‘Why are you giving your child bottle feed? Why don’t you use diapers during the day, it’s convenient?’, ‘Your child looks very skinny, you don’t seem to know what is the right diet for her? During our time, we used to do these things for our children…’ – the list of unsolicited advice and criticism on your parenting can be endless. And frustrating, depressing, and unwanted, making you feel helpless and at a receiving end all the time, especially if you are a first-time parent. What to do when others judge your parenting?
Most of the time it is impossible to escape the judgment passed on your parenting skills. But if left like that, it gives people the indication that they can walk over you and shower you down with their supposedly unlimited store of knowledge on parenting. But for the sake of your peace of mind at times you need to take a stand and do or say something.
Some solutions on what to do when others judge your parenting:
1. Differentiate between genuine advice and unsolicited, hurtful ones
If the shower of advice and criticism is from elders in the family, especially the mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, it is not possible to reply to them. The best strategy would be to keep quiet and let the information flow, without letting it affect you. One needs to learn to sift the information one gets according to one’s needs. First, try and understand if the advice or the criticism coming your way is genuine and comes from a caring heart or it is just simply to look down upon you. Once you understand the intention, it will be easy to accept the judgment you receive on your parenting skills.
2. Ask yourself- Did you invite the comment?
Many a time, without realizing we allow people to advise, lecture, and criticize us. And if it is because of that, accept and figure out ways to block any such future encounters. And if it is a situation where the criticism given is not acceptable to you, then express in clear words, without being rude, what kind of help or advice you were looking for.
3. Check your reaction
Sometimes it happens, based on one’s mood, we react differently to different situations. In this case as well, before you start feeling you were harshly judged and criticized, check if you are not looking for too much-hidden meaning. Check if the advice given to you will benefit you. Check if you have gone on the defensive mode.
4. Is the criticism about a topic that you are too sensitive about?
Parenting kids today is already a very difficult task and if one hears an unwarranted comment about an issue one is already very frustrated about, it can blow the top. So if a topic or situation about your child that really bothers you, has been touched upon, state firmly but calmly how you feel about it.
5. Take it in your stride
Most situations that you cannot control is better to shrug off and take it in your stride. Understand it is basic human nature to advise without being asked, and criticizing others’ actions makes people feel empowered. If such is the case, become nonchalant and do what you feel is right. Don’t get worked up and become emotional. Because this is how people in general are.
Bringing up a child is a beautiful journey for every parent and the experience for each is never the same. Enjoy it, learn from it, and don’t get bogged down with anyone’s criticism. After all, it’s your baby.