Real Talk

How to Deal with Unsolicited Advice and Comments as Parents

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Getting unsolicited advice and comments about our parenting from family, friends, and especially strangers can be triggering. Here’s how to deal with it.

Being part of a big Filipino family has its pros and cons. On one hand, you automatically have a village to help raise and take care of your children. But on the flip side, although they mean well and come from a place of love most of the time, they tend to give unsolicited advice or comments — something that adds to your stress and anxiety. While it’s easy to brush off most of these comments, some might be bothersome or even offensive. And because in these scenarios, you’d rather maintain peace and avoid disrupting harmony in the family, you set your feelings aside instead.

However, setting your feelings aside may do you more harm than good — especially in the long run — because it can lead to anger and resentment. It also shows lack of respect for yourself. So aside from learning to set boundaries, here’s how to deal with unsolicited advice and comments from loved ones.

A girl tries to figure out how to deal with unsolicited advice

How to Deal with Unsolicited Advice and Comments

Remember that just because they’re family or a close friend, it doesn’t give them a free pass to disrespect your boundary or make you feel unworthy. Consider your relationship with them or their motive. Again, they often come from a place of love and concern. But if the conversation is making you feel uncomfortable, you have the voice and the power to say, “No, thank you.”

1. When they tell your child, “Boys should not cry!” or “No, stop crying!”

You can politely tell them that crying is a healthy expression of feelings and that you don’t want to encourage your child to suppress his or her emotions.

2. “I appreciate your concern but we’ve discussed it with our pediatrician and we have it under control.”

This simple but powerful line can be used in multiple scenarios — especially when family or friends make comments about your child’s development.

3. When they say, “Your child needs to be spanked.”

Especially if you practice gentle parenting at home, you can reply, “Spanking is not for our family. We prefer to do what works for us.”

4. When they ask, “When are you having another child?”

This is particularly triggering for moms who are undecided or are done having children for a variety of reasons. People who ask this may not realize how insensitive the question can be therefore it’s okay to answer, “Let’s talk about something else.”

5. When they complain, “Your child doesn’t want to hug me.”

If you’ve been teaching your child about boundaries and that he or she is in charge of their own body, refusing to hug a relative may come across as disrespectful to them. So it’s your job to remind that relative, “I know you missed her and want to hug her tight. We know you are a safe adult but we are teaching her that she is in charge of her own body.”

6. “I know you care about my child and it is okay to spoil her. But please do it within my boundaries.”

This line is so important, especially in moments when grandparents, Titos, and Titas tend to spoil your kids too much.

7. When they tell you, “You should teach your child a lesson.”

You can politely say, “Right now, my child is emotionally dysregulated. What she needs is my connection. I will address the behavior once she is calm.”

You can still be polite in dealing with unsolicited advice

At the end of the day, knowing how to deal with unsolicited advice and comments also models to your child how to set better boundaries for themselves. Lastly, your mental health matters. And having boundaries like these in place can help you become mentally and emotionally healthier.

Learned to deal with unsolicited advice from this? Read more helpful stories on Modern Parenting:

How Utang na Loob Made Filipino Families Toxic

8 Things to Say to a Crying Toddler Instead of “Stop Crying”

Filipino Tradition and Gentle Parenting According to a Child Development Coach

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