You may ask yourself when is unsolicited parenting advice wanted…the answer to that is never! Putting your two cents worth in when it is not asked for is nothing more than irritating. We all have different parenting styles, while I have bit my tongue not telling you the 10 things I would’ve done differently with your child, you turn around and give me “just a bit of advice…” Hell no.
We all raise our kids differently based on our own upbringing, morals, family dynamic and the like. What works for one family may not necessarily work for another. Something you think is a big deal in terms of children’s behaviours may not be seen as such a big deal by another. Unless the parents are seriously endangering their children, the advice is to zip it. No one wants to be told “just a bit of advice” from another parent. Because the reality is, you might get some truth bombs back that you weren’t expecting.
We’ve all come across them, the moms who say “oh my god, my child would NEVER do that!” Makes you feel like the worst mother in the world, right? I’ve come across this more times than I can count, yet funnily enough I’ve witnessed the child do exactly what the parent said they’d never do!
I’ll give an example here, my son was on a playdate with a friend of his while I was having a coffee with the mother. We were talking about the kids (as you do) and I said Master L had been behaving badly towards me lately and lashed out and hit me. The response I immediately got from the other mommy was “oh my gosh, my son would NEVER hit me….” Hmmm I thought, okay is there something wrong with Master L then? I felt the size of a grain of sand at this point. But low and behold, not 10 minutes later this momma’s kid started misbehaving, she pulled him up on it and BAM! He punches her straight in the arm….I at the time said nothing. I took the higher ground as I sometimes (well perhaps seldom) do, but in this instance I thought pointing it out wasn’t worth it. You see, the vast majority of parents like to think their child is a saint. In reality, very few if any children are perfect children. They are all pains in the butt in someway, they all display poor behaviour at times through whatever reason, perhaps tiredness, their age, sickness or just downright naughtiness. Whatever the reason, no child is perfect. It baffles me as to why parents want to attempt to portray a different picture. The only answer I’ve ever come up with is that they want to portray to the world that they have this parenting thing perfected when in reality, we are all just taking it day by day.
Recently we have been dealing with the “Shitty Sevens.” Yep, you heard me…we all know the “terrible twos” the “troublesome threes” the “F@#*ed fours, the “fiesty fives” the “sassy sixes” and then there are the “shitty sevens.” See we have all heard of the terrible twos, but let me tell you mommas the terrible twos are NOTHING compared to the proceeding years. So, currently we are in the “shitty sevens” filled with attitude, back chat, eye rolling and general defiance. Oh, so fun. So, with this we have had a few issues at school. Master L has always been a handful at home but on a whole, a really good kid at school…until this year. We haven’t had anything major, just little things but enough that I can see a change in behaviour.
Funnily enough, the main issues have been with his best friend. So, I’ve been forced to address his behaviour with his mates mother. All good here as I’ve known her for a few years given our sons have been best mates since school commenced. What I didn’t expect was this mother to subtly begin to blame Master L for her kids behaviour. You heard correct. Here we go again with those parents who refuse to believe that their kid can do anything wrong. Now, I’m no spring chicken. I’ve been around the bush so to speak and I have witnessed things through my career that others wouldn’t even know existed. Most people live in a bubble, let me tell you for me, the bubble burst a long time ago. So, I did what I do best and observed and what I saw was the other child baiting my son, excluding him, teasing him and exaggerating the truth in order to lessen his involvement. So, I have begun to stand up for my son. While I admit his behaviour is less than perfect, there are times when I need to defend him and this is one of those times. Of course, this mother decided to weigh in and give “just some advice” to me. Yeah, well that didn’t go down so well given her sons behaviour is less than perfect too. So, I reiterate – don’t give unsolicited parenting advice EVER unless you are specifically asked for it.
Even more infuriating is when another mother then weighs in on your relationship and how you and your husband “may not be on the same page” in terms of parenting. This comment, while innocent enough, is one that should be avoided at all costs. Your opinion is based on what exactly? A few minutes a day of interactions in the school yard a day? A 10 minute chat after a play date? Assuming you know how a couple parents together based on this is highly unlikely to give you a detailed picture of the day to day lives of another family. Unless you are extremely close with this other couple, best to keep you “well meaning” comments to yourself.
Until you have walked a day in my shoes, do not cast judgement. It is something we all should live by. We all think we are better at parenting than others, but truth is, we are all just getting by. Day by day. Ultimately our aim is the same. To raise well rounded, educated, considerate, compassionate, upstanding members of society. How I get them there is my business.