How to Handle Unwanted Parenting Advice & Better Mom Monday’s Link-up!

tips for handling parentingadviceI know you’ve been there.

All eyes glued on your toddler child who is having the most classic meltdown in grocery store history and you wishing the floor would simply up.

In that very moment of wishing you were in a dream, someone approaches you with just a simple suggestion on how to handle Susie’s fit. Ugh. And you so desperately attempt to hold back the tears and smile and thank them for their “word of advice.” Or out of that same desperation, you have no words and stare blankly back at them while you rush out of the store as quickly as possible.

I’m sure you and I could sit down over a cup of coffee and tell all the stories of unwarranted parenting advice we’ve been issued. One of my never-forget stories from years ago is the one where a lady parked her shopping cart one inch away from mine with her beautiful loaf of bread lying right on top.

Not only did she park it so close, but it was right beside my little one, who, as you can imagine, promptly reached over and pushed down on that beautiful loaf of bread, squishing it to dough-like status. This dear lady glared at my child and says “Don’t you ever squish my bread again.” While I managed to squeak out a “I’m so sorry,” in my mind I was thinking that if the woman hadn’t parked her cart so close to my baby girl, she wouldn’t have squished her bread. I went on to think that I wanted to squish more than her bread. Not the best thought, I agree.

She then proceeded to tell me how if I would teach my child to keep her hands to herself this would have never happened. And I could start by giving her something to hold so that she wouldn’t be tempted to grab other things off the shelves etc. I’m going to be honest with you- at this point I had to briskly walk away from that woman. And pray. Fervently.

We’ve all encountered the times when someone, whether family, friend, or stranger, has offered parenting advice in poor timing or tough circumstances. At this point, we have to choose how to handle the overload. Here are 5 tips on how to handle unwanted parenting advice: PAUSE

1. Pause and pray.

Breathe deeply, ask God for grace, swallow any warring words, and smile.

2. Ask yourself what desired outcome you want to see at the end of this encounter.

Do I truly need this person to understand the difficulty of the situation? Do I want my child to discontinue this behavior? What would be the best possible ending to this scenario?

3. Understand that people are individuals and therefore will have individual opinions.

Even Godly people will disagree and you are not accountable to others for your parenting actions. We are accountable to God for our parenting decisions and actions.

4. Stop the comparison before it starts.

Collaborating ideas with other parents is great as long as the collaboration doesn’t lead to comparison. Johnny may not respond to a certain teaching method the same way as Susie.

5. Expect to encounter unwanted parenting advice and prepare your response.

If you have a mental plan in place for handling unwarranted parenting advice, then this will enable you to deal with unsolicited advice graciously. Maybe it could be a simple 3 step process: Pause.Pray.Smile. Or you could have a phrase that reminds you not to react harshly but to process the situation. Mine is Think.Blink.Wink. I think about the issue, especially how it is simply a “blink” in time and I wink my eye, recognizing the brevity of the situation.

We’d love to hear from you today!

What is your best tip for how to handle unsolicited parenting advice?



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  • Candace Creates

    Oh that unwanted parenting advice can come fast and hard sometimes! Thanks for the great tips on handling it gracefully.

    • Rachel Wojnarowski

      Blessings, Candace!

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  • Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents

    Thanks for hosting!

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  • Chrysti Hedding

    Oh, unsolicited parenting advice is even harder to take in a country where you don’t know the language, but the kind ladies seem to think they know better anyway. In which case, I just nod, smile, kindly say “thank you” (in English), and walk away.

    • Rachel Wojnarowski

      oh I can’t imagine! Bless you, Chrysti!

  • Nan

    Oh there’s always something, isn’t there? When my kids were younger we were waiting in line at the post office. At Christmas time! They began playfully and gently pushing one another. I very quickly told them not to touch one another and to keep their hands to themselves.

    The older gentleman behind me said to me “You are a very mean mom.” I quietly said to him something like “Sir, we are in line with a bunch of other people. Pushing can quickly turn to shoving and wrestling and if I let them do that pretty soon they are going to be bothering other people.” He said, “Well, I still think you’re a mean mom.”

    Then a woman came in with three kids and stood behind him. One of the kids began scratching off the Christmas art on the window. The other two kids began giggling and pushing one another. Pretty soon they started shoving and they bumped into this man several times and stepped on his feet. The mom did not say a word and ignored her kids (including the one ruining the window art).

    The man then said to me “I apologize. I was wrong. You are a GOOD mom! A very good mom!”

    • Rachel Wojnarowski

      oh wow. Thank you for sharing that story! It was sweet of him to recognize the situation because many would probably have been too embarrassed to say anything else. Thanks Nan!

  • busymomof10

    Great post! Been there, done that! :)

    Thanks for the link up! I accidentally linked up the wrong post — if you would like to delete link up #91 I’d appreciate it! ;)

  • Marianne Kay

    Thank you for hosting :)

  • Melinda Todd

    Yes, I have heard some pretty horrid things as a mom with 3 boys (and one girl). One time a clerk actually said in front of all of my children (my daughter was a tiny baby and because she is my only girl, attracted a lot of attention), “I would kill myself if I had that many boys but God knew and gave me only girls.” I was in such shock that I had no words. Honestly, all I could think was how my boys could hear AND understand her! To this day, I wish I had turned her into her manager. So unbelievably rude.

  • Laurie Collett

    Thanks for the great advice and for hosting, & God bless!

  • Ugochi

    Thanks for these great tips Rachel, I often avoid getting offended by some unwanted advice for parenting, but most times I make sure I take the best if any out of it.
    Thanks Ruth for hosting us again, you both have a super blessed week ahead!

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  • Julie Hays Shirin

    I usually err on not hurting the advice-giver’s feelings, but now that I am getting older (my kids are 6, 7, 11, 13, 17, 18 & 20) I think I would have been better to stand up for myself and for my kids. I am sometimes so taken off guard by a comment that I don’t know WHAT to say until later (kwim?) I am still in the middle of the game with my younger crowd, so I’d like to try it differently the next time it comes up. I should probably ask God now to give me ready and gracious words for the next time, since I am not getting any quicker at thinking on my feet! :)

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  • Nichole

    The hard part is when it’s a particular family member or two that think they have a right to chirp in all the time or rub in your face their sleep training “skills”. And when they are on your husband’s side of the fam so anything you say reflects badly on him….

  • Stacey

    After reading your article on, “How to Handle Unwanted Parenting Advice” I must say I felt your pain. Although, I don’t think I’ve ever endured a situation where my two girls have ever squished someone else’s food, but I’ve had other experiences where my youngest who just turned 3 years old recently. . . has had more then one melt down in the store. There was one situation were I was shopping and my little one wanted to get out of the cart. After telling her “no” so many times, I finally gave in as her crying was becoming a bit much. “If you know what I mean.” lol. Well bad mistake. . . she begin running around, putting her hands on everything, and begin screaming in the store. I could almost feel all eyes were on me at this point. I (thought) “Oh God please help me!” I admit I yelled for my little to come here, but (not) in a way as if I was yelling at her directly. Just in a way so she can hear the sternness of my voice so she could stop what she was doing . . . and that was it. That was until I heard a older lady tell me “You shouldn’t yell at your child”, as much as I wanted to say something very mean to this lady, I just took a “deep breath” and calmly said. . . “I’m not yelling at her mam I’m just trying to get my daughters attention, so she can stop what she’s doing”, and walked away as she begin to respond, so I could get my child (thinking) to myself how dare she say I’m yelling at my child. Sometimes I feel there are people out there that gets so caught and wrapped up in (thinking) they’re giving friendly advice, yet failing to realize one method may not always work for everyone. Every person/parent is different.

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