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Parenting Advice: How to Handle Unsolicited Feedback From Grandma

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Parenting Advice—Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, but it is also the most rewarding.

Since parenting does not come with a handbook, most of us leave the hospital wondering what to do next. Hundreds of parenting books vie for our attention, claiming they know best. But, what works for one child may not work for another. Advice from friends and family can be even more frustrating. At least the books don’t talk back, right?

Before I had a child, I listened to a close family member who would get so frustrated with the constant advice from her mother and mother-in-law and I remembered asking myself what the big deal was. After all, she and her husband turned out okay. This constant back and forth between this new mom and her own moms turned what should have been a beautiful time in the family to a very uncomfortable situation. When all of us got together, there was constantly an unspoken tension in the room. I resolved then and there that I would take the advice given to me with a smile and appreciation. I might not follow the advice, but I would at least consider it. This decision turned out to be the right one. Our family gatherings were peaceful and provided a loving atmosphere which is what your newborn needs to feel.

Tips to Handling Parenting Advice From Your Child's Grandmothers

If you are in a similar situation and getting frustrated with all the advice, please allow me to offer my own:

  • Remember that your Moms have already been in your shoes and they might actually know what they are talking about.
  • Remind yourself that they love you and your child more than anything and are expressing that love by showing concern for you and your baby.
  • When advice is offered, instead of responding with, ‘We already tried that,” which can lead to an argument, just say “Thank you. I appreciate you telling me.”
  • (And this is the best one) You do not have to follow their advice. Trust your instinct and if what you are doing is working for you and your baby, that is all that matters.

When our baby was born, this ended up working beautifully for our family and I realized that our parents had some wonderful advice. The truth is, if you open the dialogue with them by telling them how much you would appreciate their feedback and also tell them how well their advice is working, you will find that the only feedback you receive is them telling you what a great job you are doing. Opening yourself up to your parents' advice can be hard because it means admitting to yourself that you don’t have it all figured out. It is always difficult to let go of our pride, but having a loving relationship with your family and surrounding your baby in a peaceful environment is one of the best things you can do as a mother. It all goes back to the golden rule. Remember you will be a grandmother one day too. Make sure you model the relationship to your children that you hope to have with them when they become adults. When all else fails just smile and say, “Thank you.”

How do you handle unsolicited parenting feedback in a positive way? What feedback would you most like to give to new mothers?

Alicia Ivey is a daughter, mother and wife.  She has experienced the turmoil that can come along with family, but has taken tiny steps to improve and perfect that relationship.  Alicia loves to share her life lessons with others by writing for My Baby Clothes dot com.  Take a few minutes to take a look around at the beautiful winter baby clothes, gorgeous tutus with matching baby headbands and those comfy baby hats to keep your little one warm during the colder weather.
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