Did you have a new baby and now suddenly everyone is telling you how to properly parent? Here’s how to handle unsolicited parenting advice from others.
One of the worst parts of becoming a new parent is receiving new parenting advice from everyone who has raised a child before and even some that have not. It seems like someone always thinks they know how to raise your child better than you do.
And whether the person who is giving the advice means well and only wants to help or is being completely critical of your parenting choices, sometimes it’s hard to know how to handle all of this advice.
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Dealing With Parenting Criticism
Of course, when someone is just plain criticizing how you choose to parent your child, it can turn into a disagreement very quickly. And unfortunately, some parents just don’t know when to stop getting involved with their grown children and it interferes in their parenting growth. Some common ways that people criticize new parents are:
- “Family Baby Names” – You were supposed to use her grandmother’s middle name.
- “Cosleeping is Dangerous” – Cosleeping is dangerous and you should not be letting your baby sleep with you.
- “Cloth Diapering is Causing her rashes.” – She is getting rashes because she is sitting in cloth and nothing is absorbing the pee.
- “Are you breastfeeding him again?” – Didn’t he just eat an hour ago?
How to Deal With Unwanted Parenting Advice
As new parents we’ve all had some type of unwanted parenting advice tossed our way and to be honest there have been times where I just wanted to yell, “Stop telling me how to raise my child.” But that would have gotten me nowhere and probably damaged some relationships with the ones who were giving me the advice.
New parents need to have a way to handle the advice that is coming their way without hurting any feelings or getting upset. So here are 13 surefire ways to deal with unwanted parenting advice without making anyone cry.
1. Stay Calm
First of all, if you have just had a newborn baby, your emotions are going to be on a huge rollercoaster from all of the changing hormones your body is experiencing. And because of this, it’s so crucial that you stay calm and collected especially when you’re holding your baby.
Babies can sense stress in your body and react to it by getting upset and crying.
- 17 Strange But Totally Normal Things That Happen With a Newborn Baby
- 15 Crazy Unexpected Things that Happen to New Moms After Childbirth
2. Listen and Filter
It’s important to always listen to the advice that is given to you because some may very well be useful and helpful.
So when someone is trying to help and offers some words of wisdom be sure to consider them and think about if that advice would benefit your family. And if the advice is just plain nonsense, just let it go through one ear and out the other.
3. Consider the Source
Always think about who is giving you advice. Is it your mother who really cares and wants to help you succeed or a stranger who doesn’t even know you or your child.
One huge thing that I have had to learn about choosing when I really take unwanted advice to heart or decide that it’s just criticism is to consider where the advice is coming from. Unfortunately, there are some people that cannot help themselves and feel the need to criticize parenting choices that you make simply because it wasn’t the way they did it.
So always try to stop and consider whether the advice is coming from the heart or a place of criticism.
4. Pick Your Battles
One of the biggest things that all parents learn with children is when to pick your battles. And it’s the same with parenting advice.
Sometimes grandparents especially, just want to spoil your kids and maybe you don’t agree with the things that your children are allowed to get away with at their house.
For example, my 7-year-old always feels the need to remind me that, “Meme lets us get a cookie when we first get into the grocery store!” and my response to that is, “I am not Meme. I am Mommy and when you go to the store with me we get the cookie at the end if you are good.”
There are simply sometimes where it’s not worth arguing over – especially when it’s not harming your child.
- 13 Tips for Grocery Shopping with Kids without any Meltdowns
- 13 Tips For Getting Your Kids To Eat Healthy Food
- 10 Tips for Helping Your Child Give Up The Binky or Pacifier
5. Educate Yourself
If you really don’t know what the best decision is with a parenting situation – educate yourself.
And once you have found the answer and have real research or experience to back it up you can educate others.
So, for example, explaining that cloth diapering is completely natural and actually in many ways better than using disposables because of all of the excess heat and chemicals that are trapped against your baby’s body.
Or that breastfeed babies are able to digest breast milk so incredibly fast because it is perfectly designed for their little bodies. And because of this, they need to eat more often than an average formula-fed baby.
And lastly, you can explain that there are completely safe ways to cosleep with your baby if you take the proper precautions.
- 8 Tips for Co-Sleeping Safely With Your Baby
- How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk
- 5 Reasons to Cloth Diaper Your Baby
6. Trust Your Mom Gut
Moms are naturally programmed with a gut instinct when it comes to their children. Whether it’s knowing what your baby really needs when they are crying or sensing how to make them feel better, moms are naturally tuned in to their children.
So if you’re not sure if the advice is warranted, just trust your mom gut.
7. Every Family is Different
Some grandparents, in particular, seem to think that every new parent has to make the same parenting choices that they did when they were raising children. But that’s completely insane.
Just because one thing worked for that person’s family, doesn’t mean that it will work for yours. Every situation is different and some parenting styles just will not work for some parents and their children.
There is truly no one perfect way to parent. We are all here just trying to do the best we can.
8. Ask Your Child’s Pediatrician
In times where some unwanted advice may be connected to your child’s health or behavior, you can always bring any concerns to your child’s pediatrician to get a medical professional’s opinion.
And if they decide that the advice is not warranted, you can rest assured that you checked it out.
- 16 Common Signs of Childhood Sensory Issues You May Be Missing
- 10 Signs that your Child may have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
9. Times Have Changed
One thing to keep in mind is that times have changed drastically since our parents were raising children.
For example, back when I was a baby, it was recommended to put your baby to sleep on their stomach to avoid them choking in their sleep. Whereas now it is only recommended to put your baby to sleep on their back to make sure they do not suffocate or die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
So with new science and experts learning more about how to keep children safe and healthy, there is always new advice for parents to follow.
10. Be Honest
One of the best ways to help the person that is giving you unwanted parenting advice is, to be honest with them about your feelings. Try sitting down with them and explaining how it makes you feel when they are stepping in and telling you how to parent without giving you a chance to learn by yourself.
And in many cases, they don’t realize that they are overstepping. But being honest with them keeps your lines of communication open and also strengthens your relationship.
11. Set Boundaries
Once you have told the person how you feel try to set up boundaries so that they know what lines not to cross. Having boundaries is great for grandparents so that they know when not to step in while you are learning how to parent your child.
12. Stand Your Ground
Once you have expressed how you feel about the unwanted advice and have set boundaries, everyone knows what is expected. And if someone continues to try and tell you what you should do instead as a parent, stand your ground.
Make it clear that you are the parent and they are not. And as the parent, you make the decisions for your child.
13. Give Yourself a Pat on the Back
Parenting is hard.
Of course, no one said it would be easy. But it’s truly difficult to figure out how to parent your child as it is without getting criticized or receiving unwanted parenting advice all of the time.
But try to remember that you are doing the best that you can and give yourself a pat on the back for that.