what do you do about parenting advice from friends who don't have children?

Katherine - posted on 10/29/2008 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Hi, I'm a SAHM to 16 month old Owen, and I am new to this community...but wondered how others have handled getting advice about parenting from friends w/out children-in my case a best friend. I hold her opinions in very high esteem but am getting tired of everytime I talk w/her on the phone or she visits w/Owen & I she always talks down to me like I don't know what I'm doing and that she knows better...anyway. I look forward to advice from anyone who might have input. Thanks!

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Tiffany - posted on 03/27/2011

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I have a friend like that who tells me my kids should sit quietly and not play loud when company is at OUR home, my kids play quietly at other ppls houses, but not ours. If you dont like it, dont come over. She tells me I should only allow my kids to play with one toy at a time, what fun is a playroom if the floor is not covered with toys. I ,mean hello?!?! you cant see your options when they are all in a box. Clean up at bed time and we will be good. She tells me I should not allow my kids to make messes, how r they gonna learn to clean up after theirselves if they dont make a mess to clean up. She claims, when she has a kid that her child will not be allowed to stay the night with anyone till it is 3 years old, yet when my son was under 3 and now my daughter is only 1 she asks me non stop to find a sitter and then gets mad when i dont even try. Hello again, I like spending time with my kids. Im bored without them. I just tell her like it is, i dont really care if it offends her cause she is not taking my feelings into consideration when she says "I wouldnt let my child do that" I got news for her, her child is going to absolutly despise her if she does to it what she tells me to do to mine. :-) Tell your friend like it is, it will be your returned unwanted advise.

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Stifler's - posted on 04/02/2011

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Laugh at them. Especially when I deliberately try their advice and it backfires right in front of them.

Krystyna - posted on 04/02/2011

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This may seem a littel harsh, but I personally feel if she does not have children, then she has NO RIGHT to give you any parenting advice. She has no clue and cannot even begin to relate to your situation. If she is a good friend, you can tell her this in a polite and diplomatic way. Good luck and keep your chin up because you are doing a great job!

Ashleigh Jade - posted on 04/02/2011

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I just nod and smile politely. Or if its a close friend of mine i tell them il parent my way thanks.
I dont take to kindly to non-parent friends who try to give advice to me. Its just the way i am.

Donna - posted on 11/03/2008

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Honestly I think Cari may have the best list I've seen! :) I must admit that before I became a mom I did occasionally give a few tips to my mom friends. But my little tips were based on my own personal experiences from helping to raise my sisters. Both my parents worked so I was taking care of them most of the time. Some of my tips I know were just blown off as "you're not a mother, you don't know what you're talking about." And that was fine. Now that I am a mom I know that I was right very often (I knew it then too but in the sake of friendship always backed off, I was never as pushy as your friend seems to be). When I get advice from my non-parent friends we usually end up talking about it for a bit or I say that doesn't work for us and we move on. The key is to be as polite as you can with them because, as has been said, they mean well and are just trying to help. Our children are the biggest part of our lives now so they try to have a part in that. I think it's a bit like they feel left out. I know I don't see my friends as much as I'd like to because, let's face it, they have days and nights off and we work round the clock! :) So, just take it with a grain of salt and let them know when they've gone too far. :) If she's really your best friend, she should know then to back off with some of her more aggressive opinions.

[deleted account]

Let her take him for the day ...she may find out just how hard it can be. If not just grin and let it go in one ear and out the other.

Kyla - posted on 11/02/2008

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Is it possible any of her ideas have merit? I know that even before I had kids I loved researching and discussing discipline and childcare options. The only people though who had any interest in the topic were my mommy friends. I would've been very hurt if everything I had to say was dismissed off hand just because I had not yet had my kids. Now granted some of my ideas were simply not practical in the real world, but that always came up in respectful conversation (well depending on the idea of course, some of my ideas just got me laughed at and rightly so, but it was never hurtful)

Now that I'm a parent twice over, I've solidified many of my ideas, but I'm always looking for fresh discourse. We go to a mom's and tot's group once a week and it's amazing how many different ways there are to parent. There's been many times when we're discussing someone a problem that I decide to try things differently than I might have otherwise. I don't see why fresh ideas can't come from non-parents as well.

My advice would be to listen to her, ask her questions about her opinions, offer pertinent information that may change her advice and then tell her why you either agree or disagree. My guess is that she simply is looking to have a conversation with you and since Owen is such a large part of your life that it only makes sense for a large part of your conversations to focus on him.

Kyla

Valerie - posted on 11/02/2008

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Sounds like she is a little jealous! Just keep thinking "You don't know what you are talking about and I know this." Try not to let it get to you, you're the one with the kid and the experience and when she has a kid, she just may call you ;)

Kristin - posted on 11/02/2008

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In my opinion you need to avoid confrontation as much as possible.She is your best friend and you love her for it. I am not saying her advice isn't valid or that her opinions shouldn't be respected, Nor am I saying that she should be putting you down,but in all reality she has no clue. She has no kids of her own and therefore YOU are the expert in this situation. You are the best mother for your children and NO ONE should be telling you differently. It is a trying job at the best of times, but you manage just fine.. your child loves you unconditionally... Doesn't that tell you that you're doing something right? I know what I have done in the past, is simply to either, Change the subject, A simple Thank You, or "I'll keep that in mind" can give off the vibe that you really don't want to talk about it. If she DOESN'T get it after you do that.. I would suggest sitting with her and having a chat. Maybe make a pact that you two are not Mommy friends but just plain friends. That means, you don't talk about Mommy stuff with her.... I hope this makes sense and helps ;) Best of Luck!!

Ash - posted on 11/01/2008

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personally, i'd say look at her with a blank stare and when she's finished say very matter of factly "oh i'm sorry, did you say something?"

Kate - posted on 11/01/2008

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My friend Lisa told me when I had my first..."Thanks for sharing. I hadn't thought of that." It seems to work for me.

Kattie - posted on 11/01/2008

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Non-mommies are such a joy, arn't they? My best friend was like that, too. I had two kids before she even had one... I know how you feel. The best advice I can give you is to talk to her. I waited and, unfortunately it built up and I blew up and wound up telling her that "although you are my friend, you are VERY bold to continue to offer unsolicited advice about my child and my parenting style - especially bc you ARE NOT A PARENT. I would appreciate it if, in the future, you decide that you need to tell me everything I am doing wrong with my child, that you do it AFTER you have one of your own!" Needless to say, we didn't talk for a couple of weeks. I will say that it got a little easier after that - until she did have her child - now, when she trys to tell me how to parent, I say "gosh, I didn't realize that WE were experts - I know I am certainly not as I am learning as I go..." We laugh and she backs off.

Kristina - posted on 11/01/2008

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I totally agree with the post from "Cari Sherrod" I too have had to deal with alot of advice from people without children. Take it in stride...smile,change the subject or ask them nicely to keep thier comments to themselves.

Krysta - posted on 10/31/2008

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I so feel you on this!!! I have a very similiar situation except it's a sister in law and I'm about to have my fourth baby!! She's not married and doesn't have kids but has all the right answers. At first, I just blew her off and did the smile thing but it got to the point I had to say SOMETHING. It was getting to where if I didn't, it was going to eventually build up until I said something I would regret. The, "oh, ________, I can't wait until you have kids of your own" comment really got her attention. I said it funny but also in a way she knew I was telling her in a nice way she had no idea what she was talking about. If being a new mom comes up in a conversation and how it's going for you, bring up how this aspect (advice from people who have no idea what they are talking about) bothers you. Hope it gets better for you soon! When she has a baby of her own, she'll be calling you and asking for REAL advice...you'll be the pro! You may just have to wait for this day until she realizes how clueless she truly was!! Good luck! I loved Cari's list of 5 things...I may try those myself.

Sarah - posted on 10/30/2008

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I am so embarrassed to say that I was the friend giving advice before I had kids. I am also proud to say that I apologized to every one of them later for my stupidity.



I don't know if there was anything anyone could have said to show me that I wasn't as smart as I thought I was, so I guess, depending on her personality, just follow Cari's advice to the letter. I am sure I would have eventually gotten it.



:-) Good luck!!

Naomi - posted on 10/30/2008

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I say "thanks" and then move on. I have never used any advice from a friend that has no children. And secretly I cannot wait to see what they are like when they have children!

Katherine - posted on 10/30/2008

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All of you ladies have given me such great insight, I really appreciate it! So, I'm not crazy, others have experienced this as well? Thank you all again!

[deleted account]

I just brush it off. I think the best 'advice' I ever got was from a first time SAHD who said that since he was the primary care parent, EVERYONE found a need to tell him what to do and he told me when I was pregnant "My advice is to not take advice from people who give it to you especially when you don't ask for it."

Julie - posted on 10/29/2008

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I just ignore comments that are rude or from people without children and tell them they shouldn't be giving or advice. I also think people like to tell you stupid things that everyone knows so they feel better. I would just tell her that I don't need advice and just want to talk about something other than children.

Erin - posted on 10/29/2008

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YOu laugh at them and say"Just wait until you have your own" All the babysitting in the world can never prepare you for having your own.
Another way is to thank them for their advice and tell them that you will consider what they said. You may consider it right out the back door, but people want to just know that you are listening to them. Hope this helps...ERin

Katherine - posted on 10/29/2008

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Thanks!! I really really appreciate your reply. I think I will print out your reply and put it in my purse & on my wall as a mantra! That's the thing, she probably means well and more importantly will get the shock of her life when she is a parent herself, she will kick herself for all the things she says to me because she will understand.

Cari - posted on 10/29/2008

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Hmmm. The classic smile and nod technique usually works. But, some friends are just so proud of their own advice, it spills out everywhere, Lord love 'em.

1. Say, "I sooooo can't wait for you to have kids."

2. Say, "I'm so thankful you have so much good advice, but since I'm the mommy, would you mind terribly if I figured this out kinda 'trial and error'? I learn best that way.

3. Every time, and I mean everytime she starts giving you advice, interrupt with something totally off subject. A smirk softens the blow and unless she's a complete idiot, she'll get it. If she wants to know why you keep doing that, tell her it's your new mom reaction to unwanted advice; then compliment her hair. :)

4. It's totally okay to stick your fingers in your ears and say "Lalalalala" really loudly until she stops talking.

5. Go grocery shopping. Alone. Leave Owen with her and her great advice. She won't hurt him, but a little reality generally shuts people up.

Hope this helps!

PS. I've done all of the above. Each works! :)

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