If you are on the constant receiving end of unwanted advice, you will surely be no stranger to those seven words.
As a new parent, you automatically become a major target for advice bombs. Everyone, and I mean everyone, relatives, friends, other parents, non-parents, and even strangers are full to bursting with unsolicited advice. Of course, most is given with the best of intentions and often out of love and concern, but this doesn't make it useful or relevant to you. How do you deal with this?
Some would say "Take it with a grain of salt! Listen, forget it and move on". This is all good and well if you have the patience and a lack of interest but what if the advice is completely out of kilter with your ethos on parenting and simply does not fit at all into the 21st century?
"Taking it with a grain of salt" does not encourage a conversation. On such a wide, varied and personal subject, information should be shared and debated freely, especially considering the frequency and weight of new research paired with the constant flux of parenting trends. Parenting cannot and should not be reduced down to the one size fits all model that tries to place all children in the same box. We know that every child is special and parenting them needs to be adjusted for their unique personalities. This concept can be a bit tough for others to grasp but don't let it slide, put your foot down and put forward your thoughts.
This is easier said than done. Turning unwanted advice into a discussion can be tricky if you are anything like me. It has taken many years for me to feel comfortable sticking up for my point of view and believing in my voice particularly for ideas that go against the grain, but it can be done and it should be done for the health of all of our families! Your voice counts. Sometimes this turns into a productive sharing of the pros and cons of ideas and sometimes it reveals the advice to be a hollow shell of something someone heard or tried without basis. Either way it's a win-win for sharing and challenging ideas and by doing so, you are unlikely to remain a dumping ground for advice. Feel it out and if your friends and family are not receptive act accordingly, otherwise they may start dropping off your radar very quickly.
No one wants anything less than a healthy, fully functioning family. What this means and how you get there is as varied as they come. What works for one may not work for another. Our environment and the world we live in is a stark contrast to the one our parents raised us in. The choices and decisions we make are influenced and informed by everything around us. Let's stay open to alternate ideas, stay relevant and share our successes and failures so that together we can forge a better family from our collective knowledge.
So I say stand up for what you believe in, voice YOUR opinion, live how YOU wish to live, parent how YOU wish to parent, BUT don't live in a vacuum of ideas. And if you are a frequent advice giver who needs to share, broach it in a way that's not so hard to swallow.
Do you find it difficult receiving unwanted advice? Are you an avid advice giver?