Mommybites is a site for parents and, as such, it is a site to help parents, so here ya go. Send this as a mass email, post it on Facebook and Twitter. Share with the world. Enlighten and remind folks just what you don’t need as a parent of a young child – or two or three of them. Happy New Year!
I know that you are all well meaning folks out there, and kind and wonderful, but PLEASE STOP:
Saying to parents of young children, “These are the best times, cherish them.”
Really? Really? Perhaps your kids are grown and out of the house, or teens who won’t talk to you, and that is why it is easy to wax nostalgic about the younger years. But you forget a lot. A lot. You forget the sleeplessness, tantrums, wiping of backsides, the dressing of said tantruming children.
Best times? Parents who hear this want to blast you into oblivion with their laser vision. OK, they would if they possessed such a power. They truly hope that this is not the best. It’s not that they don’t adore their kids and love their small, round faces and think that they are cute – it is just so exhausting. Yes, these are fun times, but when you see a parent struggling with a fighting, yelling child who just won’t keep his shoes on in 40 degree weather, please keep your opinions and comments to yourself about what are the “best times” of one’s life.
“Helping” parents with the tantruming child
Every time someone gives a tantruming child sad eyes, the blood starts to boil, and you want to scream, “NO. NO, NO. No sad eyes!!! He is crying because the ice melted in his drink, rendering it undrinkable and only home ice, not mall ice, will do!” Well-meaning and kind folks, you might think that you are helping by trying to cheer up a child or sympathize with him. You might even give words of advice to the frazzled parent. Yes, seemingly helpful, and thank you for the thought, but you are, in fact, not being helpful. You are making the parent feel bad about his parenting, guilty, embarrassed and, in many cases, undermining the parent.
Sure, help a parent when she can’t hop a curb with her stroller, or hold a door for a parent with two kids in tow, but leave a tantruming child be. If you really do want to help, here is the phrase for you: “We have all been there. Need anything?”
Giving parents unsolicited advice about breast feeding, child’s meals, discipline, or anything else
“You don’t breastfeed?” “You are breastfeeding right here?” “You know that comes in organic right?” “You really shouldn’t let her do that.” “Whats the big deal if he wants to throw that? It’s OK.” Everyone has a right to her own opinion, but sometimes those opinions can be kept inside one’s head. Let’s be real here – no one likes unsolicited advice, whether it is about work, friendships, life or relationships, but still we feel we can give our two cents to parents.
Every child is different, every parent is different, every family is different – so there is no one right way to do anything. Getting unsolicited advice from strangers or even friends (who have had kids just about as long as you have) can create uncomfortable situations. Basically, you are telling that parent that she is doing something wrong, but you know the better way, you know what is best for her family. If you do have a thought, ask if you can give an idea: “I was in this same situation, do you want to hear what I tried?” Be ready for a “No” because not all advice is wanted.
I do not want to discourage kindness or community. A village is needed to raise kids. Just please folks, when encountering parenting situations, please take a moment to think about your next move. Will it be helpful? Non-judgmental? Is it something that you would have liked someone to do for you? Take a look… is it on this list?
Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.