Comebacks for Unsolicited Parenting Advice

The following is an excerpt from our new book Stuff Every Mom Should Know. We’re giving you little tastes of the book all week in hopes that next time you discover your neighbor is pregnant, you’ll buy her a copy for Mother’s Day.

Comebacks for Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Sometimes a well-meaning stranger cannot help herself but to tell you that your little one should be wearing a hat, not sucking on your keys, or drinking prune juice. Other times advice that you just don’t need comes from someone you love, like your mother or your best friend from college. In either case, it’s tough to acknowledge the good intentions of the intruder while simultaneously rejecting her suggestion.

You can always say, “That’s interesting; maybe I’ll try it out.” But frankly, if there’s no way in Hades you’re going to try her method, then find a way to comment on the idea, without involving yourself.

“Really? That sounds cool!”

“I’m glad that’s working for you.”

“I’ve never thought about it that way.”

Most of this unsolicited advice is another person’s way to dust off her own experience and pass it off as wisdom. It’s not meant to insult you personally.

When it comes to true interference, however, you may be forced to assert yourself as the authority. Another parent at the playground removing your child from a scuffle? Your brother threatening a time-out for your preschooler? Your mother-in-law telling your child she must eat something?

Simply say, “Hey, I’ve got it.”

This is a clear and powerful way to redirect the situation so that you are in charge while letting the interfering person know that, well, you are in charge.

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Find Stuff Every Mom Should Know at Amazon.com. Illustration from the book by Kate Francis.