Brooke - posted on 05/31/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )
We all hate them. They want to tell us what to do with our kids, even when we have NOT asked for advise. They question our choices, our rules, and our rights as parents. They are our friends, family, preschool teachers, even random passing strangers. We know they mean well, or do we? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, could I be a know it all?
Know that I am not saying you are a bad person. Most people who give parenting advice mean the best, and everyone needs feedback. Lord knows that we aren't perfect and we all wonder if we are doing the right thing. These little monsters don't come with a manual, and lord knows all the parenting books disagree with one another. Here on Circle Of Moms, we have a place to seek advice and feedback. This should be a safe place, free of judgment and cruelty.
Here are some simple rules to follow however when doling out parenting advice, and it can help you remember to be a good friend.
1) Never say, "Oh good lord! NEVER do (insert thing you don't agree with here)"
Try to remember how it feels when people say that to you. It makes a parent feel about two inches tall! Our goal is to support and help our fellow parents. The last thing we should be doing is demoralizing them.
Instead, try to empathize. Say, "I can understand the impulse to (insert thing you don't agree with here), but it may be more helpful to (insert helpful suggestion here)"
2) Don't say, "My child would NEVER (insert unwanted behavior here)"
Ok, fine your kid doesn't do that one thing. I bet your kid does other things that their child wouldn't. Don't be sanctimonious about it. You just look nasty and unhelpful. plus, you are inviting fate, or karma, to kick you in the tush.
Instead, say, "Well, I haven't yet had to deal with (insert unwanted behavior here) but it might help if (insert helpful suggestion here)"
3) Don't say, "how could you!"
Get over yourself. None of us are perfect. So they made a mistake, in your opinion. We all have different parenting styles, we all have different cultures, influences, and experiences. In my opinion, how could you be so cruel to a parent who is looking for help and clearly cares about their kid. If they were a bad parent who didn't care then they wouldn't be here, asking for advise and subjected to the judgment of others.
Sometimes it is better to type nothing at all if you can't be non-judgmental. If you can tone it down, and can offer an alternative that might help go for it. Keep the condemnation to yourself.
These are simple things, if you have any to add please do!
For the christian moms out there,
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. - 1 Peter 4:15"