Ahh, unsolicited advice. It’s an interesting thing, isn’t it? You know what we’re talking about. Those moments when someone comes up to you and gives you some seemingly helpful, yet all too condescending words of wisdom, which usually translates to a better way for you to parent or handle your kids. Whether it’s from your mother-in-law, your girlfriend, or a complete stranger in the kid’s section of Barnes and Noble, it seems like these more-times-than-not rude comments, masked as helpful suggestions, are coming at us from all directions.
Now, we’re not saying that all unsolicited advice is bad advice. Often times, it can come from a very good place and be quite helpful. But harmless or not, at the end of a long day filled with new emotions and an ever-changing body, other people’s advice is the last thing you want to hear, unless you’re the one seeking it. So, how does one handle and respond to this dilemma? Let us begin…
Educate Yourself. First things first—knowledge is key! Learn all you can about pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and so forth, with the help of trusted baby books, websites, videos, forums, etc. This way, you are well-versed and can easily carry on a conversation and know what to disregard whenever the advice fairies strike.
Be Polite. We all know how hard it is to not bite back sometimes. Once you realize a person is offering some absurd advice, or even worse, a backhanded comment, just politely nod and bolt. There’s no use in battling a person for their ridiculous opinion—it won’t change anything. If you’re dealing with a friend or family member and must respond, be vague and consider replying with something like, “Oh, that’s interesting.”
Choose Topics Wisely. At family gatherings and friendly get-togethers, try to stay away from hot topics, in order to refrain from any know-it-all busy-bodying. Answer any personal questions with light and positive answers and move on.
Play It Safe. There will be times when you’re forced to pick your battles. For example, is it really worth fighting your mother-in-law on wood toys versus plastic toys? If an outcome won’t hurt your baby or yourself, let it slide to keep the peace.
Ask Your Care Provider. When in doubt, go to the head honcho. Being well-informed from a medical professional will not only reassure that you’re doing a great job, but also counts as ammo against naysayers.
Befriend. If you can, try to extend your friend circle to other moms and moms-to-be that have your same parenting style. This group will be your saving grace when others are driving you crazy.
Be Open. Annoying or not, the unsolicited advice will keep on coming. Try not to be on the defense before you hear someone out. Plus, believe it or not, there is a chance you could actually learn a tip or two. If not, no harm done—ignore and carry on.
How do you deal? Let’s start a discussion in the comments below.