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Handling Unwanted Advice

As soon as you announce you’re pregnant it seems like everyone has got something to say.  Whether it’s how to tell if you’re having a boy or a girl to ways to ensure you have an easy delivery.

At first, all this attention and advice can seem flattering but as your pregnancy nears to an end and it starts getting old, know this.

It’s going to get a lot worse! Almost every parent hears what can feel like an endless string of unwanted advice. It can get extremely annoying to hear what other people think you should be doing with your child.

Depending on who it is coming from it might even feel downright insulting. But what to do about unwanted advice? Do you give the advice-giver a proper dressing down in hopes they will forever leave you and other parents alone?

Or do you bite your tongue, smile, and graciously thank them?  A lot of how you deal with unwanted advice should depend on who it is coming from.

YourBabyLibrary-how to handle unwanted advice
YourBabyLibrary-Handling Unwanted Advice

Handling Unwanted Advice from Your Own Mother

Most new moms expect some advice from their mother. Some of it is sound advice. A lot of it is probably not. Things have changed a lot from when our parents raised their children.

When our children have children, things will have changed again. But what do you do if you are constantly the recipient of unwanted advice from your mom?

If you have a good relationship with your mother in the first place, you probably don’t want to be too blunt (unless of course, that’s the type of good relationship you have).

There is a big difference between your mother giving you advice that you asked for and advice you didn’t.

If your breastfeeding relationship with your baby is going great and your Mom suggests you start giving baby formula then this is most definitely unwanted advice.  

Dealing With Unwanted Information

If your relationship with your mom is strained in the first place think of how often you see her.  If it’s rarely, you may want to just swallow your pride, thank her for advice and ignore it.  

However, if you see your mom quite often, you may want to nip this in the bud before it starts to affect your relationship.  

How do you put it gently that you just don’t want unsolicited advice?  Honesty is the best policy in most cases. You can just say “mom, I appreciate your advice, but I got this.” If it continues?  

Tell her how it makes you feel. Gently.  The reason unwanted advice bothers so many of us is that it seems like a vote of non-confidence.

If your mom thought you were doing a good job, why would she tell you to change what you’re doing? She probably doesn’t mean it this way, but you can tell her that’s how it comes across.

Blame it on the hormones if you must, but tell her it upsets you.  

The Friend

You’ve known your friend for years, she had children before you, and now she knows everything.  Her favorite thing to say is “oh just wait until your kids are two”.  

This can quickly become very annoying. While there is probably a lot of truth to what she is saying it doesn’t make unwanted advice easy to take. If she is truly a friend you can probably be pretty straightforward with her.

Just tell her that while she probably does have more insight than you, considering she has experience with her own children. However, you need to experience these situations and ups and downs of parenting for yourself.  

Before you know it you’ll be wanting (but will resist) to give other new parents advice.  

The Stranger

There is nothing quite like standing helplessly in the grocery store while your toddler throws a kicking and screaming tantrum. And then a complete stranger comes up and tells you what you should be doing to stop her.  

As with most people, strangers offering unwanted advice are usually well-meaning, but this doesn’t make it any easier to take.

You may be tempted to snap “mind your own business” or even defend your parenting tactics, but try and take the high road.

This doesn’t mean you can’t let the advice giver know that you don’t appreciate or need unwanted advice. You can simply say, “I’m not interested in any advice” or just walk away.

The Mother-in-Law

I’ve saved the best for last.  Most women find that there is nothing worse than unwanted advice from their mother-in-law. Advice can come across as condescending and even downright rude.

It can be difficult dealing with conflict with your mother-in-law since most women want to keep the peace but stand up for themselves as well. If possible, have your husband deal with it.

She’s not your mother, she’s his and he should stand behind his partner. He has known her all his life and should better understand her motivations and explain why this is upsetting to BOTH of you in a tactful manner.  

In situations involving extended family members, it’s important to have the support of your partner. Keep in mind that no matter what you do, unwanted advice will always be around the corner no matter the age of your children.    

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