How to Handle Unsolicited Advice About Parenting by Amy Askin

Happy Friday! Today I’ve got Amy from Beloved Atmosphere taking over with her tips on putting a positive spin on unsolicited advice. Oh boy, I know I’ve certainly been there. Have you?

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“She’s so tiny. She’s really 3 months old? Wow…my nephew is a month younger than she is, and is like, double her size!”

“How long do you plan to nurse him? Isn’t that awkward?! I mean, when he starts walking, don’t people stare at you while you’re doing it?”

“Woah. She’s a chunker! Good thing it’s appealing to be fat as a baby. You know, when she grows up, it won’t be the same.”

And my personal favorite: “You know, if you keep him all swaddled up so tight like that, it may stunt his growth…” My inner monologue: Ummm…#1. “swaddled” is a verb. The appropriate word, “tightly” is an adverb. #2. Dr. Harvey Karp told me it’s nurturing to swaddle my babies. And Dr. Harvey Karp is a god in the Parenting Universe. I trust him. Not you.

Have you been the recipient of any of these or other similar comments as you and your little darling are just minding your own business in public? And don’t put aside the “extra special” advice you receive from friends and family. They have special credence. ;

In such an image-driven culture, it’s tough to take the high road. I mean, you want to be a strong advocate for your child’s and your own self-esteem and shrug off this unsolicited advice. But it’s near impossible! Well, I’m here to tell you how to do so. It’s not as difficult as you may think! 😉

Wendy’s recent post titled, Perfect Families motivated me to reflect on this issue we all face as parents and siblings. It’s so true: you can’t change your family. However, you always have control over how your perception of a situation shapes your reality. Lately, I’ve been reading posts from Hands Free Mama. Man, Rachel Macy Stafford is brilliant. She completely focuses on, and eloquently shares the ways in which she spins situations to create positives outcomes out of potentially negative situations. Love that woman!

So yes, despite the fact your family, friends and complete strangers pass unsolicited comments that are inappropriate or downright rude, you have the power to shape the situation and spin it positively. No, I’m not going to give you an arsenal of pejorative comebacks or sarcastic barbs. I’m going to instead recommend how to be free, accept what’s thrown your way with grace, and move beyond it to peace, strong self-esteem and love.

Truly, it only benefits us as humans to take the high road. When we approach each negative situation with love, acceptance and grace, we spread love in perpetuity. What hubs and I do (and we’re now teaching our two “big sister” daughters to do) in one of these “OMG…did you really just say that to me aloud?!” situations is follow a 3-step process.

1. Take a deep breath – inhale for 3-5 seconds. Exhale. Even Smile!
2. Have a prepared response. Ours is, “Thank you for your concern. I’ll have to think about that.” We even have a backup response: “Oh Gosh, I hadn’t thought of that. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”
3. As you walk away, smiling (and perhaps shaking your head), re-think the comment(s) in the best possible frame of mind. Perhaps Aunt Edna truly believes in her heart of hearts Little Philip’s feet are going to shrink if you swaddle him tightly! Afterall, it’s what she was told. She’s watching out for you, and truly cares for you and Baby Philip.

So go out today with a newfound perspective. Let what used to be personal attacks on your child be better thought of us caring words and concerns.

Afterall, all of us know this much: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.

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Amy Askin – Beloved Atmosphere

Check out more from Amy at Beloved Atmosphere where she writes about her thoughts on travel, parenting, education, and more. Amy is a huge proponent of traveling the world with your children in tow. She’s got an entire series that you should consider reading: Thailand, Hong Kong, Saigon, and Vietnam.

Connect with Amy on Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook!

Comments

  1. BabyBumpBeyond Heather says:

    As a baby planner, I walk this very fine line of knowing when to give advice freely and when to wait for someone to ask for it. For the most part, I am positive and supportive about each individual parent’s decisions. I get stopped often while I’m out and asked about the baby products I’m using (strollers, carriers, diaper bags, tethers, etc), which I love, but I struggle when I see parents-to-be standing in the isles of a baby store looking lost. I want so badly to help them, but to them, I’m just a strange lady in the store and I don’t want to come off as crazy or pushy.
    The crazy opposite to that is that at a pet store, where my only “expertise” is owning a big fluffy dog, I have no problem being the crazy lady who says “omg, you need this, it’s amazing” to complete strangers.

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