In this world, there is no shortage of opinions. Someone is always ready to hand out the advice, whether you ask for it or not. The most aggravating of situations is when people seek to give you advice on raising your children even if you don’t ask. How do you handle these situations?
“If I were you…”
We’ve all heard that line before. The thing is, that person speaking is not you. And, if they were they would probably be just as annoyed at what was about to be said as you will be. It’s the world we live in.
But, before you get angry or exhibit an icy attitude, here are some tips to help you counter those comments without offending the speaker.
Know the intention – Most people mean well. They only want to be of help. Some like to hear themselves speak and want to be the one who knows it all. But, underneath, they only want to help and are basically harmless. On the other hand, certain others like to push your buttons and exert their influence on children that they do not believe are acting as well as their own. Discern the intent before you say anything.
Listen – It never hurts to listen to what someone else has to say. In the middle of all of their comments you might pick up a grain of something useful that you can use. But, you’ll never know if you tune them out or walk away.
Let it flow right on through – Just because someone offers you their advice doesn’t mean that you are duty-bound to take it. It may not even apply to your situation. If it does, you can thank them for their contribution. If not, you can do the same without feeling compelled to follow it or argue the point.
Agree or disagree without argument – Even if you strongly disagree with what they are suggesting, an argument is not necessary. You don’t even have to state your opinion if you don’t want to. Make the decision within yourself and leave it at that. Ask questions about how that decision has worked for them. If they admit that they don’t employ the method they are recommending to you, the conversation may come to a natural end.
Do your homework – There is no substitute for knowledge. Before even mentioning a problem to another, use your resources to find a solution. Research options for yourself.
Be gracious – No matter what is said, thank the person for their words. Even if you don’t like what they have said, a kind word will let you depart without need for argument or further listening on your part.
Every parent has learned something from raising their children. Unfortunately, they always want to share it with you. Learn to handle their well-meaning advice.