If someone tells me I should…

I don’t recall a time a stranger offered us parenting advice.  (Sure there was the time a stranger picked up one of the triplets who decided to sit in the street in front of Target and stage a coup while I was already carrying the other two, and he was most likely thinking of some great advice, but instead of vocalizing it, he simply helped my by carrying a kid to the safety of a cart.  Thanks, kind stranger.)  We have a close circle of friends who I ask for advice on a regular basis, and I not afraid to ask or vent.  Parenting is not for wimps, nor is it easy, and at times, the answer is not obvious.   For me to ask you for advice, I sure need to respect the parenting job you have done and also trust your love for my family.

I do find myself biting my tongue often when witnessing parenting fails in public places.  I don’t say anything because I don’t know the whole picture.  There have been times (gasp!) that my kids have been the ultimate embarrassment in public and thank God, I don’t recall a stranger ever injecting his/her know-it-all answers into those situations.  I just may have thrown a few punches fit and yelled something I meantdidn’t mean.

Why shouldn’t you walk up to a stranger (or even someone you know) and give them parenting advice?

1.  “You don’t know my kids.  No one knows my kids better than I do, I’ve been raising each of them for over 11 years now.  I think I have a better read on them than you do.”

2.  “You have no idea the dynamics of my children.  Maybe Crazy Man is flipping out because he hasn’t eaten for too long and his blood sugars are going nuts.  Maybe someone is standing too close to Curly while wearing purple.  (What?  You didn’t know these things?  See #1.)”

3.  “Your priorities may not be the same as our family’s.  We place a high value on respect; in fact, it is one of our house rules.  We place less value on athletic jock-ness.”  (Yes, we have posted house rules. Don’t get hung up on that.)

4.  “We run a tight ship.  Don’t like it?  I don’t care.”

5.  “When I tell my kids they cant do something, don’t undermine me and let them do it anyway, or use your kids as a cute way to try to manipulate me.  It is really hard to take a stand on anything, especially when I am up against a team.  But I will and you will make me look like the *****.  Thanks for that.”

6.  “Yes, my kids still play.  I am thrilled that they aren’t being rushed into assumed “tweener” or “teen” roles.  The longer I can keep them playing dolls and sandbox, the happier I will be.  So quit trying to push them to grow up too quickly.  I love that my girls don’t care about Justin Bieber and my boys aren’t drooling idiots.”

7.  If, by chance, they catch me in my super stressed mode, or when I am pushing my kids too hard, I would say, “Thank-you” when they reminded me to chill, relax, and enjoy.

8.  “Really?  You are worried about my kids?  Bigger targets out there for ya, buddy!!”

9.  “Come spend a day with us and let me know what you think after 24 hours.”

10.  This last one is from Bill:  I wouldn’t say anything to them, but instead would come laughing to Deb.  And in reality this wouldn’t happen because we are perfect parents.

Mama's Losin' It

Prompt: List 10 things you wish you could say to strangers who share unsolicited advice about your parenting skills.


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachelle
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 11:28:30

    I hated being told that my daughter needed to be potty trained, she needed to stop using a bottle and needed to be off a pacifier in what seemed like only a few months. As a new mom, I felt like I was doing a bad job parenting because she hadn’t done all those things by the age of two years old. I got stressed out about it.

    I only give advice on things that worked for me if someone asks what I did to get her potty trained, stop using a bottle & pacifier, etc. I did give advice one time to someone that asked whether to allow thumb sucking or pacifier. I said either…they both soothe. They are both hard habits to break, but you know what? It keeps them happy for the time. 🙂

    I agree…only offer advice when asked for the opinion. Give specific examples & then emphasize that not every answer is a “one size fits all”.


  2. debpieper
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 12:23:20

    Exactly, my three, born at the same time, rasied the same way need three different approaches for issues. As for the thumb sucking…hard habit to break. And the ortho loves that our kids were taught that wonderful skill in the NICU. I think the NICU should pay $6000 X 3 to fix it. 🙂


    • Rachelle
      Jun 22, 2011 @ 18:56:43

      I took the pacifier away too soon & so she resorted to thumb sucking. So yeah, the ortho loved me too. But I can’t imagine times three! Ouch!


  3. Raine
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 09:51:59

    Wow, yeah, that about sums it up 🙂


  4. Optimistic Mom
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:07:05

    What a great post. I really like #4. When my son was a baby people (family) would get upset when I would take him away and nurse, place him down for nap, tummy time or anything. I have eased up now that he is 4 and can do basics himself. However, I never wanted input on when things should be done in my own home.

    Again, really enjoyed this post…..
    Stopping by via Mama Kat’s place. 🙂


  5. Bridgesburning Chris King
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:19:53

    Thanks for a great post!
    Just stopped by from Mama Kat to say hi!


  6. kristi
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 10:54:45

    yes! agree completely! we run a “tight” ship too. it’s a must with multiples 🙂

    happy writer’s workshop day!


  7. iseeyoulookingatme
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:49:17

    I love a tight ship. Keep it up! And as for the tween loves like Justin Bieber, AMAZING that they are not caught up in it!!


    • debpieper
      Jun 23, 2011 @ 13:17:47

      Yes, no Beiber Fever at our house!! 🙂 WHOOOHOOOO! They dont even think he is cute. I love that they don’t care yet!!


  8. Hillary
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 12:57:47

    I’m glad to hear that older kids still play! I totally played with Barbies til I was 13. I think I turned out ok. I think. This was fantastic–I have to say you are much more gracious than I 🙂


    • debpieper
      Jun 23, 2011 @ 13:18:38

      I know the day is coming soon when I will pack all the toys up, but hopefully, I can squeak by at least this next year!


  9. Tammy
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 13:20:19

    awesome! having 5 kids in varying stages……I have heard some doosies. But, I am the Mom, and they are my kids. ‘nough said 🙂 Good for…perfect parent 🙂


  10. Lex
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 14:31:18

    I love your take on the whole parenting thing & doing it your (our) way!! People really don’t know & respect…oh, respect is so lacking in today’s society. Number 6 is near & dear to my heart. I have a nearly 17 year old who still has his legos, still sets up “battlefields” for he & my younger two to battle on. While he’s also a computer gaming geek, he’s is home & not doing things so many other kids are.

    I am always preaching to my younger children to stay young & enjoy the little time that youth offers. It is so fleeting & most of us don’t realize it until it’s too late. Awesome post, just awesome!

    BTW – I’d never offer any advice unless it was asked for. Never have, never will because of the reason’s you’ve stated above. I want to know more about Curly & purple. Ha ha!


  11. debpieper
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 15:27:36

    Curly has an aversion to purple. We dont know why. She has sensory integration disorder and she has told us purple is prickly and feels horrible. The only great insight we have had is that her stuff was always pink and her sister’s was purple, so maybe it is a weird way of staking her own identity? We dont know.
    Our sons sound a lot alike – my 13 year old was just watching WWII stuff this morning. He loves to recreate the scenes. 🙂 play while you can, I tell them.
    Thanks for stopping in!


  12. Stacy Redmond
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 03:44:48

    I am a first time mum to an eleven week old daughter and while people have kept their advice to themselves unless asked I have noticed that people do the reach. You know what I mean, if I hold the baby wrong / move her too fast / struggle with a sleeve / she cries for more than a second… people do that thing where they move forward to make a grab before they remember that the child is not theirs! Then they look at you like it’s your fault that they nearly made a fool of themselves. 🙂 xx


  13. Sister Sister
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:52:53

    Great post :)…perfect reasons people should keep their advice to themselves.

    hi from MK’s


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