It can be frustrating and discouraging (or downright infuriating) when you try to share beautiful stories with your family or friends and receive terrible, unwanted advice. Now is the time to arm yourselves with some tools to handle unsolicited parenting advice, comments and general negativity from people.
Arm yourself with knowledge.
This is your child. You are the one making the decisions about their everyday life for a long many years. Read good parenting books. Good child psychology books. Articles in line with respecting your tiny people for what they are: human. Knowledge is power, right? (A few starting places for the good books I speak of are Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn, Siblings Without Rivalry, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham, Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon, Parenting from the Inside Out and No Drama Discipline by Dr. Daniel Siegel, and It’s Ok Not to Share by Heather Shumaker)
Arm yourself with confidence.
Believe in your choices. When you believe in your choices, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks on the subject.
Arm yourself with some key phrases.
“Thank you for your suggestions.” Easy enough. It’s polite.
If it is someone harping on your choices, whether it be cosleeping, breastfeeding your 3 year old at the dinner table, or letting your son wear his favorite tiara, you can kindly end every comment about it with a change of subject. “Lovely weather we are having!”
If someone is adamant. Be firm. “My parenting choices are not up for discussion.” If they don’t respect that, leave. Don’t even enter an argument about your choices. It’s not worth it. If they are open to learning and growing, I may share my research.
Be mindful of who you confide in, in regards to frustrations.
“I am so tired from having the baby’s knee in my face all night,” isn’t something to share with a family member that is vocally against bed sharing, unless you are feeling up to dealing with the comments.
If your child witnesses some unkind or unhelpful comments, you can say “grandmas sure do say silly/crazy/odd things!” Then venture away from them until you can discuss with that person that you would prefer that they don’t speak like that in front of your child.
All in all, enjoy your family time. Family being the people that you choose to surround yourself with. Life is too short to entertain those that are toxic to your life. Believe in your choices. Let it be known that you won’t be arguing those choices. And give a few extra hugs to those that support you unconditionally!