How To Handle Unsolicited Parental Advice

If you have ever been expecting or had a baby of your own, you know exactly where this is going. A friend, co-worker, family member or a complete stranger is not afraid to come up to you and give you every bit of knowledge they have ever learned while they were bringing up their little bundle of joy.

If you are anything like me, there will be times you are so thankful for the insight. There will then be times when you just want to roll your eyes and wait for the moment when you can walk away from the conversation. Some of the advice is wonderfully applicable and some of just wont work for you and your family. Regardless of how great it is, it can be pretty frustrating to be bombarded with information when you are likely already stressed or thinking about other things.

What Should I Keep In Mind?

So, what do you do about it? How to do you converse when you are so overwhelmed with other things? We just went through this so I’m hoping these pointers can help.

  • Keep in mind, every piece of advice is coming from a place of kindness. This was such a challenge for me, especially on the days when I felt so bombarded with advice. But its really important to remember that every who offers you advice is coming from a place of excitement for you and in a hidden way, showing you some of the struggles their encounters, hoping that you don’t have to do the same. Try your best to accept it with grace and move about your day.
  • You may find some of the insight extremely useful. Yes, it will be hard to endure sometimes but the truth is, these are people who are likely already parents and may be able to give some great pointer that may save you some time, money or sanity. Try to be as open as you can so you can learn some really valuable lessons.
  • Don’t feel like you’re required to do everything, everyone tells you. Each of us live in our own way. We process things differently, react to things differently and find value in different areas of life. So feel free to take away information that you are going to find valuable and leave the rest.

Should I Kindly Walk Away?

I have found this is a hard thing to do – at least it was for me. Mainly because most of the people who were offering the advice we closer to me than others. So I think this is completely dependent on how you can be respectful, after all, you don’t want to make any enemies.

If you find the opportunity, I think its important to recognize their willingness to help out, thank them accordingly and tell them that while it may be helpful, its not something you see happening with your little one.

A Note For the Advice-Givers

If you ever find yourself on the giving end of this equation, there are also a couple things you should keep in mind. There are some best practices you can start to incorporate so you don’t offend anyone who is about to become a new parent.

  • Use your manners and ask first. Whether you have had a child or not, keep in mind, not everyone is always looking for advice. The most simple and powerful thing you can do is to simply ask if you can give a piece of advice before you give it.
  • If they don’t want you advice, don’t take it personally. Its important to remember that people have their own journeys and where they are in their journey may not align with where you were at that same time. I believe that parents should be able to decline the advice you are about to give. Your only job will be to take it personally – they are likely not ready.
  • Try your hardest to only give advice that they can actually find useful. If your baby had a bad diaper rash from a particular brand of diapers, it may not serve you best to list off your favorite diapering products. Just like you and I, each of us and our experiences are different. And that also rings true with our little ones. So be choosy about the advice you give. Ensure its something that would actually apply to those you are giving it to.

All in all, its important that we work to live as a community. And if I have learned anything through our adoption process up to this point its that we couldn’t do what we have done without those around us who have given their time, money and yes advice. We just need a little more mindfulness for where others are in their journey and how we can be interact with one another.

What was some of the best parenting advice you have ever received?

One of Anthology’s regular contributors, Steve has a passion for travel, baking and his french bulldog Aiden.  He is also our Editor in Chief.  Love what you read? Read more work from Steve.

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