When you become a parent for the first time, in among the joy and excitement of this amazing new chapter in your life comes advice from others who’ve already been there, done it and got the t-shirt. This advice can come in two forms: very welcome and most definitely unwanted.
You’ll turn to friends and family often through parenthood, after all, some of the best advice comes from people who’ve tried and tested methods and found the one that works best. Other times, you’ll be offered advice when you’ve not asked for it. This is when it can become tricky. So how do you deal with it?
This is a good tactic to avoid awkward situations but can be a little difficult at times when hormones, tiredness, labour and general parental stress is taking its toll on you. It may also wear a bit thin after the hundredth time of doing it. But it’s a good place to start. Smile and listen. Take away from it anything that could be useful, then let go of any information that isn’t important to you. Hold your breath and bite your lip if it helps!
Thanks, but no thanks
If someone’s being particularly pushy with their advice, explain to them that you’ve come up with a system that’s working for you and you’re going to stick to it for as long as it works. Thank them for offering their knowledge and tell them you’ll remember it for the future, should it be needed.
Sometimes people don’t know when to back down, and this can be quite upsetting and even lead you to question your skills as a parent. Other times it can be just downright annoying. Sometimes it takes a very firm standing for people to realise you’re ok doing it your way. Tell them that while you appreciate they’re trying to help, you’re the parent and you’re perfectly capable of doing the right thing for your baby.
Take a step back
Depending on the person delivering the advice, you may find your last resort is to reduce your communication with that person (especially in the early days when you’re overwhelmed by so many other things). This doesn’t mean you have to fall out with people, just keep a little distance while you adjust and don’t get involved in anything that’s going to add stress or worry to your life.
At the end of the day, there will always be someone with an opinion on the way other people bring up their baby. Just stay focused and enjoy the ride – you’re the only one who knows what’s right for you and your baby.