Do you think that people/couples that dont have kids should try to offer parenting advice? How do I handle it?

Brea - posted on 09/15/2011 ( 40 moms have responded )

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My brother in law and his wife do not have kids. They have a niece and nephew which they keep every other weekend. No kids of their own and only around kids when at our house, which is not very often, or every other weekend. When my 3 yr. old says or does something that they think is not appropriate, they tell him its not nice, or "we dont do that" or the famous "when I was a kid my mom would have smacked my butt". Should I really care too much about their opinion since they dont have kids and have no idea what its really like to be a parent? I have 3 kids, and it seems like everytime they are around, they feel its necessary to share their opinion. What can I do or say?

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Mary Renee - posted on 09/15/2011

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When people do this to me (including my sister who doesn't have kids) I just laugh and laugh and laugh (literally... out loud... for at least several seconds for good measure) sometimes I throw in a knee slap and then I just sigh and say "Ahhh haha, I can't WAIT till you have kids! Then you can teach THEM that."

Bonnie - posted on 09/15/2011

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I would say no. I haven't had to go through this, but really, what could they know if they haven't experienced any of it. I would probably just say, "We think it's best if we as his parents are the only ones to discipline him and tell him right from wrong." Times are different nowadays anyways. There isn't even close to as much smacking going on. Really it is up to you both as his parents as to what you want to do to teach him right from wrong.

[deleted account]

Honestly, i will take any assistance where I an get it. I am far from perfect, and my kids drive me to exasperation. As long as they aren't teaching my kids to blow stuff up (or other delinquent activities), I really don't care. PLEASE, give me a break and get after my kid because I am too busy getting after the other one! That or I am so tired of correcting the same action over and over again, I have kinda given up, so if someone else isn't at the end of their rope... correct away! :)

Tinker1987 - posted on 09/16/2011

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it depends really,before i had a kid,this girl was complaining that she couldnt get her kid to sleep in her own bed,so i said this is why my kid will be in a crib from day one.im not for kids being in the parents bed.and she argued your not a mother so you dont know, and well im a mother now and i stand by my belief.sometimes advice is just plain ole advice. there is alot of parents out there that are horrible.like when i was working this brat tried to pull the fire alarm and the mother looked laughed and ignored if that were me id be in deep trouble and be made to apologise to the manager of the store... but if your brother is upsetting you,you could kindly tell him to keep it to himself if the advice.isnt necessary!

Sarah - posted on 09/16/2011

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I get the biggest laugh when people try to tell me how to raise my kids especially when they dont have kids! I have friends that do not have kids and they do it all the time. I ask them if they would do it that way when they have kids and most of them say yes and then I proceed to tell them to let me know how that goes and then go right back to what I was doing with my chidren in the first place. Eeryone has many different ways to teach and raise kids. Not every child learns the same way so if what you are doing is getting through to your child then that is all that matters. Let them raise their kids how they see fit and you do yours your way!

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Kelsey - posted on 02/13/2014

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When people who dont have kids are giving advice, they aren't trying to offend you. They could be trying to help you. Instead of sitting quiet and feeling awkward during certain situations it might be easier for them to say something, no matter what it is. Or if a child said something that is obviously not appropriate and you might be in the kitchen or something, maybe they feel they should remind the child that what they said shouldn't be said or should be said in a different way.

As for me, I am not a mother BUT I do have tons of experience working with babies/ kids of all ages, being a babysitter, a nanny, being a second mom to my youngest sibling who is 10 yrs younger. I would say I know a thing or two about it. I understand most parents dont like getting advice from people who aren't parents because they truly believe they have no clue what they're talking about. However, you dont have to squeeze a kid from your vag in order to read a book about parenting or childhood development. There are some common sense things that people without kids know. Don't brush off what they have to say right away because they could have a valid point. AND if you truly are someone who gets seriously offended when being given advice, look at it this way......You dont have to TAKE their/our advice BUT you should at least listen and maybe acknowledge what they have to say. ESPECIALLY if they aren't trying to be rude about it.

Levi - posted on 09/14/2012

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I don't know, I've given advice though I have no children -- mostly because I was a difficult child growing up, so I try to give a parent insight on how to deal with a child whose favorite word is "NO!" However, I generally present the info as, "This is what worked with me... "



For example, as a picky eater, I refused to eat cooked spinach because the stuff is nasty to me. But if it's mixed with greens, which has much too bland a taste, and add a bit of vinegar, it's fine, and I'll eat it. Even as a little kid, that is the only way my mother could get me to eat the stuff. Also, I wouldn't eat okra. And I actually preferred the taste of raw vegetables over cooked. I've had childed friends try that on their picky eaters, and it worked.



What I'm saying is, don't automatically dismiss information from a person without children: We might actually be helpful to you. Just consider the information for a little bit -- sometimes we DO know what we're talking about.



I do, though, get why it might be annoying to get someone telling you how to when they don't have -- how the info is given does make a difference.

Pam - posted on 10/31/2011

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as long as they are not being completely ignorant and blaming you for your child's developmental tics or putting them down. They are most likely just trying to help out while you are busy and if its not insulting to you, it should be okay. Some people though do have more opinion than necessary, especially if they get to the point that they are openly disagreeing with your mode of discipline or lack there of when its not completely warranted. For example, if your child isn't listening to you, or swearing and they help you by saying listen to your mom or dont swear, than they are consciously trying to help and its harmless, if they are saying stuff like "you should really try to nip this in the bud" while you have already tried everything, then explain it to them, they just dont understand. If they step out of line by saying "poor child" after you put them in time out or correct their behavior after doing something inappropriate you have all rights to say, "okay childless, I'll take your advice once you have lived 24/7 with one yourself" I do agree that alot of people are so called "Better parents before they become one" in their own minds. Sometimes childless people only get to see a mothers bad moment and tend to judge on that, all the while you have had great moments all day up until that last hair pulling second lol~

Jennifer - posted on 10/25/2011

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By your description of the situation it doesn't really look like they are sharing their opinion it just sounds like they are disciplining them the best way they know how. However I do understand your concern. My step-mom constantly corrects my daughter on how to say certain words correctly and it's very frustrating. My mom also buts in ALL the time when I'm trying to discipline her and it drives me nuts!

Your brother-in-law and his wife don't have kids therefore they probably don't understand how your feeling unless you tell them. Just say hey these are my kids and I'll handle the situation. Good Luck!

Nicole - posted on 10/25/2011

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If one of my kids is doing something wrong & I don't see it, I definately would appreciate one of my relatives or friends to say something to either me or to my son to let him know what he was doing is wrong. But on the other hand, I don't listen to anyone's advice besides my Mom's. My Mom did a great job at raising me, so any advice she can give me I greatly appreciate it. Plus my Mom sees my kids everyday! Everyone else, I just sort of smile and ignore what they said. No one knows your kid as good as you!

Nikki - posted on 10/25/2011

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One day it will be their turn and you can just sit back and laugh :) my brother and his wife are the same except it was less parenting advice and more concern for kids touching their things.....they also said their baby was gonna be on a their schedule from birth unlike my kids who get up in the night. Well the other day they were an hour late for a family dinner and my brother said "sorry, were on the baby's schedule" I laughed. I honestly can't wait till the baby is crawling on the ground touching things, putting everything in the mouth and covered in dog hair, And the first time their baby breaks something it will be a day for celebrating. My kid broke a stupid coaster and I still hear about it.

Kristen - posted on 10/24/2011

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The quick answer is no, if you dont have kids, keep your mouth shut! We know a number of childless couples, a few who are the very nosey, bossy type, and a few who are very polite and considerate with any criticism. Its very dependent on your relationship with the advice giver, the advice they are giving and how they give it, and whom they are giving it to (you or the child). "do you make her finish her plate? I read that....blah blah" is one thing. Outright telling your child she has to finish her plate (or not) is over stepping boundaries and should be corrected immediately.

Donna - posted on 10/03/2011

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shit like that aggravates me too but if it were me id probably just keep quiet

Keri - posted on 10/01/2011

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It's true people without kids don't know what it's like - they don't have kids. Sometimes, as parents, we forget what it was like before we had kids. Raising kids is very different than the way we were raised or even our parents were raised. If you are guests in THEIR home, the rules of their house are the rules the kids need to follow. If THEY are guests in YOUR home, just a comment that "the kids are allowed to do _______" should shut them up.

Trish - posted on 09/27/2011

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Don't sweat it. It's only words. They can say whatever...but until they have their own they have NO idea. Just keep that in your 'head when they start saying stuff. And if it's annoying you too much. You could be assertive and tell them "I don't appreciate you talking to my son like that and until you have your own kids I don't want you to talk to him like that again"...and walk away...Sometimes we are too polite but if it comes down to that...Get it off your chest...

Carolyn - posted on 09/27/2011

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Don't you just LOVE when that happens?? I always say/think, until you're in my shoes, keep your mouth shut

Audra - posted on 09/26/2011

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I KNOW there are things I didn't quite get before I was a parent. But you don't have to be a parent to step in and keep one kid from pushing another around, for example. As parents we are protective of our kids, and of our parenting style. Context is so important - I would respond differently to someone attempting to discipline my kid vs. someone attempting to stop a fight between my kid and another. Do they share their opinion when you're all sitting 'around the table' talking about your kids? Or do they share their opinion after you have disciplined yours, in disagreement? How close are you to them, and how often do you even have to deal with them? I think we should all be open to other parenting styles to find the best methods that will work for our kids. In the end, I think it's best to be honest with others about how you feel. Share with them the reasoning behind how you interact with your kids. We grow up in different homes with our own set of parents, expectations, traditions, rewards and punishments. They could learn some things, and benefit as parents later on if you're open with them. Finally, be kind. Either TRULY blow it off, or discuss what's bothering you when you're not annoyed or upset by it.

[deleted account]

Uh... if my daughter is doing something that she shouldn't be doing, then yeah, I'm okay with them telling her that she shouldn't do that or it's not nice... It doesn't matter if they have kids or not, if they see my daughter doing/saying something inappropriate, I would want them to correct her.

Unless you're leaving something out, I don't think that's sharing their opinion, they're just stopping your child from doing or saying something he shouldn't... UNLESS you're okay with what he's doing, and in that case, you should tell them that you guys don't mind if he does that... or whatever.

Christie - posted on 09/20/2011

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I have one friend that's the worst at this! I finally told her "I used to be a perfect mother too, then I had kids" She still does it but it makes me feel better to say something that's not quite rude, but gets the point across in a joking manner

Carlie - posted on 09/20/2011

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Advice. No. Opinion(s). Yes. And it should start out that way...."In my opinion, and ESPECIALLY since I don't have children of my own, I would....." After all....if you don't have the experience, then how can you give the advice? Your siblings children DO NOT count as advice-unless you raised them. Funny thing about ppl that don't have children. When someone says, "Hey I know you can't ADVISE me, since you don't have children, but I would like your OPINION....." Every notice how the ppl WITHOUT children get upset? Get over it already. Thank you for your OPINION! :P

Alexandria - posted on 09/20/2011

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Eh, yes and no. It can be really irritating for someone to offer up parenting advice who isn't actually a parent themselves. There are some cases where the credibility outweighs the lack of children. My sister, for example, was a nanny and pre-school teacher and is amazing with children so her advice is something I wouldn't mind hearing. I've even called her for an outside opinion on several occasions. However, people offering parenting advice based on how they remember being raised does nothing for me. Tho I don't really see anything wrong or offensive about them telling your son "that's not nice." You don't have to have kids to help instill manners in them. When I feel like someone is overstepping their boundaries I have no problem speaking up and letting them know that I'm the mom, and I've got this.

Gillian - posted on 09/20/2011

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I would tell them that thay are YOUR children and YOU will raise them how you want and even tho you know they are trying to help in their own way they arent so to stop it

Stifler's - posted on 09/20/2011

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Even though they don't have kids I wouldn't entirely discount their opinion. If you don't agree with it give them factual reasons why. If they're saying "that's naughty" etc. just tell them he's allowed to do it if he is.

Tammy - posted on 09/19/2011

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Just because someone doesn't have kids, doesn't mean that they aren't educated about them. Sure, they don't have the practical, hands on experience, but they do have the knowledge. So, if you don't agree withf their comments or suggestions when they come to your house, you can either grin and bare it, or you can tell them outright that you'd rather do it your way. I suggest, since they don't come over too often, that you just grin and bare it.

Kristine - posted on 09/19/2011

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as a parent you know that experience is the best teacher so how can you expect a couple whether how good they are to your niece since they dont have their own experience handling a child.... so maybe its good to listen to their advice but still it's still your decision that matters.

CJ - posted on 09/19/2011

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No, whether they have kids or not, it's up to you to raise your kids how you see fit. I know it has always drove me nuts when people had to push thier opinions of how I am raising my daughter on. Whether they were parents themselves or not. I will raise my child in the way that I find works best for us, not how somebody else thinks I should. Every child is different, as is every parent.

[deleted account]

not unless they work at a daycare or school or some other capacity where they spend their workday caring for kids.

Ume Ammara - posted on 09/18/2011

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u don't have to listen to opinion of people who ve kids either because u kinow ur kid best;)

[deleted account]

Oh and about hitting your child I would explain to them that in most states now if you hit your child you are risking going to jail for child abuse. Not to mention the fact that there are so many other things that you can do to discipline your child but my favorite is redirection. Usually all you have to do is tell your child "no" and give them something else to do or give them a time-out. I have never hit my children and they are all very respectful, loving individuals. We started time-outs when they were two and we gave them a minute for each year of age so my five year old gets five minutes. We also have them sit in the same spot and it has always worked for us. Consistency is the key. I don't think you need to explain to them what kind of discipline you use but if you think it would make it easier for them to understand then go for it. :) Best of luck to you.

[deleted account]

I had a friend who went through a similar issue. Her and her husband knew a couple that would do the same thing. I told her that she was nicer than I was just for putting up with it because had it been me that they were giving the advice to I would have told them where they could shove it. I have three children, 9, 5, and 4 and I don't need people telling me how to raise my kids. I also was in the room when my mother gave birth to my baby brother when I was 12 and I helped raise him until I moved out when I was 18. So essentially I have raised 4 children. I used to get a lot of advice and when my sister was pregnant with her 1st child everyone gave her advice except for me. I only give it to her when she asks because I know what it's like. If I were you I would tell them (as nicely as possible) "look, I know that you think that you are being helpful but you're not. You don't have children, you are not around children 24/7, and you do not know what it feels like to love a child so much and try to discipline them as well as you can so that they grow up to be honest, repsepctful, loving members of society. Please stop with the remarks and the advice." You could even say that it makse you feel like they think that you are not a good parent and that it hurts your feelings because honestly that's what it is. Nobody likes to be told that they are doing something wrong especially when it comes to raising our children. These are just my thoughts and what I would do. You don't have to be mean or disrespectful about it but I think that holding in your feelings will only make you resent them and could cause you to have a blow-out with them at a later date.

Victoria - posted on 09/17/2011

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Advice can never hurt cuz you can decide whether or not to use it. Honestly even people without kids can have good ideas sometimes. However it sounds more like they are just being obnoxious in that case I would just explain to them as nicely as possible that your the parent and they are not.

Tracy - posted on 09/17/2011

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You could respond in a way that is saying "get back to me on that after you have children". But in a kinder mannar than what I put it. I agree with how you feel. No, people should not ry to give too much of their opinion on how you should handle things with your children. They are yours,you have to go home with them. And you have to handle them the way it works for you and your children. My sister has a boyfriend who has had no kids and he is very opinionated and judgemental. I have never had problems with him but I have a family member that has. And if they try to correct that child insteda of coming to you, it is up to you to go to the correcting family member and let them know you would appreciate if they left the correcting up to you and your husband.Sometimes it's not so easy because you want to keep peace in the family. But keep in mind they are the ones that are stepping over their boundaries.They need to know where they stand. But do not do it in front of a group of people.That only makes matters worse.

Brea - posted on 09/16/2011

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Thank you everybody!! Some good ideas and advice. Gave me a couple different things to think about. Thanks for taking the time to write back and give your opinions! Have a great weekend!

Shauna - posted on 09/16/2011

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I don't think you should care about ANYONE'S opinion but your own when it comes to raising YOUR child- but in all honesty, it doesn't seem like they are overbearing(from what you posted here) or giving obnoxious advice. NONE of us on this page knows why they have no children, so to laugh and point out that they have NO kids could be a really cruel idea. Of course they have no idea what it's like to raise a child of their own, but rubbing that it could be extremely hurtful if that is a dream of theirs that they've been unable to achieve.(sorry a little off of the topic!)
Anyway- as someone else said similarly- just politely explain that you'd prefer to do the disciplining of your children when you are with them- and if you are against any form of "smacking" punishment- make them aware of that! So many people around me don't understand my wish to NEVER stoop to "spanking" my son- but I refuse to let their ideas get to me. If it's not driving you insane, and not hurting anything- let it slide if you can- step in when you are around them and hear them correcting your children, but it's not worth causing a possible rift between you all, I'd let it slide. Good Luck to you!

Brianna - posted on 09/16/2011

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i no the feeling. my hubby and i are friends with another couple that recently got engaged and have no kids. i find that they often step on my toes when it comes to my daughter. she is almost 2 years old. now this couple loves kids and thats great but they do things like.. my daughter is eating in her highchair and they are over at our house and the guy walks to the bathroom and on his way back stops and talked to my daughter and then just takes her out? she didnt say she was done nor did he ask if he could take her out of the chair.. to seconds later shes back at her chair crying cuz shes still hungry!, or the other day we went out for supper witht them and my daughter is eating and she took to bites and then stopped eatin (she was just being silly) and then the girl goes eat 1 more bite and then ur all done.. and im thinking no you need to eat more than 1 bite because ur gonna be hunger again in 15 min if u dont eat now. like im the parent ill make the rules not you like grr.. drives me crazy yet i dont wanna say anything to them to be rude

[deleted account]

I would tell them please dont tell my kids what to do......especially if u werent going to call the kids out on whatever they did...only you the parent can raise your child

Ashley - posted on 09/15/2011

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Tell them its your childeren not there's..
Tell them when they have a child of there own then maybe they can talk to you about dealing with your kids.
I have four kids all girls.
And belive me family or no family no one can tell me how tio raise my kids...
A little advice here and there does not do anybody harm but just know your boundries with people;)

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2011

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Just smile through gritted teeth thank them for their opinion, and then proceed to ignore it.

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