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WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY WHEN YOU'RE GIVEN PARENTING ADVICE?

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by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss

Related: Stuff Every Mom Should Know by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss, comebacks for unsolicited parenting advice, people who want to tell you how to raise your child,


You're out running errands or having an adventure with your child and someone approaches you with unsolicited parenting advice—what should you say to them? Authors Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss have a few suggestions, which we've excerpted from their book "Stuff Every Mom Should Know."
 

Mother and daughter on swingsSometimes a well-meaning stranger cannot help but to tell you that your little one should be wearing a hat, not sucking on your keys, or drinking prune juice, etc., etc. Other times, advice that you just don’t need comes from someone you love, like your mother or best friend. In either case, it’s tough to acknowledge the good intentions of the intruder while simultaneously rejecting the suggestion altogether.

Of course, you can always respond with, “That’s interesting; maybe I’ll try it out.” But, frankly, if there’s no way in Hades you’re going to try the proposed method, then find a way to comment on the idea without involving yourself.

"Really? That sounds cool.”

“I’m glad that’s working for you.”

“I’ve never thought about it that way.”

Most of this unsolicited advice is not meant to insult you; it’s usually just other people’s way of dusting off their own experiences and passing it off as wisdom.

When it comes to true interference, however, you may be forced to assert yourself as the authority. Another parent at the playground removing your child from a scuffle? Your brother threatening a time-out for your preschooler? Your mother-in-law telling your child she must eat something? Simply say, “Hey, I’ve got it.” And then handle it.

This is a clear and powerful way to redirect the situation so that you are the one in charge while letting the interfering person know that, well, you are the one in charge.

 


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