Sunday, February 22, 2015

▶ How to Handle Unwanted Advice

image via whattoexpect

As parents, we've all been there.. someone is going on and on about how we shouldn't do this, or we should do that, and we are just smiling and nodding and/or gritting our teeth. Some of us may not be so lucky as to keep quiet or remain tactful. It's not an easy task. 

So how should we handle it? Here are some tips to help aid you in this situation.

▶ Most important - trust your mama gut. If you feel something is right instinctively, go with that, as your gut is usually right. You know your child best, don't forget that if you are feeling intimidated. My daughter is incredibly warm all the time. She sweats when she wears sweaters. I constantly have to reassure my own mother that she is perfectly comfortable in a onesie and t-shirt. Every baby is different, and their parents will always know them best.

▶ Ask their advice. This is especially important within families. Asking something like "Hey mom, the doctor says Eli is ready to switch to solids. Which fruit should we let him try first?" will make the person feel important and that their opinion is valuable to you. 

▶ Be polite. You're an adult and (9 times out of 10) the person who is offering advice to you means well. Smile, and thank the meddler with a kind "we will keep that in mind", or "we always consult our doctor". Generally they just want to feel like their advice has been heard and considered.

▶ If they won't let it go, you can try saying "we have it under control, but thank you again", followed by "have a great day" and turning to leave. That would be a polite and acceptable way to signal the end of the conversation on your side.

▶ Keep in mind that someone who was a parent decades ago may not be up-to-date on the latest research in safety and health for babies. They mean well, and are generally speaking from their own experience, which may not be up-to-date.

▶ Keep an open mind. I know when I first had B I had all these ideas and plans in mind for how I was going to parent. But I didn't (and still don't) know it all. I learned a LOT from fellow moms, both current and past. Keep your mind open to things others say, and if you are unsure, conduct your own research or discuss it with your doctor or pediatrician. 

▶ Compromise, if you can. For example, my mother likes to give B little treats, whereas I prefer to limit her sweets quite significantly. So I compromise and allow her to give B treats on occasion, and I have made her aware of how I want them to be limited. If it is something you refuse to bend on, then don't. But if it something that you feel has some wiggle room, sometimes it is best for everyone to just compromise (as is true in many situations, isn't it?).

▶ Try to remain calm. We are bred to feel protective of our children and it is natural to feel defensive when our parenting skills appear to be in question. Take a few deep breaths if you're feeling pushed, or walk away if you need to. Always take the high road and be a positive example for your children.

Have you ever experienced a situation with a well-meaning meddler? How did you handle it? Sound off in the comments below!

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