Friday, August 12, 2022

Parenting Pointers: How To Deal with Unsolicited Parenting Advice (From Non-Parents and In-Laws)

It's quite annoying dealing with unsolicited parenting advice. 

Especially from people who don't even have kids in the first place! Or from your own parents or in-laws who have an outdated approach on how to raise children.

They seem to question everything! 

From asking you why you do put a leash on your 4 kids who are all under 4 years old, to insisting that you don't need a smart bassinet, to advising that your 3-month-old can already eat rice and oatmeal.

Every step and choice you make as a parent seems doubtful, inappropriate, and altogether wrong.

So how do you deal with unwanted parenting advice without being bitchy or outright rude?

How do you put your in-laws or other people in their rightful place, without stirring the pot or causing some commotion?

Here are some ways you can handle such unwanted behaviors in the most respectful way possible

How To Deal with Unsolicited Parenting Advice From In-Laws

Listen first

It might be against every fiber of your being but half of the time, most in-laws think what they're sharing is helpful and valuable.

And you might not want to admit it, but you might learn a thing or two from them. So just listen, be open-minded and just pick up some insight that might help you eventually.

Pick your battles

Dealing with kids 24/7 is already hard enough. Who has the energy to fight off unwarranted advice from in-laws!

So if you want a less exhausting encounter with your ever-preaching relatives, pick your battles.

Let them have their say, especially if it's a very small, insignificant issue that won't really affect your or your kid's life for a very long time.

If they insist that your kid wears sunscreen again even though you've already slathered them with it, then fine, do another layer again.

If they want another photo with your grandkids while you hold them under the scorching sun, fine, grin and bare your teeth and let them handle your children when they start wailing.

Just let them have it once in a while. Especially if it's not that big of a deal, to put less stress on yourself and less strain on your relationship with them.

Learn then teach

If you just can't stand all the talks they're saying about how to raise your kids, especially when it comes to disciplining them, counter-attack with science-based arguments.

Learn from experts, read books and watch relevant content and refer back and show them your sources. Especially when they're doubtful of your reasoning.

Be confident

In-laws, especially those that you're not friends with, can smell apprehension and weakness.

So don't let them know how you're just winging this parenthood thingy!

Be confident. Embrace your choices with confidence. Be enthusiastic, share with them your findings and research, and talk to them about how your kids are doing and they're improving.

That hopefully, would make them slink away and retreat to their corner.

Be honest

If you like your in-laws but you just don't like how they always dish unwanted parenting advice, try having a heart-to-heart talk with them.

Tell them first how much you appreciate all the care and love they've been giving to your and your kids. But that you'd be more comfortable doing things your way without being questioned about it. 

Tell them you know what you're doing, share with them your plans, show you've done the research (quote and show your resources if you must!) and that you'd like to raise your kids in a nonconflicting manner.

How To Respond to Unwanted Parenting Advice From Non-Parents

Refrain from kid-related topics

If you're already aware that they tend to give unsolicited parenting advice, then don't bring up any subject related to your kid.

In fact, just don't talk to them about any subject related to children!

Especially if your children are not around. 

So don't complain to them about how tired you were because your baby won't sleep, won't eat, won't take a bath, etc. 

Just don't talk to them about kids. Just. Don't.

Agree to disagree

This also applies to in-laws.

If you don't want things to escalate, especially if they can't just see your POV, then just agree to disagree.

You will just waste your time making them come around your corner.

So might as well let them have their own opinion while being open with yours and just move on to some friendlier, non-child-related topics.

Have a standard reply

If they still insist that what they think is the right thing to do for your kid, give them a standard response.

Such as "That might be the right way for you, when you have your own family. And I could change my mind about it but for now, this is working for my own kids."

Prepare and practice it in advance so you can deliver it in a cool, calm, collected manner.

Get away, literally

This can apply to both pesky in-laws and people with no children, who just don't get how you hate them giving you parenting advice.

If you know that there's nothing you can say or do, that would make them change their mind about dishing out unwarranted advice, then do this. 

When they're saying something irritating again, smile, nod your head, and say "That's interesting!" then make up an excuse to get away from them. 

Do it often then maybe they'll finally get a clue.

Final Thoughts on Dealing with Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Sometimes, being polite and understanding can backfire. So if none of these respectful and courteous ways are working on your in-laws or other people, try the more tactful approach.

Express openly your disdain for their unwanted parenting advice. 

You don't need to be straight-up angry about it, but if that's the only way for them to back off and keep your sanity, then so be it!

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