Ah yes, that bane of parents everywhere: Unsolicited parenting advice. Every parent has to deal with it. Some do it with more grace than others.
Now, I’m not the kind of person who hates ALL parenting advice, or even ALL unsolicited parenting advice. I’ll be the first to admit that I pretty much just wing it (and any parent who doesn’t admit that with at least their first child is lying). When I haven’t a clue what to do or even where to start, I have no qualms picking up the phone and calling my mom, or at the very least ask her the next time I see her. And occasionally she will give me advice with out me asking, but this is rare and usually only happens when she sees me struggling with something, or when it is a relevant “helpful hint” that she’s learned from raising me and my 3 siblings. And usually I’m pretty accepting of the advice she gives, even on the rare occasion that I don’t implement (or at least attempt to do so), I graciously listen to what she has to say. Same goes for advice from my Mother-in-Law, although because she lives halfway across the country, I don’t get nearly as much unsolicited advice from her, and since she’s a nurse I tend to only ask her medical related questions (but EJ is a pretty healthy baby, so that doesn’t happen too often).
I even love tip sharing with a friend of mine from AMU who also has a son. We were due on the same day (although EJ beat JJ, who came 2 days late). Since we are encountering a lot of similar problems, we laugh about those problems, and share the solutions we have found that worked with our respective sons (like a metal spoon in the fridge for teething relief).
But what I can’t stand is unsolicited advice from people who know pretty much nothing about my parenting style, my son’s personality, or parenting in general.
I have a friend who, its seems, fancies themselves an expert in parenting. I’m not sure where they get this idea, as they are not married or a parent, they are not a PhD (or even have a Master’s degree) in any child related field of study (such as childhood education or child psychology), they don’t even have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. In fact, as far as I can tell the only “qualification” they have to give me parenting advice is that they have had a job in childcare since graduation (last year)
How do you deal with someone like that? Especially when the advice is usually given on posts where I am sharing things about EJ, like the fact that he started drinking from his bottle unassisted for the first time or that he’d figured out how to take his diaper off, and the advice are things like “you should start teaching him to drink from a cup, and skip sippy cups completely” (he was 6 months old at the time) or “you need to buy him thick underwear and start potty training him” (he was 9 months when this was suggested).
These pieces of advice are not necessarily bad advice, but not necessarily good either. Yeah, maybe in a house where everything is set up and life isn’t crazy, a mom can have the patience to teach a baby to drink out of a cup, while skipping sippy cups completely. But you don’t start doing that the first time the baby figures out to hold his bottle. So the advice was misplaced, not no mention it showed nothing about my current life position (Hubby working every day of the week, most of the apartment still in boxes, and me still trying to recover from postpartum depression). And yeah, maybe there are some parents who have successfully potty trained infants (it is a movement that is gaining momentum), but they usually start as newborns, not at 9 months old, and there are some pediatricians/pediatric psychologists who warn against infant potty training, because physiologically babies don’t have control of their bladders and bowels until that are about a year and a half old.
Every time they posts some sort of recommendation of how I should raise EJ, I have resisted the urge just to tell this person to “F**K Off” which was what I really wanted to do.
This person isnt the only one who does it, I get it from strangers and people from Hubby’s work. Its infuriating when strangers tell me I’m a bad parent for not feeding EJ only organic food, or that I’m poisoning him by letting him have cheerios & other products with GMOs, but I have no problem telling them they have no business giving me unsolicited advice (I have no problem telling strangers to fuck off). I know they are well meaning, but its still annoying. Even the friendly non-judgmental ones can get annoying. Yes he is a cute baby, Im glad you think so, but no I am not going to sign him up to be a baby model. Yes I hear that about once a day, but I would just like to shop/eat/whatever I’m doing in peace.
And the people at Hubby’s work who ususlly offer unsolicited advice are also frustrating. I feel like I can’t go there when these particular people are working without getting a barrage of advice and suggestions to which I fell like I can do nothing but smile and nod. Hubby has been more forward with them, asking them to stop giving it (apparently it happens to a distracting level at work)
So how do you handle these kinds of situations, where people are giving unsolicited parenting advice (good or bad, but especially bad)?
Share in the comments!