Parenting: Simple Ways to Deal With Unsolicited Parenting Advice

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Parenting—You're a sleep-deprived new mama (or even a seasoned parent of multiple kids), are walking down the street with your newborn/toddler/preschooler strapped into your fancy new stroller/crunchy sling/avant garde trendy carrier/walking with your down the street and some (possibly) well-meaning soul stops you on the street.

"Your baby should be wearing a hat because it's so hot/cold outside."

"That poor child's head looks like it's going to fall right off. You should support it better!"

"Aren't you standing a little too close to the crosswalk?"

Depending upon your level of moxy and/or hormones, your first instinct is to do one of the following: 1. Burst into tears 2. Offer a knee-jerk angry retort or 3. Nod and smile blankly.

I will never forget the woman who literally crossed backward across the street to entreat me to "Go out and buy a pair of gloves for that poor child's freezing hands." Uhm, thank you ma'am, does your advice include a way to KEEP said gloves on the hands of a wiggly toddler without the aid of crazy glue?! Versions of this scenario have happened to me numerous times, and I'm pretty sure that I have offered up many a combination of 1,2 & 3...particularly when the unsolicited advice came from a friend or relative instead of a total stranger!

Polite Ways to Handle Unsolicited Parenting Advice

I'd like to offer a couple of better ways to get rid of nosy advice givers.

  1. Try not to be defensive. Listen to the offered advice, say thank you, make your own decision, and continue on your way.
  2. Sound like an expert. Answer back, but preface every retort with "My doctor said..." Then make your own decision and continue on your way.
  3. Appear to nod and smile...while patting yourself on the back for knowing that you are doing the best you can and your instincts with regard to hat wearing/stroller strapping/street crossing may very well be correct. Then make your own decision and continue on your way.

How do you handle unsolicited parenting advice? What are polite ways to handle nosy advice givers?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Jessica is a teacher turned over-educated SAHM to a preschooler and a toddler. She is trying to find more hours in the day so that her blog Peekababy makes a little bit more noise. She blogs about parenting, education, products and loves to post recipes. You can also follow her on twitter on Facebook and on Google+.

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Jessica Kobrin Bernstein is a teacher turned overeducated SAHM to a preschooler and an toddler. Constantly cooking something. Sleep?! Talk to me in 20-30 yrs.

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