“Words are so cheap, they have been declared free,” author unknown.
Strategies for Dealing With Unsolicited Parenting Advice
From my first pregnancy to my one with my tenth child, I have received unsolicited advice from every well-meaning soul who crossed my path. Whether they had a houseful or would not dream of having one, it was their moral obligation to tell me how to raise my child.
So what do you do when these do-gooders trap you in the grocery line? Here are my favorite comebacks and best advice:
Feign complete ignorance.
Act as though you have no knowledge of children, conception, birth or child rearing and nod as though you were hanging on every word. You will be amazed. They will prove the adage: “Better to be considered a fool, than open your mouth and prove it.”
“You know, my psychiatrist told me that I may not be up to raising children, but I think with the proper drug cocktail everything will turn out peachy.” Enjoy watching the blood drain from their faces.
“Just yesterday, my birthing coach told me the same thing!” Once it is not news, they will pass on volunteering more advice to you.
Be thoroughly shocked.
Ask for credentials.
“May I see your qualifications for dispensing advice? Give me one of your cards. What is your fee? I would like to refer some of my more ignorant friends to you.” The stammering after the first question is really funny.
Ask when their show
is going into reruns.
“I was watching your show about 6 months before I got pregnant. Why did they cancel it?” Then, the subject changes to which celebrity they think looks most like them.
Tell them they are right. (?!)
“That is what my social worker has been telling me about the three of my kids that she has.” Stunned silence is very reassuring.
“I am not supposed to talk to strangers.” Ask the cashier where the nearest police station is since you believe you have narrowly escaped being kidnapped.
You get what you pay for.
Most of all, take it for what it is worth…nothing. One do-gooder in a thousand will tell you something you either don’t already know or won’t learn on your own. Most of the advice is given with the admirable intention of saving you some heartache, rather than in condescension.
Laughter is the best medicine and the cure for the do-gooder with the unsolicited parenting advice. Remember that when you walk away, you have a fabulous story to share a Mom’s Day Out!
(c) Red Dwyer 2011
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