Coping with People Judging Your Parenting: 4 Things to Consider
We all know that parent shaming is a real thing. After all, celebrities face public criticism every single day in print and on numerous online platforms.
When the tables are turned, however, how do you handle people judging your parenting choices?
If you’re like most parents, advice or opinions can sometimes sting. Other times, words of wisdom from a friend or family member may prove to be a godsend.
Yet, knowing how to cope when people criticize your parenting style is not always easy. Even receiving advice that you requested can ruffle your feathers a bit.
Take heart in knowing that what you’re feeling is a natural part of parenting.
With that said, here are four things to consider that can help you cope with these tricky situations.
1. Did You Ask for Advice?
When advice is requested, this often puts a different (and more relaxed) spin on the situation.
So, before you put up your emotional fort, be mindful about whether you asked for the advice or not. If you did, it’s important to be open-minded in your reception.
Unsurprisingly, the best way to ask for parenting advice is to be very specific about your request. For example, rather than ask for their overall opinion, hone in on certain issues you’re facing. And be open about what you need—a listening ear, advice, their experience, etc.
On the other hand, unsolicited advice from strangers or even loved ones can be far more frustrating.
2. What’s the Purpose of the Advice?
When an opinionated stranger pipes up in the grocery store or at the library, you don’t have to embrace their words. A simple head nod will suffice. Your lack of rebuttal will likely speak loud and clear that you really don’t care what they have to say.
Remember, people judging your parenting choices frequently have preconceived ideas about how things should be in life. This can translate into very harsh and hurtful words.
In building your own resilience, try to understand their motivation behind the advice. Are they really trying to help you but their words are tumbling out all wrong? Or is the advice meant to inflict pain and shame?
Knowing the difference will help you to cope with people judging your parenting skills.
3. Are You Reading More Into It?
As mentioned, some people really aren’t well-spoken or can’t express their thoughts succinctly. Keep in mind that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. These people may even ramble on and on, struggling to find a way to spit out what’s on their mind.
Separating what they said versus what they truly meant could possibly be an Olympic sport! The spoken advice can be that verbose.
Conversely, if the advice comes in written form—Facebook message, email, text message, etc.—the translation might be even more garbled. If you begin to feel your skin become prickling while reading the advice, take a moment before responding.
Most of the time, speaking face-to-face will bring clarity to any misunderstandings.
4. What Would the Doctor Say?
Lastly, it’s important to acknowledge that not all advice is current. As technology advances and professionals make medical progress, advice changes.
Sometimes, (and I hear you chuckling) advice from your sweet, old granny is simply outdated. In the spirit of love and compassion, resorting to a simply neck squeeze is a great response to outdated advice from a loved one.
However, dealing with people judging your parenting choices does require a dash of wisdom. And the question to ask yourself is, “What would the pediatrician say?”
By weighing other people’s advice against your own doctor’s admonition, you will more easily sift through irrelevant information.
Raising children can leave any parent feeling lost and confused, especially if everyone wants to give you their opinion on the matter. Working with a therapist can help you to develop the resilience you need for this tough job.
If you’d like support in coping with people judging your parenting style, please reach out to me today. Or, visit here to learn more about my services.