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When People Judge Your Parenting Style

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Updated September 26, 2011

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Ask Yourself: Are They Offering Solicited or Unsolicited Advice?
unsolicited advice

Unsolicited advice, though sometimes helpful, may be unwelcome.

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Before you prickle at some comment that seems to cut you to the quick, first pause and ask yourself this important question. Did I open this door by actually asking for the person's opinion? Or is this truly unsolicited advice? If it is the former, while her insights might still sting you, accept the fact that you invited the person to share her thoughts with you.

Respond: Clearly Vocalize What Kind of Support You Need

I've been right there myself, having my feelings singed a time or two (or three or four), when I asked a person advice, and I didn't like what I heard. Yes, perhaps the person could have delivered her opinion with a little more sugar-coating, but I shouldn't blame the person for having an opinion when I asked them for it.

If you find yourself in that same boat, fuming over advice that you technically asked for, consider these points.

  1. Clarify what you need from the person. For example: If you have decided to let your baby cry it out to sleep at night, instead of asking a friend what she thinks, ask specifically for her support. You might say, "I've decided to do this. I know you may not agree, but what I need from you is ___________ (just to listen, your encouragement, no judgement, etc)."
  2. Make sure if you ask for advice you are ready to hear it. When you ask for advice, in a way it exposes a certain amount of vulnerability on your part. Make sure your heart and mind are in a place that can accept that the person may tell you something that you didn't exactly want to hear.
  3. Seek out people who are educated on the topic and can effectively share their wisdom. You will find that different family and friends are great resources for different topics. For example: If you are suffering from low milk supply, turn to a friend who is a member of the La Leche League rather than the friend who did not breastfeed.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Baby's First Year
  4. Parenting Methods
  5. Unsolicited Advice - Responding to Unwelcome Parenting Criticism

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