In a perfect world, all parents would be supported and encouraged by everyone, especially their family and friends. Unfortunately, most parents can easily remember times that those closest to them were critical or judgmental. Usually this happens because the relative or friend has a differing opinion. Still, that’s no reason to antagonize a sleep deprived parent who is clearly doing the best s/he can.
So, since a situation like this is bound to happen, here are a few pieces of parenting advice to remember when handling pushy relatives and friends.
You are not crazy. Whatever decision you made that the relative is questioning, you made for a reason.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Besides your partner/child’s other parent, no one needs to know why you don’t let your child eat ice cream (or whatever issue it is.)
Smile and nod. If you can’t muster up the energy to get into a conversation, simply smile and nod along to the offending person and if you must, say something like, “Well, isn’t it interesting that there are so many different wonderful styles of parenting!”
Know your facts. If the person questions why you’re “still” breastfeeding, know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until one, and if your child is older than one, there is no recommended limit to breastfeeding. If the person wants to feed your child solids before you are comfortable with that, know that the AAP recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months. (You can tell which issues I’ve run into, can’t you?)
Be kind but firm. Thank the friend for their input, usually it is meant harmlessly, but stick to your guns. In many cases there is no one right answer, each parent must discern for themselves what is right for their family.
And most importantly, be confident in yourself! You’ve got this.
Do you have any great pieces of parenting advice?
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