How To Respond to Unsolicited Parenting Advice

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I was born in Rio de Janeiro, and my drink of choice is a spicy margarita. Click to read more about me.

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It seems as soon as you rock a bump or you’re pushing a stroller down the side walk, you’re the ideal target for unsolicited pregnancy and parenting advice. It is true that a large part of my job requires giving advice, but my advice is never “one-size-fit’s-all”. How I advise one person, with one experience, is completely different than the next. This is how all your parenting decisions should be – tailored to you and your partner’s beliefs, and no one else’s.

A Checklist For Your Sanity

Pregnancy and parenting advice becomes unhelpful and triggering when we are easily swayed or impressed upon. Here is a mental checklist I go through when I decide if I am going to seriously consider someone’s advice – particularly when it’s unsolicited.

  1. Does this parenting advice feel like it is coming from a place of genuine care? Is it possible that this advice is simply a repetition of an experience that the “advisor” had themselves?
  2. Does this advice empower me? Do I feel more or less in control of my life?
  3. Does this person usually problem solve in a way that is similar to me?
  4. Do I generally admire this person?
  5. Is this person particularly educated in the topic we are discussing?
  6. Do I feel heard, understood, or considered in this advice?

In reality, the kind of parent or pregnant woman you want to be is completely relative and unique to you. Aside from obvious health and safety requirements, we all have the liberty to carry and raise our children the way we see fit. How you parent or chose to deliver has nothing to do with how I, or anyone else, chooses to.

It goes without saying that seeking out professional help– that you truly identify with- is ideal during any of life’s inflection points. Rather than absorbing it all, try to be discerning and tune in to how you feel when receiving the advice. Any advice is that leaves you feeling like a bad parent is a red flag.

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