It’s midsummer and as the sun starts to peak out from the clouds; you suddenly realize you forgot your baby’s hat. Trying out your new baby wrap for a morning stroll seemed like a wonderful idea until the sun appeared. To appease your soaring guilt, you pick up the pace and head for home. Then it happens, someone stops to give you some unsolicited parenting advice!
It isn’t the first time you’ve tackled it. During your pregnancy, many well-meaning parents shared tips on sleeping, eating and comforting your baby. Some even claimed to be experts on the baby’s gender based strictly on the way you carried during your pregnancy.
But now that your baby is here, you have your own ideas about parenting, and it can be tricky dealing with heaps of unwanted advice. When the advice comes from family and friends, knowing how to respond without offending them is an art. As for strangers, it can be quite uncomfortable and intrusive.
Put a positive spin on parenting advice
To start, remember that most advice is well intended, people generally care, and may just want to connect with you. The choice is yours: you can acknowledge their words and move on or open up the conversation. Being polite will always work in your favour, sometimes easier said than done!
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Use humour: Lighten up the situation and share a laugh.
- Acknowledge and smile: “Thanks, we will think about that (or not).”
- Acknowledge, smile and open up for dialogue: “Thanks for reaching out. So much has changed over the years, can you believe the latest research is actually saying…”
My hope for new parents is that “veteran” parents will pause and remember the following before they offer advice:
- Each child is different. What works for one, may not work for another.
- Parenting is learning on the go and nobody is born an expert.
- Confidence in parenting comes with experience, time and education.
- Support and encouragement mean the most to a new parent.
Believe in yourself and remember you’re doing a great job…that’s why you are taking the time to read this blog today!
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.