How to handle unsolicited parenting advice from grandparents and other family members?
As a new mom, I’ve had to deal with a lot of doubts and new learnings, But even before my little boy arrived I made sure to arm myself with as much knowledge that I can gather.
So I spent lots of my free time while I was pregnant making sure I was aware of all the safety measures I need to take, reading up on all the parenting websites and apps (like theAsianparent Philippines), and joining forums and groups to make sure I was up to date with all the latest and best ways to care for my little one.
But as I gave birth a new challenge arose, for almost every movement I made someone had an extra comment, suggestion or advice whether it be from my own Parents, In-Laws, Titas and Titos even the elderly neighbor had a say in the way I was caring for my newborn.
We’ve all faced those moments where everyone feels the need to push their own anecdotes on us. All the comments and suggestions made my confidence waiver, it made me doubt my natural instincts as a mother plus it was adding stress to my already sleep-deprived state.
Unsolicited parenting advice from grandparents and elders
One example would be them forcing me to use Aceite de manzanilla on my newborn to keep him warm daw, they were mad that I would give him a bath without using the oil and they kept pushing that I was doing more harm than just simply following them.
They said a little oil would do no harm but I pushed back and showed them multiple articles and photos of babies who had bad skin reactions to the oil.
I even texted the pedia so I could get support on what I was trying to say, luckily my mom listened and accepted the multiple proofs that I showed her.
Unsolicited parenting advice from grandparents and other family members. | Image from Shutterstock
Another example is when they wanted my baby to go to sleep with a blanket and bonnet they kept forcing that he would feel too cold in our room and that he needed those things.
So, I had to explain to them about safe sleeping practices for babies, at first they kept pushing, if magkasakit anak ko it’s my fault for not listening but I kept my ground and shared with them multiple stories about SIDS and Itold them my baby my responsibility they have to learn to let me raise my child as they did with us when they were younger it was a lengthy and repetitive discussion but they finally listened to me
It came to a point that I just couldn’t handle it anymore so I made a promise to myself that I will handle the advice in a way that won’t cause me any more stress.
Image from Shutterstock
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Unsolicited parenting advice from grandparents: Tips so that you can also take control of the situation
1. Is their comment or suggestion valid?
Let’s be honest our elders have been there and done that some of their advice does hold the merit and can really make life easier for you. So keep your ears open because you never know when you can get really good advice that you won’t find online or from blogs.
2. Was the comment made out of concern? or malice?
If you know that it came from the heart and they were only trying to help then don’t take it personally, They aren’t questioning you as a parent they just want to help. But if you feel like the comment was made just too hurtful then it’s best to not engage with the comment.
3. Learn to say NO!
Nothing is wrong with saying NO, if you believe you are correct then don’t be afraid to stand your ground.
4. Share the knowledge
If the advice being given is outdated or “kasabihan” only then feel free to explain that the practice is now being discouraged by pediatricians or that recent studies disagree with the advice. You can even share with their articles about the topic.
5. Pick your battles
You don’t have to make everything an issue, after they comment then you can just smile and nod. Life is already complicated there’s no reason we have to add more stress.
6. Learn to receive help
Image from Shutterstock
Don’t be afraid to accept help, we as humans also get tired and make mistakes that’s why it’s always nice to have someone there to assist you when things get too tough.
And remember at the end of the day you are the parent, you are the main caregiver and protector, so you have every right to follow what you want. So enjoy every moment with your little one and don’t let unsolicited advice ruin your day.