Friday, October 18, 2013

Dealing With Unsolicited Parenting Advice

As a mom who uses multiple forms of social media, I find myself constantly getting unsolicited advice from other parents.  All you need to do is post a cute photo on Instagram of your kid at the doctor's office, on the potty, or doing various other normal kid activities and all of a sudden you have people telling you that you shouldn't vaccinate or how their child was potty trained at 8 months.  I have gotten extremely annoyed on multiple occasions by parents who I felt were trying to tell me how to raise my kid or brag about how their child had something figured out at a much younger age.
I'm sure the majority of you have similar experiences and even though you may not realize it, I bet you have bothered another parent a time or two.  After posting a recent photo of Pearl on Instagram and Facebook making a hilarious face on the potty (see above), I started to get a lot of advice.  Some were comments of encouragement and others were straight up "well, this is how I potty trained."  I bet if you asked one hundred parents, you would get one hundred different answers on how they managed that process.  There is no one right way to do it.  The point here though is that although I mentioned that potty training is going to be difficult, I didn't ask for advice.  So, why do parents (including me) find the need to be so dang annoying?!
I think the reason we offer up unsolicited advice is really pretty simple.  We are trying to help each other.  Let's just keep going with the potty training example.  A parent who has been through that process knows it's a struggle.  They probably tried for a long time to get it to click with their child.  They most likely tried many different methods until something seemed to work.  When they are offering up their advice, they are attempting to help me get through that process in a less painful way than they experienced.  Although I may see it as bragging or telling me I'm doing something wrong, it's really just the way I am choosing to see it.  In this particular case, all of the parents who commented were really just trying to be helpful.  And to be honest, some of it did seem like ideas worth trying.
In light of this new revelation I've had, I'm hoping two things will happen. A. That I will be able to appreciate the advice other parents are giving me.  I may not have asked for it, and in many cases I may not even agree with it, but that information is generally coming from a supportive and kind place. B. I will try to only give other parents advice when solicited.
-Kira

5 comments:

  1. i'm one of those parents who has tried almost everything in the book. None of the "tricks" worked for me. it was a long dirty struggle and just took the kids having things "click" for them. It's one of the harder aspects of parenting young children i feel. you get SO much advice. I do like to talk to people about what i tried, what worked, didn't work on many things, but i try not to tell them what to do. I don't know their kids and they don't know mine. it's super hard to wade through it, but it's an amazing feeling once you get to the other side. :) good luck mama!

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  2. Great post. I have done better about ignoring some of the unwanted advise with Hudson, but with my first, Lola, it was so hard. Even though I'm sure people mean the best, I was constantly feeling judged and like I was already messing up my child, for life! Now that I have two kids, I try to always remember when talking to other moms, how I felt in their shoes. I tend to only give my experiences when they ask. And I try to always say "every child is different, both my children are complete opposites, this is my experience" and leave it at that.

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  3. Unsolicited advice sucks. People just need to learn to reign it in (myself included). Sorry, friend!

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  5. Uh oh. Hope I haven't given you any of this unwanted advice...though I wouldn't doubt it. Ugh. Sorry if I have. The potty training advice is the worst though. Seriously the worst. I figure Fern will be potty trained by high school and I'm happy with that.

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