Ask B: How to Handle Unwanted Parenting Advice

 

Dear B,

As a first time parent, I am finding that I have been inundated with the advice and opinions of family members, friends, and yes, even strangers at the local grocery store! Although the input comes from a place of  good intentions, it can be overwhelming and at times, hurtful or stress – provoking. How can I respond to the various comments with grace, but also establish healthy boundaries so that I do not allow the stress to over power my ability to be a good mother? Have other mothers shared similar sentiments? I hope I am not alone with this predicament! 
 
Sincerely, 
S

 

Dear S,

You are not alone! All moms can relate to your predicament and feelings, and I too have been subjected to unsolicited advice and commentary. And you are absolutely right, these comments can be both stressful and hurtful. When I announced we were expecting our second beautiful baby boy, the associate at my very favorite gift/monogram store here in Dallas responded, “Oh…don’t you wish it was a girl? Are you going to try for a girl?” – not exactly the “Congratulations!” I had been hoping for! I simply smiled and said how thrilled and lucky we were to be having another boy, and then exited the shop. Moral of the story, is that you can’t control what other people say or do, you can only control what you say or do, and your own happiness. I think (and want to believe) that most people have good intentions and are not trying to be hurtful, and so it’s important to take the high road with your response. If someone offers you unsolicited advice or commentary, I would first listen – you might learn something or gain a new perspective! However if the advice or comment is rude or just not applicable, acknowledge them and smile and consider exiting the conversation or changing the subject. Another option is to say, “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” and then exit the conversation or change the subject. Despite any outside opinions, always remember and have confidence that you know your child best and know what is best for them! Good luck!

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  1. Very lovely advice! I have 6 children and have had the strangest and most intrusive questions asked to me. I agree! Always have grace and take the high road! And never let it affect your happiness!!! Great job’