Once you become a parent, you start getting advice from everyone-literally. Your mailman, the grocery store clerk, your friends, strangers, every one in between, and of course, your family will know just how to raise your kids and just what you are doing wrong. It can be difficult for some to handle unwanted advice from strangers or friends even, for others it’s bluntly simple, but for most handling advice from relatives can be a tricky situation. If you agree with said advice everything is fine and dandy, but what if you don’t? How do you handle it?
First, avoid trying to sidestep the issue. They are family, and they will be around to see you are ignoring their advice. In my experience, they will also bring it up again. The best approach is an honest reaction. If you disagree, simply explain why in a polite and tactful manner. You don’t need to be defensive in your behavior. It’s important to realize early on that there are multiple right ways to do most things in regards to parenting. Your way may be right, but so may the way being suggested to you. Try to focus on why it’s not right for you, rather then why it’s wrong.
Take what you want from it.
Next, remember to listen to what’s being said even if you don’t entirely agree. It’s both respectful and wise to listen to others’ opinions, because you maintain a friend and learn new things. Just because you listen to what’s said doesn’t mean you have to absorb it all into your methods; take what you want from it and leave the rest.
Know when to bow out.
There will be times when the advice being presented will be wrong. There will be times when those wrong things are something you are passionate about. If you present the facts as to why a certain nugget of information is entirely false and are met with less than civil debate, bow out if you value the relationship. You could for example say, “I see what you’re saying, but I think we’ll have to agree to disagree,” and then change the subject or exit the situation.
The three tips above should help you through most parental advisory sessions from family members that you don’t agree with, but if you run into a few that they don’t, remember that those that truly love you can disagree with you, or even fight with you, and still be your family.
How did you deal with parenting advice from family?
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