How to Handle Unwanted Parenting Advice


In this world, there is no shortage of opinions. Someone is always ready to dole out 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 this line before. The truth is if the person saying this to you was in your position, they would probably be just as annoyed by the dispensing of unsolicited advice.

But before you get angry or exhibit an icy attitude, here are some tips to help you counter those comments without offending the advice-giver.

Know the intention. Most people mean well, while some like to hear themselves speak and want to be the one who knows it all. But, underneath it all, they only want to help and are basically harmless. On the other hand, some people like to push  buttons and exert their influence on children that they don’t 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. At some point in their statements to you, you might pick up a grain of something useful that you can use. 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’re 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.

Related: 6 Easy Steps for Resolving Conflict

Agree or disagree without argument. Even if you strongly disagree with what they’re 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. Take comfort in the fact that you can use your resources to find a solution and don’t have to solely depend on advice from others. 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’ve said, a kind word will let you depart without need for argument or further listening on your part.