It's Friday the 29th of April and unless you have been living under a rock, it's the Royal Wedding Day! Am I really going to blog about this you're asking? No, but I am curious as to how many of you got up at 3am to watch? I thought I might sneak in since my baby always seems to nurse around 3-4am anyway. But not so much. At 3:30am after I nursed her, I checked to make sure my Tivo was working and went right back to bed!
But I got teary eyed watching the wedding as I woke up. I think it's because they actually like each other and is a true Cinderella kind of story! And so nice to see a couple get to know each other first and not rush to the altar. A great representation of our current culture today and couples waiting to get married until they are a little older.
As I was speaking to a friend of mine about the wedding today, another topic came up which is what I was going to originally.
And that topic is, "How do you handle unwanted child rearing advice from others?"
I see article after article about this in my parenting magazines, have heard from many friends and mothers about their encounters and have heard from clients about these sticky situations. I have blogged about this topic before but this time it happened to my friend and to me recently!
Unwanted advice could be from relatives which can always be tricky. The well meaning Mother-in-law or your great Aunt. How do you handle that? Hmmm...
Or your friend that has had 5 kids or just 1 child seems to be the know-it-all when it comes to child rearing. I always thought just because you may have 20 kids doesn't mean you are an expert. I think it takes educating yourself and taking parenting classes (hey, you have to take a drivers ed class to drive a car, right?) and reading books to also having a warm motherly caring attitude towards raising a child.
Or it could be unwanted advice from a stranger. This is the situation that happened to me for the first time at Target the other day. I know that there will be many others in the future as people have warned me. It is a live and learn situation for sure.
So, I had my baby in her infant car seat in the shopping cart, which I don't do much anymore but I only had 1 item to get and hated to get her in and out of a car seat and cart. Well, as I was ordering my stamps at the stamp machine (holding onto my cart at the same time) an elderly woman came up and said: "Oh I was just looking at your baby" and I thought to myself, oh how sweet she is complimenting her, but no. Instead, she said, "why don't you move your cart to face the other direction so she is facing.." and I cut her off right there. I was in such shock, I had never had anyone tell me how to drive a grocery cart before. It was criticism of my driving abilities and my parenting and my defenses went up.
Now, I am no saint and yes I am a counselor and yes I make mistakes. This is why I started the blog in the first place to laugh at all of the funny mistakes that a child therapist will make as a parent :)
But I was thinking, I am out of the way, no one is even near me, and I am holding onto my cart, what more is she wanting here? I would never tell someone where to put their cart or how to drive it. If someone is in my way as I make it down an aisle, I always say excuse me, every time, never 'move it!' Plus was she thinking I was neglecting my baby by having her face out and not towards me??
So I cut her off and said something not so nice. I told her to basically not tell me what to do. And she walked off. Yeah, me, a nice and warm child counselor told someone to leave me alone. Ha! So I learned next time to just say "thanks for the advice" and walk away or turn away. But what if she kept insisting and pushing? Well, the nice thing to do would be to say, "again, thanks for your advice, I will take it into consideration" and probably just move away and push my cart somewhere else or leave.
I think the same goes for relatives and friends. Just telling them, "thanks for the advice" and leaving it at that. Not to go into why you are not doing it the way they want or what your belief is as that is fuel for an arguement. Now, if it is something a relative is doing that you want them to stop, such as feeding your child candy all the time, you can quickly explain that, "I appreciate you giving them candy, but in our house we are choosing to raise them on non-sugar sweets" and then explain if and when you would give them candy.
How about you guys, any relatives, friends or strangers giving you unwanted advice and how do you handle it??