Monday, February 29, 2016

Unwanted Parenting Advice: The Proof is in the Pudding

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Tonight on Facebook a friend posts a random article on her profile, an article from a parenting blog called 
Scary MommyUnwanted Parenting Advice From Non-Parents And How I’d Like to Respond and it hit me!
I would have loved this post ten years ago when I had little ones. Those years ago I couldn't have spoken up for myself yet. But this week on Facebook, 

I commented: 
IF I had read this article years ago when my kids were younger and IF social media had been around back then I would have posted this article!
Over the years I have had SO many family members advise and be critical of nearly every single thing I did as a parent. It bothered me then, now I just think: LOL.

I'm referring to this article because WOW could I relate to every single thing that Clint Edwards wrote in the Scary Momma post and it cracked me up...but that post was all about parenting little ones and I have bigger ones. 
And I still hear it.

  • You baby her.
  • You need to teach them about the Lord.
  • You should send him to school.
  • She is obviously your favorite.
  • He's on his phone too much.
  • This proves you are not doing well homeschooling.
  • Well it worked with my kids.
  • Insert Racist Comment Here

As a young parent or as a beginning homeschooling parent it can be so nerve-racking to have people critiquing your performance. 
At a time when you can use support and love, these unsolicited opinions are nearly 100% unwelcome, aren't they? How someone can criticize that which they have never experienced simply confuses me as an adult. How any adult can think that disrespect and effrontery is helpful...well, it amazes me. 
It would not occur to me to suggest to someone else that I have a better understanding of their life than they do.

Unless you have this child, the anecdotal experiences of your child or your dog or your nephew or your neighbor doesn't count. *

At the end of the day you have to simply trust yourself and trust your well-considered decisions. People love to give advice and to criticize, at least my people do. Years ago I stopped listening to their criticism as well as to their compliments when I realized that their words just don't mean anything to me. Their opinions had ceased to hold value.

You have to figure out whose voice you will listen to and whose voice will not listen to. It took me years to figure this one out. 
If there was anything I could have changed about my time as a homeschooling mom it would be to completely let go of listening to input from most of the people in my world out there. 

As soon as I  figured out I could stick a finger in each ear and repeat LALALALALALALALA, I had peace. And, as I always remind myself, the proof is in the pudding.


* YES, I did have one very beloved person suggest to me that their experiences with their pet made them qualified to make parenting suggestions to me.


  1. I love this post and this article. I love the honesty. Truth be told, I offered the occasional unsolicited comment aka judgment way back in the day, before I was a parent. I thought I had a clue about what parents were dealing with and could be helpful. And I was so, so, regretfully, painfully wrong. I had no business telling anyone how to parent. Period. If only such judgements were limited to non-parents--how easy they'd be to just shrug off! I think it's much more demoralizing when such critiques come from other parents, especially ones with whom you are close. Those sting. Those can keep you up at night. Those can really damage one's mom-esteem. I've been there, too. I think that those who judge their fellow parents fall into a few categories:
    1) they're just a highly judgmental and/or know-it-all individual who thinks they are helpfully bestowing bits of golden wisdom upon you
    2) they're highly competitive about parenting
    3) they have severe insecurities and judging others makes them feel good
    No matter the reason, it sucks. No one has any business offering unsolicited parenting advice. Period. Parenting is the hardest job in the world precisely because children have no instruction manual or help-desk to consult. Children are not little, programmable performers that parents just need to "control". They are not cookie-cutter beings that will respond to everyone and everything in the same manner. They are each their own individual being, with their own personalities, preferences, strengths, needs, and wants. They benefit most from compassion and patience and understanding and flexibility when possible and negotiating and more patience and love and more understanding. Knowing this, we parents need to support and build each other up, rather than judge and comment and tear each other down. A supportive, compassionate look, gesture, or even a "Hey, we've experienced that, too; hang in there!" can make all the difference, especially in those really trying moments. You were and are that support to me, my friend. Three years ago, when I first discovered your blog, my mom-esteem was at an all-time low. Your blog, your words of support and understanding, your friendship helped me realize that such looks or comments or "advice" require and deserve little to no attention. Thank you for that. <3

    1. MamaBean, you had me nodding my head to everything until you got to the end...then I was all AAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!
      You know that means so much to me. <3

    2. I have a family member who is SURE that they know what I am doing wrong or should do differently because this person has dogs and those dogs "really mind".

      I'm like....yep.

    3. And, something that you alluded to but didn't say clearly, and I want to be CLEAR: unless you have THIS CHILD, you have no idea!!! ;)

  2. Parenting is the most toughest part of our life; especially in the beginning. We need to put our 100% dedication level and 100% determination to be a good parent. Basically we have to play a role model for our baby and make them learn about good habits, so that they are able to build a strong personality with good knowledge.
    Stay at home mother


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