Sometimes when you choose the positive parenting way to parent your children, you might get some pushback and unsolicited advice from friends and family about the choice you have made.
Parenting is criticized at every point, from birth to graduation and even beyond. If you did some research as a new parent and discovered a parenting style that your family members do not practice, or know a lot about it can be very difficult to deal with the criticism, unwanted advice and judgement from people who are close to you.
Responding To Criticism About Your Parenting Style
When you are being judged about the positive parenting lifestyle that you chose, you can start to feel very alone and even question yourself and the way you are parenting at the end of the day.
Maybe it’s because of the way you handled toddler tantrums in the grocery store, or how you managed to get through potty training in just 3 days, someone somewhere has outdated advice and pearl of wisdom to share with you.
You have to remember that you chose the parenting style which you chose, because it resonated with you and your own experiences, and you truly believe that this is the right way to raise your children.
The fact of the matter is, no one can raise your children except you and your spouse. Disagreements within the family and among friends are going to happen because everyone has different principles and parenting beliefs and you’ll most likely receive a lot of unwanted parenting advice.
You know the best interests of your children and if you want to be a peaceful kind of parent and break the generational cycles, then that’s awesome.
When someone gives you some judgemental advice you can either take a deep breath and brush it off or engage and encourage that person to understand your point of view, especially from random strangers that most likely had good intentions.
If you happen to brush off the unwanted suggestions, simply respond with ” thank you, I’ll keep that in mind” or smile and don’t say anything at all to the complete stranger.
If you want to educate that person about your choices you can explain your basic concepts. You don’t have to try to convince the other person that you are doing the right thing, or that they should follow you, but you can simply explain yourself and why you parent the way you do. I’m sure they were just trying to give you “helpful advice” and not criticize your parenting decisions.
Just remember that you don’t really owe anyone an explanation about your parenting, but you can provide one if you like. Be sure to keep your tone positive and not judgemental or defensive when explaining your parenting choices if you choose that option on their pieces of advice.
Another thing you can do to not feel like you have chosen the wrong parenting style is to join a parenting community of like-minded people. Support can go a long way and can help you stop questioning yourself. Sometimes family can be a little bit too involved and opinionated, it could be nice to bond with a new friend who has the same parenting style as you.
The most important part of your parenting choice is that your spouse or co-parent is on the same page as you. When you have a united front, you can consistently provide your child with discipline practices that you both believe work wonders.
To find a like-minded community in the parenting style which you chose, you can turn to Facebook groups, community playgroups and even internet forums. Friends and family can definitely be good sounding boards and they can even be full of stories and experiences which could be helpful, but they may not understand the choices you make in parenting which can feel very lonely and discouraging. So that’s when you should find alternative sources of like-minded parents.
How To Stay Calm When Someone Judges Your Parenting
It’s easy to get a little heated when total strangers or older relatives say something about your parenting, but you should stay calm and ask yourself some questions that can help you process the situation.
Did you ask for help?
When someone is giving you an endless stream of advice that you didn’t really ask for, and then feel judged based on their response, ask yourself if you asked for the help they think they provided.
You can also clarify what you need from that person before you ask for help. Say something along the lines of ” I’ve decided to do this, because of this reason, and I need your support on the matter.”
Just remember that if you ask for advice, you should be ready to hear it.
Is The Advice Well Meaning?
sometimes when people dole out advice, it could feel like judgement even though they don’t really want it to feel that way. Well-meaning advice can fly under the radar as judgement and this can trigger some anger towards that person.
Try to stay calm and think about the fact that the advice may have been meant well, but it didn’t exactly come out that way.
Are You Fully Understanding What They Said?
It is easy to read between the lines when someone provides parenting advice. It can sound like criticism when in reality it’s just a comment or an innocent question. If you think you could be misunderstanding their statement as judgement, ask some questions about it and see if you can find out more about their intention.
Are You Being Defensive?
Before getting angry and thinking someone is being critical of your parenting, pause. Is this is a sensitive topic for you? Do you have an issue with the person saying the unsolicited parenting advice and not the advice itself?
Sometimes we get defensive, especially when it comes to our children and we get our guard up. We might feel that family is always criticizing us and every comment feel like a dagger.
There are so many parenting experts out there, and I do not claim to be one even though I write on the topic of positive parenting a lot, but you are the one the expert of your child. The best way to build your parenting confidence is to listen to your gut when you need to make a parenting decision.
You can educate yourself on parenting and then use the information that you discover to make your own choices and adjust based on your children’s reactions.
You are in charge of your parenting strategies and your relationship with your young children cannot be judged by someone else.
Free Resource For You
I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with gentle parenting with your kids this PDF will help you find one that will work for your family.
This free pdf can show you:
- The pillars of gentle parenting
- Example conversations you can have with kids
- Example consequences you can use
- Family activity ideas for connection
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