We have all been there, the awkward pause after someone offers a pregnancy or parental suggestion. So how do you react when you're blindsided with unsolicited advice?
Carrying triplets I was showing early on in my pregnancy and it brought about quite the comments every time I was out and about.
“Oh you must be due any day now!”
“You’re definitely carrying a boy,” “Oh may I?” As they are begin rubbing my belly.
These were often followed by numerous questions upon them finding out I was carrying three girls.
“Wow! Were you on fertility?” And my personal favorite “Are they twins?” (sigh and bite my tongue) “No I’m having three- so it’s triplets.”
So many questions and advice that I never asked for.
When dealing with people, we face different personality types which can often cause conflict and miscommunication. And we’re wise to remember everyone responds the way they do for reasons unbeknownst to us.
Because until we walk in that person’s shoes, we don’t know what they’ve gone through and what they’re going through now. We can’t control the actions of others, but we can control our responses to the circumstances we face.
That being said, how should you respond when your parenting is critiqued by someone who isn’t even a parent, or whose family dynamic is nothing like your own?
This is a sensitive subject and I think it one of the most frustrating situations we face as parents. Just remember they mean well and honestly have no clue!
Many times they’re not meaning ill-will, they’re just not thinking out loud and not using a filter when they’re speaking.
My mom has offered me great advice when facing the unsolicited advice and comments: simply smile, nod and say “That’s an interesting way to look at it,” or “Maybe I’ll keep that it mind.”
Now how do you deal with someone who crosses the line and continues to push opinions on you? That might take a more firm approach, but remember everything can be said in a respectful way.
So if need be, kindly let the individual know that you’d rather not discuss these issues with them anymore and that it is making you feel uncomfortable. A person will almost always back off if you let them know you are being put in an uncomfortable situation.
But choose your words wisely as to not accuse and put them on the defense. So never use phrases such as “You did this,” but rather “I feel this way”.
We are all learning and growing daily. And so often quickly judge others because they don’t do things the way we would. But everyone is an individual and does things in ways uniquely their own, and that’s what makes the world go round!
So the next time you are served unsolicited advice, instead of becoming aggravated or offended, choose to be the better person, simply smile - then have a good laugh later!