How to Deal With Unsolicited Parenting Advice

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It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re a first-time or third-time parent, unsolicited parenting advice hits hard! Having a baby and being a parent can be emotionally draining. The last thing you want is unasked-for advice from ‘parenting experts’. Unfortunately, these comments can come from those closest to us as well as strangers.

Today I’m discussing some tips and tricks for dealing with and understanding unsolicited parenting advice.

Unsolicited parenting advice from parents.

I personally found the unsolicited parenting advice from my parents the most difficult to deal with. I get it! I’m their baby, but now I’m having a baby. It can be a strange shift in roles for parents to get their heads around. The lines are often very blurred.

Being a new mum and already emotionally challenged I often found their advice to sound like ‘that’s not how we did it’ or ‘that’s not what I’d do’. It was always negative, rather than constructive. But that’s not always true! More often than not their advice comes from a place of love and experience. What you need to figure out is if your parents are offering suggestions because they want to help, or if they disapprove of your parenting choices.

If it’s the latter you need to open up an honest discussion. Be firm but fair. Explain your acknowledgement of their advice, but also explain that if you need advice you’ll ask. It may feel uncomfortable setting boundaries: I understand the awkwardness and how scary it can be confronting your parents, but setting appropriate foundations is imperative for a happy parenting/grandparenting relationship.

Unsolicited parenting advice from friends who are parents.

Friends who are also parents are often prone to dishing out unsolicited parenting advice. I’m sure I’ve done it myself on a few occasions. Sometimes things just slip out.

You’ll probably find your friends are giving out advice on subjects that are still quite raw from their own parenting experiences. After all, it’s usually negative experiences that conversations thrive off. We very rarely speak of successful parenting experiences (which we really should do more often).

I think it’s best to try and take emotion out of the situation. Remember that two people aren’t always going to agree or disagree with situations. It’s what makes us so interesting. And what makes our parenting journeys so interesting. ‘All babies are different’ is a great (and very true) statement to fall back on.

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Unsolicited parenting advice from friends without children.

I think it goes without saying, but one of the most frustrating things in the world is being given advice about a subject from someone with absolutely no experience. Cue the unsolicited parenting advice from friends without children.

You might hear things such as ‘have you tried…’ or ‘I’ve read you should..’ which can be intensely frustrating. But I think it’s important to remember that these friends are probably just trying to become a part of your world, a world they don’t really know much about. There’s never usually any malice in their statements. It’s more naivety.

The easiest thing I’ve learnt about taking advice from friends without children is to just go along with it. Understand that they’re just trying to help or trying to make conversation. Acknowledge, brush it off and get on with the rest of your day.

Unsolicited parenting advice from strangers.

Okay, so this is the one which irks me the most! Pregnancy and parenthood seems to give strangers the green light when it comes to giving out advice. Getting defensive may be your first reaction (and totally understandably so, I’m sure we’ve all been there), there are ways to deal with unsolicited parenting advice from strangers which won't cause a scene… Even if you really want to!

Remember, these are people you’re likely never to see again. They probably haven’t thought about what they’re saying before the unsolicited words come out from their mouths. A quick ‘I'll bear that in mind’ will brush them off. Or if you’re wanting to be impactful yet tactful, a ‘thank you for your opinion, however I’ll do what’s best for me and my baby’ should immediately shut down the conversation. It’s a polite way of telling them to mind their own business!

Have you ever had someone push their parenting advice onto you? How have you dealt with unsolicited parenting advice?

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