The Single Best Response to Unsolicited Parenting Advice

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As a parent you’ve encountered your fair share of unsolicited advice. From your mother-in-law to your child-free hairdresser, every person who has ever had a kid, known a kid, or been a kid seems eager to offer parenting answers to questions you’re not asking.

Parenting is a complicated, highly personal game of trial-and-error, with each day offering a Groundhog Day kind experience that somehow makes us just a wee bit wiser in the ways of our kid than we were the day before. The process is a long, slow investment of the heart. And because of this, no one person gets to swoop in, determine you’re doing it wrong and offer unsolicited advice to “fix” what they perceive to be broken. They just don’t. They haven’t earned the right.

Of course I say that, but once upon a time I was a new mother in need of advice. I specifically remember asking a Target cashier what she thought of pacifiers because I had no one else to talk to. Desperate for answers, I screamed a silent prayer, “Please, somebody to tell me what to do with this baby!” Well, guess what – they did. Everybody did. Strangers initiated conversation about breast vs. bottle, diapering, immunizations, co-sleeping – you name it. And because people talked with such ridiculous authority, I carefully considered each opinion under the assumption that they knew better…only they didn’t. [Read more…]

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