. I would rather do a lot of research or ask someone who I am sure, knows what they are talking about. So naturally, when it comes to my daughter, I am extra cautious. Of course, it means I would be labeled arrogant or even a bad mother for not listening to most people. But seriously, as long as I know what I am doing, I couldn’t care less.
If you look closely enough, you will be able to spot the child expert in every second person you meet, irrespective of whether they have ever even held a baby, let alone given birth to one. Many fellow parents are culprits too! So, you know that whichever direction you go, you are sure to stumble upon an unsolicited advice, a parenting tip or at least a remark on how tall or thin or fat or short your kid has become since the last time they met you. Before you can even realize what’s happening, your parenting style has already been judged and deemed unfit.
Everybody is concerned about somebody else’s child. Lovely, isn’t it? But also sad how people cannot seem to control their urge to make insensitive remarks about a child’s behavior, physical development, milestone achievement etc followed with a word of advice, without thinking about how their words might affect someone who has been doing their best to raise their child.
The list never ends….
How I react to Unsolicited Advice
I Play Dumb
First of all, I don’t give a big reaction. I usually pretend not to have heard. I smile (or not) and walk away if I can.
Or I Go Bonkers
But if I can’t walk away, I make sure to give them a piece of my mind. After all the sleepless nights, exhaustion, tantrum toleration, endless work and chores, I take it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to release all that tension that has built up inside of me in response to unsolicited advice. What is the worst that could happen? Someone will stop talking to me or about me (dream come true).. LOL!
Overtime, I have realized that this urge to offer unsolicited parenting advice is something many people are unable to control. They believe that they are actually doing a favor by offering their two bits for the benefit of the ‘less informed’. Many times, the gesture is harmless but sometimes not so much.
Parents have enough to deal with as it is and some get used to it with time. But for new parents, still struggling to come to terms with reality, to be put in such a situation is rough. So here are some tips to deal with such issues that accompany parenthood.
What You Can Do to Handle Unsolicited Advice
1. Listen before you react:
Not all unsolicited parenting advice could be bad. If it has been offered by someone who genuinely cares for your little one, listen and graciously accept the advice.
2. Explain why you disagree:
Even if it is not that useful but has been offered with a good intention, consider thanking. Depending on who offered the advice, you may or may not want to explain why according to your doctor or your personal research the advice doesn’t seem right for you.
3. Play dumb:
Sometimes people only want to hurt other people. Pick your battles carefully. Sometimes a vague answer or ‘playing dumb’ is all it takes to get someone off your back.
4. Involve a middleman:
If it gets too much for you to handle on your own, you may want to get a third person involved.
5. Have a support system in place:
It is a great idea to stay in touch with like-minded people. It makes it easier for you to offload and deal with such situations when you know you have a support system backing you up.
6. Go bonkers:
If the information is not useful, has been offered with a hidden agenda of causing hurt and is something you simply cannot ignore and nothing else works, then by all means go bonkers!
Stay cool! Do not let unsolicited advice shake you! Healthy and happy parenting to you!