I have a problem that’s bothered me for over four years now. The longer it sits and festers, the worse I feel about it. The worse I feel about myself – and certain others. I want to make this problem go away, but have no idea what to do, without hurting someone.
While pregnant with our first we were given advice. Unwanted advice. Advice that went against all current research. Advice that was at least twenty-five years old. We smiled and nodded and figured it didn’t matter if we listened or not, it wasn’t anyone’s business, but our own, how we parented.
It never occurred to us that we’d have to deal with that decision for the next 4+ years. Why, I ask myself, didn’t I tell the person they were wrong and that we neither appreciated, nor wanted their advice?
I didn’t, because my husband has a more gentle soul than I do. He requested that I just keep quiet. This approach worked well with other advice givers. No point getting anyone upset with us when we’re entering a period of our lives when love, help, and support would be really beneficial.
Ryan really is wise sometimes. Though this decision has backfired a hundred times over. Even to the point of creating a lot of tension in our relationship. Now instead of merely trying to TELL us how to parent, the person in question tries to show us how to parent our own children.
Once Ella fell and scraped her hand (there was blood). She started to cry, so I picked her up and started to cuddle her. This person steps in and says, “Oh, no need to cry, you’re not hurt. Show us you’re a big girl.”
Ella rarely cries when she falls over, when she does it’s a big deal. She might be tired or hungry, unable to cope with spills as easily, but she could also be hurt. Either way, if her first reaction is crying, I respond. She might be hurt more than seems apparent to me. Even if she isn’t, I can’t tell her how much pain she feels. Telling a crying child there’s no reason to cry is cruel. Obviously they feel like there’s a reason. Who am I to tell my child whether she should feel sad, angry, happy, or indifferent?
Personally, if I fall hard enough to bleed, I cry. So why is a toddler expected to ‘suck it up’?
I can understand waiting to react, until you know what a small child’s reaction might be. Some children look to mom and dad to find out how to respond in a certain situation. I do the same thing. No point in panicking if my little girl isn’t upset. However if she is upset, I respond.
There are other ways this person tries to show, or tell us how to parent. We have very different ideals. We also want very different outcomes. But even if we wanted the same outcome, it doesn’t mean we’d have to do things the same way. After all science has since proven certain methods of parenting are more successful than others.
Ultimately it comes down to the fact that these are my children. I am their mother, I might take advice from some people, but it is my choice to accept or not. Just as others can take my advice or not.
My question for you is: When someone (close friend or family member) doesn’t take the hint to back off, how do you tactfully tell them to mind their own business and to respect your way of parenting?