Many heads will turn when your toddler decides to have a volcanic meltdown in the middle of the produce aisle. As you try to calm your squirming and crying child, you have just enough sanity to get those few groceries in your cart to the checkout line. If you're lucky enough to get your little one down to a quieter rumble, your main focus is to get out of the store as quickly as possible.
Then the customer behind you leans over and says, "Maybe you should consider bringing a favorite toy or book to keep your son happier in the store. He is probably just bored." After taking a deep breath, you politely hope to end this parenting therapy session with something like, "Oh, thank you. That does sound like a good idea."
Elizabeth Pantley, child care expert and author of Gentle Baby Care, reminds parents that it is better to avoid "creating a war over a well-meaning person's comments" about your parenting skills or decisions. Family and friends may also think that they are being "helpful" when offering their opinion about childcare and discipline.
At times, parents may feel that this unwanted advice is hitting them from every direction. Every parent has tried different ways to respectfully address other people's viewpoints about how to handle certain parenting situations.
It can be especially trying on a parent's patience when well-meaning family members keep pushing their opinion without listening to the parent's perspective. There are times when parents are truly grateful for helpful parenting advice and support. However, parents don't welcome advice that makes them feel inadequate as parents.
In this week's Moms Talk, let's discuss ways that we can handle unwanted parenting advice. Please share your experiences and any tried and true response that keeps those unwanted parental advisers at a friendly distance.
A special thanks to our Moms Council: Patrice Athanasidy, Laura Belfiore, Carolyn DePaolo, Laurie Gershgorn and Kelly Galimi.