Know it all relatives- Help

Kate - posted on 10/21/2009 ( 23 moms have responded )

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How do you handle the know it all relative who think they know more than you do about how to raise your own children? I have made subtle hints but it isn't working. I know I have to say something but it is family and I don't want to hurt feelings as I know they mean well. I think :) Any suggestions?

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Jennifer - posted on 10/26/2009

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I know that family can be hard to get through to with subtle hints. My sister has done this to e for awhile. I finally had to just flat tell her, while I understood she wanted to help, she was crossing the line and these were MY children and I would do as I see fit.If the don;t like it, well, I am sorry, they will have to learn to deal with it. Bring up that they would not like it done to them.

Carol - posted on 10/26/2009

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Move cross county works like a charm. Or you just have to let it go in one ear and out the other. I did not see how family was causing problems till we moved and I had no help and had to work things out for my self.

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I made a deal with my MIL - I would listen to her advice and not complain about it. In turn, she wouldn't complain if I didn't take her advice.

BRENDA - posted on 10/23/2009

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Quoting Kate:

Know it all relatives- Help

How do you handle the know it all relative who think they know more than you do about how to raise your own children? I have made subtle hints but it isn't working. I know I have to say something but it is family and I don't want to hurt feelings as I know they mean well. I think :) Any suggestions?



Hi Kate ... you have my ear on this one. I am a 58 yr old gran of 10. I have 4 adult children and LOADS of relatives who thought I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Sometimes a subtle approach just doesn't work. You may have to wait for a time when you are very composed and can handle a face-to-face with the offending party. My conversation with my mother-in-law went something like this: "I am very happy that you love our kids and want to be involved in nurturing them, but you have to realize that they become confused and uncooperative when anyone interferes in the rules we have set down for them. If you have a suggestion, I would appreciate hearing it .. in private, away from the kids. I know you want only the best for our family, so could you please do this for us?" She was obviously flabbergasted, but how do you argue with that reasoning? Oh, by the way ... that was MY grandmother's wisdom .. not mine :-) I was the ripe old age of 26 when I had that conversation and I only had to have it once. Good Luck Kate

User - posted on 10/23/2009

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All you can do is let them know you will think about it, and remind yourself that they are trying to help, not take over. If it becomes a daily problem, then you need to let them know you appreciate all the advise but ultimately it is your choice on how to handle your kids. You can say it with a positve attitude and let them know you are not trying hurt anyone's feelings. Let them know you are the mom. Hey I live next door to the in-laws and if I can do it so can you! I even spoke to my own dad and told him that I can handle it and that I am an adult. I let him know that he did his job raising me so I can do a great job raising my own kids. You need to be honest and stop "dropping hints" with them. Best of luck

Tricia - posted on 10/23/2009

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It is amazing when you become a parent how everyone seem to have advise for you. To be honest I sometime hear myself given other parents advise and sometimes hate myself for it...lol

But most of the time it is well accepted. Hopefully just like now!

I think you should just listen take it on board what is said... but at the end of the day... your the parent your choice. Is they keep persisting ... just simple say... thanks for the advise but I AM going to blah blah...

Good Luck... and keep your cool.

Carolyn - posted on 10/23/2009

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Raising children is the hardest job in my book. You have to do what you think is right. Sometimes you have to say what needs to be said. We have a large family and each one of us had a different opinion on how to do it. I find that tough love is regarded here and they just might respect you in the end. Even though the first instinct reaction is harsh. Given time you may be surprised. Expressing your feelings is just as important as what they have to say. Do not be silent and trying to cover up what could turn out to be clearing the air to better family communications with more respect. You might not be the only one feeling that something or some one needs to speak up. No reason for you to be silent. Be strong and stand up for what you believe, just as they have done.

Carla - posted on 10/22/2009

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well I think almost everyone has got this problem...I would not worry about their feelings and tell them straight out how you feel.Just tell them that you appreciate their advice but you know what's best for your children.You will make the right decision.

Carmen - posted on 10/22/2009

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I feel for you. Mine is 17 years old now. After she was born everyone had "the best way" to handle various situations. Some people I thanked and told them that I appreciated their input and went about what I was already doing. For others I did have to say something to the effect of 'I'm glad that worked for you. This is working for me.' If your relatives just don't get it as a few of mine didn't, I merely said "Thanks for the advice, I'll keep it in mind." If it was something immediate, I just said "Thanks, I'm doing what I feel is best." If they pressed the issue, I just told them to back off. Don't let it fester inside you. This is YOUR child. Even those with the best intentions don't realize when they've gone too far.

Terri - posted on 10/22/2009

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my suggestion is to tell them politely that they have raised their children now it is your turn.You know that you'll make some mistakes then you'll really need their advice because you know they have already been through everything you are just starting and would like to be able to figure things out for yourself but need them to help you up when you fall! That you truley respect their opinion but need some space to do things yourself

MAYTE - posted on 10/22/2009

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WELL THIS WHAT I DO IF IT COMES FROM MY MOTHER IN LAW OR MY MOM I ACTUALLY LISTEN I SHURE KNOW THEY KNOW MORE THAN ME..BUT IF I DONT AGREE I LET THEM KNOW..

Jennifer - posted on 10/22/2009

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I was in the same position when my DD was still just a baby (she is now 12). My whole family was giving me unsolicited advice on how to do things, most of whom didn't even have children of their own. I let it go for a while, and then finally let them all have it during a family dinner (Christmas) when she was about 3 years old. It was not a good way to handle things, but I have an extremely large family and just couldn't take it anymore....and I haven't had to deal with any unsolicited advice since. I don't suggest you do that, but I do suggest that if things get out of hand, that you gently let them know that you will ask for advice if needed, but otherwise you can handle things yourself. Smiling and nodding can sometimes only get you so far. =)

Good luck!

Angela - posted on 10/22/2009

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In my case my MIL didn't even realize she was doing it until I told her. That may be many of others cases too. How often do we do something we don't even realize until some one says something. That's why for the in law that's always around & trying to take charge it's good to let them know what they are doing & that you need to learn how to be a mother on your own & that you'll ask if you really need their advice or help. Don't do it in a rude or disrespectful way, but as nicely as you can.

Nikki - posted on 10/22/2009

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If it's really out of hand, I would just tell them that you appreciate their feedback, but you think you're doing just fine your own way. Occasionally I even go out of my way to throw my mother-in-law a bone and ask her particular questions that I'm pretty sure I know her answer to already or ask her things when I am looking for advice just to clarify that if I need advice, I will ask for it. That has worked pretty well for me. My mother-in-law doesn't butt in very often as she knows that when I need help or advice I will ask her for it, and otherwise she pretty much leaves me alone as far as 'offering' free unsolicited advice...

Whitney - posted on 10/22/2009

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I have had this problem before. It is hard, because it puts in you in the "bad guy" position, but also if the relative is offering the "advice" in front of your children, it could send mix signals and undermine your authority. There are a couple of things that might work... If it is an In-Law (which in my case it was) try using the husband as a buffer. Have him make the suggestions or back you up when conflict happens.

Another thing is, you might just have to have a sit down with them. Especially if they are around a lot. Just explain that you appreciate thier help and advice, but how are you going to learn how to be a mom if you don't try on your own. I have found that if you take the blame upon you, they seem to back off. If the relatives that you see once in a great while, just smile and say Thank you and move on. Because before long they will be gone and you don't want any major disruptions with the kids or family.

Angela - posted on 10/22/2009

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I know where your coming from. I've been there & for five years I did the just give subtle hints method to this person. It does no good. I finally lost it (not that that was good) but it worked. They finally got the hint & quit & that was six years ago. Occassionally she tries to start back up, but I give her the eye & she normally stops. I highly recommend ( before you lose it like I did) to be completely honest & up front with this person. It's not easy & they may get real upset at first, but eventually they too will see that your right. And if they don't, at least you did your part. Your family needs to be first. I hope this helps at least a little. Hang in there & God Bless!

Helen - posted on 10/22/2009

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Though my first is now 18 I still remember my frustration in dealing with a know-it-all Mum-in-law. Nothing I did was right and it drove me insane. I went to my Mother and I believe the words she spoke to me relate to your posting. Mum said, listen to what she has to say, nod and smile wisely. Say, Ok, thank you, I'll definetly think about that. When I followed her advice ( obviously not saying those exact words every time ) I found that Mum-in-law was much easier to deal with. Up front in her face disagreeing with her ( or anyone else for that matter ) only caused confrontation and caused me to become a tad defensive when people offered their opinion. My mum said it simply boils down to everyone likes to think that they are being listened too. Everyone has an opinion, let them express it, don't take it personally. I love my Mum......

Althea - posted on 10/22/2009

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I had the same situtation and found that you say ok to their suggestions and if some of

what they say is right use it or just thank them and run your own household. But if they are fussing instead of giving suggestions. Then tell them you got it handled with a smile

no one's feelings get hurt and they may think about it before they say anything again.

but you have those that will just keep on saying things and you just say ok. and do it your way.

Linda - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Kate:

Know it all relatives- Help

How do you handle the know it all relative who think they know more than you do about how to raise your own children? I have made subtle hints but it isn't working. I know I have to say something but it is family and I don't want to hurt feelings as I know they mean well. I think :) Any suggestions?



You just have to weed out the advice you disagree with smile and thank them for their concern. It is  hard for them not to give advice but there are always resources to look up the advice you are given and get a second opinion. Unfortunately every family seems to have the EXPERT on everything in them.

Lydia - posted on 10/22/2009

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My personal favourite for most unwanted advice is smile, nod and ignore. you could always try "Thank you for the advice. I will think about it and ask you if I need any more." If someone is getting really pushy I usually just look at them and raise my eyebrows as a signal to tell them to back off

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I agree with Renee and Rose. Still, the fact that you are seeking advice here shows that you are open to helpful suggestions. You DO want these family folks who are offering you advice to be in your corner, so finding a respectful way to neutralize them is what you want to do. Put yourself in charge of this situation. This might work: instead of being in a defensive position yourself, take the offense and go to them for advice. You decide the topic, and make sure that they get the point that you think they are experts about it and that you really will appreciate their input. Try this a couple of times and they may get the idea that you value their experience and don't think you know it all (of course, you didn't think that before, and I agree that you are closest to the situation and you know your kids best). Everyone can win here...they feel needed and important, your kids get to be around family that loves them, and you win the prize for greatest diplomat in "momdom" (plus you really might learn something from them!). I'd love to hear if this works for you...from a mom of 5.

Rose - posted on 10/22/2009

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You really don't say what's being said.. So I 'll try to answer two ways. First something like: I don't think you should or shouldn't.... WHATEVER. IGNORE ! They are just giving free advice. Second something like : You shouldn't let him/her do that ( they are perceiving danger and YOU probably SHOULD take a second look at what your child is doing.) OR : You should let them do this or that. ( this person THINKS it's good advice and you can ignore that too.

As far as family goes, Mother-in-law / Father-in-law , Grandparents-in-law listen and judge if it applies to your needs/situation . They have probably seen it all. ANYBODY else ? IGNORE ! It's not worth the DRAMA to make a big uproar . Holidays are stressful enough without adding to them. Let it wash over you like "water off a ducks back" take a few DEEP breaths ,count to WHATEVER to calm down , say thank you for the advice I'll take it under advisement and walk away.

Renee - posted on 10/22/2009

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If it is only suggestions - just agree or nod..... they don't need to know that it is going in one ear and out the other.....

If they are attempting to override something u don't or do want happening - u need to say calmly that this is your decision and thank them for their input...

Good luck..... Been there - still doing that after nine years..... ongoing battle! Like they say on Madagaster - 'Smile and wave boys.... smile and wave' lol

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