From the moment you get that wonderful positive on your pregnancy test you are bound to get words of advice from EVERYONE. Your mom, you hairdresser, the ladies at church, will have the perfect way to parent and they will be very excited to tell you. All the advice that comes your way can quickly become overwhelming and sometimes overbearing if that advice contradicts your beliefs, critiques your parenting skills, or is simply reiterated so many times you could scream. Instead of locking yourself in your house until your little one is off to college, you can take a few steps that may save your sanity from all the “good” advice.
Stay away from hot button issues: For those parenting decisions that are based on your core beliefs, you are highly unlikely to be swayed or to sway anyone else in their opinions. Breastfeeding vs Formula feeding, watching television, vaccinating, or other controversial subjects are likely to just start a debate that will have no end. If you are already set in your choice on the matter then avoid the topic altogether or simply say you have made a decision on the topic after much discussion with your spouse.
Listen for the positive: Instead of tuning out a regular advice giver, try to listen for the point that you agree with and focus on that in the conversation. It can be as simple as acknowledging how much you appreciate their concern. People just want to be listened to and most advice comes from a good place. So tell that person that you hear them and you love that they care about the well being of your children.
Some people really do want to learn something: It may seem rare, but sometimes people ask you questions about your parenting because they really do want to understand why you made that decision. They may be trying to inform themselves for their own parenting choices or they might want to get to know you and your family better. Don’t always go on the offensive when someone questions but explain your choices in the manner that made you come to your conclusions.
There are of course all sorts of people who will continue to try to convince you that what you are doing is wrong but you don’t have to give these opinions any weight. Stand strong in your beliefs and know that you are parenting to the best of your abilities. We are all learning as parents and a communication amongst each other is how we become the absolute best parents we can be. Enjoy parenthood and ignore the naysayers, life is too short to give negative advice any merit.