Second-hand parenting advice will come at you like a ton of bricks once you take on the 'parenting' role. Yes, from friends, family, and especially strangers; people from all around will give you advice on how to raise your child and/or children.
Despite what we've been conditioned to do (likely take advice from the wise), we often, as parents, know what's best for our own children. Of course, it's important to keep an open mind when people inform you what they had done with their children 20 years prior to the Internet and organic food options; however, there are some ways that will help you politely decline anyone who's being just a little too pushy. This may include the self-confidence and shameless nature you automatically take on when you have children.
So, read ahead as we list 10 ways to politely decline second-hand parenting advice because you'll surely receive it in your parenting journey. Just remember: you're not responsible for how others react. And, if they believe you're being sarcastic, remind them with, eye good contact, how serious you really are. Welcome to parenthood.
10 SMILE AND NOD
Ah, the old smile and nod trick. Often, people will not take offense to this. Because, how could they? You're simply agreeing with their advice, or so they believe. Whatever they think is not your responsibility.
Your only responsibility to live a happy, rewarding life where you are in the right place (mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually) to raise your child at your own pace with your own techniques. You know them best. So, you're welcome to zone out the other's opinions as you politely nod and smile.
9 RESPOND WITH, 'OH, I'VE HEARD OF THAT'
A classic response. This one will not only allow the other individual to feel like they've been heard, but it will also give them some validation, considering this advice is likely some that they've experienced first hand. We must remember, as parents, that other's intentions are more than often spoken with good intention. No one wants you to fail as a parent; however, many parents believe to know what's best for your own. So, respond with "I've heard of that one," along with other relatively similar responses and you've got the job done. Next.
8 EXPLAIN WHY YOU'D RATHER NOT
You are more than welcome to explain why you rather not take their advice. Perhaps you're not eating red meat because of religious issues, or maybe you rather put your kid in ballet despite his gender identity — whatever your choice as a parent is yours and yours alone.
Of course, with the consideration of your child's wellbeing. But, you're welcome to keep these answer short to, "Well, that sounds like it worked well for your child. It may just not be the right choice for mine/ours." It's perfectly okay and polite to respond with a short or long answer. Even if it's "no thanks." That too is polite, in our books at least.
7 SAY, 'OH, I'LL TAKE THAT INTO CONSIDERATION!'
Again with the validation. Let's keep it short. Whether you want to hear more about their experience with parenthood, or a technique they saw on the internet, you're welcome to let the other know that you will, indeed, take what they've said into consideration. How polite! Not only are you potentially going to implement their techniques, but you've also actually listened to their tale. Whether you will use this advice or not, you're keeping an open mind while not giving into your value and morals just to please another individual outside of your immediate family's circle. Well done.
6 INFORM THEM HOW, INDEED, TIMES HAVE CHANGED
Oh, the beauty of how the elderly often like to give us advice or make remarks like, "My mother would never allow me to do that at their age." Well, their mother likely did not live in the day and age where our kids have access to information at their finger tips. Where the teacher to child ratio in most schools were so large, many parents decide to home-school their children. Where cell phones are given to 10-year-olds for safety precautions, not because we "spoil" them.
It's okay and absolutely polite to be as honest as you'd like. Lying is rude. So, it's completely acceptable to inform them that times have indeed changed and your parenting techniques must adjust for them to grow into well-behaving, lovely contributors to their future society.
5 REMIND THEM HOW YOUR KIDS ARE NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY
It's absolutely great when you have a support system and people you truly value around to answer questions you may have along your parenting journey. But, when you have unsolicited advice coming at you from all directions, that not only can be overwhelming but uncalled for. So, remind them whose children they are. Who gets to take them home after a long day and who molds them into the beautiful, loving, wonderful people they're surely becoming. Because, my goodness. You're lucky that they're your responsibility, not theirs.
4 SMILE. PRETEND TO POINT TO A FRIEND BEHIND THE INDIVIDUAL. THEN WALK AWAY.
Hey, it's okay to partake in a little white lie once in a while. I mean, that person behind Jane could have totally been your second cousin removed! And, if all else fails, you may need a quick and easy escape from the dreaded conversation that you're in the midst of. Have a friend concerned about your child's weight, offering to put together a meal plan to fatten them up? Oh, we think you see your best friend in the distance!
Does your mom think you've gained weight and has this perfect exercise involving your newborn in leu of weights? Dad may be calling from the kitchen. Just. Leave. The. Toxic. Conversation. Being nice to yourself is the most polite thing you can do in this life. It's okay to just...walk away.
3 LAUGH AND SAY, 'THAT WOULD NEVER WORK WITH *INSERT NAME HERE*!'
Hey, you're being honest. And despite the previous advice, you want to be as honest as you can. Not only for yourself, but for your children. Show them your confidence, your will and your strength by being the authentic individual you wish they too will become. If there is some ludicrous advice that you are given, you can laugh. You can cry. You can react any which way you can, and say anything you feel is right at that moment, including: "That would never work with my child!"
Not only will this remind the individual that, hey, the parent must know their child best, it will also give you power in knowing you have the ability to stand up for yourself as a parent. Because heck, you're a great parent and how you choose to parent your child is, in fact, good enough.
2 IGNORE THEIR CALLS
Again, by catering to your own needs, even if it's avoiding a toxic situation you know that's around the corner, it's ok to scan your calls. Whether it's from your own parent, a doctor or a friend, if you know that an awkward conversation is just seconds away, we know you have plenty other important things to do rather than take that call or answer that text. You're a parent, don't forget. They'll understand. And you'll be happy you did.
1 THANK THEM
It can be as simple as a "thank you." Thanking the individual for advice allows them to know that what they've contributed was considered, and whether the information or techniques are implemented is strictly up to the parent.
You do not have to go into detail about anything, bring up reasons why you chose another route or pull the "I've got something better to do right now," excuse. You can simply thank them for your advice and continue on your way. Because don't forget, you're in control of your life. No one else.