Wednesday, 01 February 2012
For reasons that I don't think could ever be explained people feel that they have every right to tell you how to be a parent. It starts at pregnancy and never seems to end. Many people seem to think that their way is not only the right way, but the best and only way to do things, and they will tell you so. Even when you have a good argument for why you do something the way you do these people just don't care.
The first time I ever came across a person like that I was about 7 months pregnant. I was with my mom and one of my friends getting a coffee. We were waiting for our coffees to be made and a lady at the counter who was about to order made a snide comment that she didn't know pregnant women were allowed to have caffeine. We all informed her that yes, women are now allowed to have some caffeine during pregnancy. I mean really, what I choose to drink wasn't any of her business. I had never met the woman before in my life.
For us the comments picked up after Nick was born. I really wouldn't have been surprised to have people make comments on the fact that we were formula feeding and using disposable diapers, but we were saved from such thoughts. Instead we hear comments about how we aren't parenting correctly.
People love to lump babies into a category and they feel that all babies are the same. They feel that babies should all reach milestones at a specific time, and that babies should do everything the same. The fact of the matter is that they don't and they shouldn't. Every baby is different, and what works for one baby may not work for another. As long as what a parent is doing works for the baby, and the baby is happy, than nothing else should matter. The problem is that people always forget that fact. They'll tell you that your child is not sleeping because you're not doing this, or they cry a lot because of that.
Parents have to develop a tough layer of skin, because it's hard having to hear people pretty much say that you are a bad parent because you're doing, or not doing, something. When someone is giving unwanted advice the parent has to decide whether to tell them off (while other parents mentally cheer for them), or just smile and nod and not deal with the situation. It can be very difficult to shake off the feelings that can evolve from such a situation though.
At the end of the day though what every mom and dad needs to remember though is that they are the parent. They decide how they want to raise their children. No one knows a child as well as a parent does. Many people think that they know how someone should raise their child, but mom and dad always know best.
Now I'm not saying all advice is bad. I have received a lot of good advice from friends and family. Usually that advice isn't to tell me how to be a good parent because they think that I'm not doing it right though.
To those that want to offer unwanted advice I say, "thanks, but I'll do it my own way."