Family Matters
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Unsolicited Advice

Hi, heading into the holidays, does anyone have any advice for me regarding unsolicited advice from family members? Certain family members do this to me all the time.  I know it comes from a good place, they are trying to help but it makes me feel like they think I am incapable and honestly it hurts my feelings.  Any tips would be appreciated!  Thanks!!!

Re: Unsolicited Advice

  • Yikes!  I usually just nod my head and say "ok" to my family when they do that (which is very seldom) and let it roll right off my back.  At least I avoid arguments that way.  ;)
    [IMG]http://i42.tinypic.com/x200p0.jpg[/IMG]
  • Smile and nod unless they're starting to get rude and then you find a way to say "please don't speak to me like that." 
    .
  • What advice are they giving you that hurts your feelings so much?
  • Mostly it's about my kids. I should do this, I shouldn't do that, my sister does this, blah, blah, blah. It just frustrates me- there is so much I don't know, and am always on parenting boards, reading books, asking friends, but it feels like the stuff they advise me on is stuff I feel like I have a handle on.  I never say anything- I smile and say thank you for your opinion.  I just got frustrated b/c I made a montage of  the kids pictures for Christmas and was advised that it was nice but I should have used different music.  After a few hours of work, that was frustrating to hear.  I just wish I had something to say.  I guess I'm just venting, 
  • image carolineh:
    I just got frustrated b/c I made a montage of  the kids pictures for Christmas and was advised that it was nice but I should have used different music. 
    Wow.

    So, you have FOUR kids, the oldest being 6, and your family finds it necessary to give you advice?! 

    Depending on who it is, maybe it's time to push back.  I think being gentle about it, and trying to do it in a private moment would be nice - but stop the person and say "Look, I appreciate that you want to help.  But w/ 4 kids, I feel confident in my abilities as a mom.  I need to ask that you back off on the advice.". 

    Or in the moment when others are around, something like "Thanks, but I'm doing o.k. w/ that (whatever it is)".  They push?  "Again- I'm fine.  THanks" and if necessary, change the topic or walk away.....

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image carolineh:
    It just frustrates me- there is so much I don't know, and am always on parenting boards, reading books, asking friends, but it feels like the stuff they advise me on is stuff I feel like I have a handle on. 
    I actually want to address this. The way you write this it makes you sound insecure.  I think that may come off to others.  

    I have a friend who was pretty insecure about her parenting and she told me about a situation that happened to her once in a store.  She kind of stumbled over herself in responding to the people who were trying to be nice - but I think if she had been more confident in herself as a mom, the "helpful moms" in that situation wouldn't have been so apt to give her advice. 

    Obviously I don't know- I don't know you or how you are as a person.  But just the comment above made me think of this. That's where my previous advice comes from. I think if you can be direct and relatively forceful in your "Thanks, but keep it to yourself", peopel may really back off.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • ECB said exactly what I wanted to say; and I second her advice heartily. A big smile, with no humor behind it, and a brisk "Thanks, but we've got that covered" is fine.

    And really? If people want to kibbitz, give them a job to do. Don't like the food you're feeding Little Oscar? Hand Little Oscar to them and say "Well I am sure YOU"LL do a much better job than me; poor Oscar suffers so under my feeding incapacity" and WALK OFF. Dont like how you change diapers? THEY CAN DO IT.

    I don't put up with much criticism, if you can't tell.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • image EastCoastBride:

    image carolineh:
    It just frustrates me- there is so much I don't know, and am always on parenting boards, reading books, asking friends, but it feels like the stuff they advise me on is stuff I feel like I have a handle on. 
    I actually want to address this. The way you write this it makes you sound insecure.  I think that may come off to others.  

    I have a friend who was pretty insecure about her parenting and she told me about a situation that happened to her once in a store.  She kind of stumbled over herself in responding to the people who were trying to be nice - but I think if she had been more confident in herself as a mom, the "helpful moms" in that situation wouldn't have been so apt to give her advice. 

    Obviously I don't know- I don't know you or how you are as a person.  But just the comment above made me think of this. That's where my previous advice comes from. I think if you can be direct and relatively forceful in your "Thanks, but keep it to yourself", peopel may really back off.

     

    You're right.  I am a nervous person naturally and I try so hard to be the best mom, and sometimes I do end up second guessing myself. I am also the baby of a big family so they feel totally comfortable telling me what to do.  I am sure that is the genesis of this.  Thanks for pointing that out to me, it will give me a little more patience!  And if it gets to the point where I need to push back, I will.  I really appreciate all the replies, especially yours.  thanks!

  • image Sue_sue:

    ECB said exactly what I wanted to say; and I second her advice heartily. A big smile, with no humor behind it, and a brisk "Thanks, but we've got that covered" is fine.

    And really? If people want to kibbitz, give them a job to do. Don't like the food you're feeding Little Oscar? Hand Little Oscar to them and say "Well I am sure YOU"LL do a much better job than me; poor Oscar suffers so under my feeding incapacity" and WALK OFF. Dont like how you change diapers? THEY CAN DO IT.

    I don't put up with much criticism, if you can't tell.

     

     

    I guess!  I need a little more of you in me, lol!!!!  Thanks for your advice!

  • Try it, with a smile; and you'll be shocked at how fast it works. Everyone is happy to tell you how YOU should be doing it; no one wants to actually do it themselves.

     

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • image Sue_sue:

    Try it, with a smile; and you'll be shocked at how fast it works. Everyone is happy to tell you how YOU should be doing it; no one wants to actually do it themselves.

     

    Bingo!!  This advice works for everything in life, not just parenting.

  • image carolineh:
    I try so hard to be the best mom, and sometimes I do end up second guessing myself.
    But you've got 4 kids!  You know what you're doing.  You've got to have confidence in yourself!!

    I think through confidence, you'll be able to push back in a non- aggressive but firm way. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • A couple things from the peanut gallery.

    When I was a new mom I joined playgroups and mommy groups in hopes of meeting like-minded women. What i learned was A: it was like a jungle. They can smell fresh meat and LOVE to try and pick on who they feel is the weakest link. B: Many of these people are the types that only feel better about themselves if they've intimidated someone into wetting themselves. C: They may be put off by you, but you need to assert yourself, even if it's not something you feel comfortable doing.

    I'm not shy or nervous, but I do look like a Barbie doll, especially after I had my ds and I was nursing. I'm short, naturally blonde, naturally large chested, and usually pretty happy and smiling. People seem to take this as a cue to attack. What they don't seem to expect is the fact I have a booming, deep voice, and do not sound like Muffy or Bunny. Be pointed about it, even turn in to them, look them right in the eyes, and make sure you reply with something succinct. 

     

    *Thank you for your opinion, I don't recall asking for it.*

    *I will make a note of it, and then you can make a note to wait until your advice is solicited.* 

    *You know the best advice? The solicited kind.* 

    *Thanks for your help, but I have this.*

    I can only think of so many things that aren't, "Mind your own business." :) 

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Anniversary
  • image EastCoastBride:

    image carolineh:
    I try so hard to be the best mom, and sometimes I do end up second guessing myself.
    But you've got 4 kids!  You know what you're doing.  You've got to have confidence in yourself!!

    I think through confidence, you'll be able to push back in a non- aggressive but firm way. 

    I'm not a mom, but I generally think ECB's got her stuff together, and she's right on here. You're doing a GREAT job I am sure, and you should be more confident in that! Once you're putting off an air of confidence I wonder if people will be so quick to throw out unsolicited advice. 

     

    Oh, and to the PP, I love, "You know the best kind of advice? The solicited kind." I seriously hope I am hardcore enough to use that some day! 

  • I have a SIL that does this to me.  I got her to stop by replying to her advice, with a smile on my face, with "Oh, Jane, it's so cute how you think I care about your opinion."  And when she would reply with something like "I was only giving my opinion" or "I was only trying to help" I would answer "I'm sorry, but I don't remember asking for any advice."
    image
  • Anyone remember Look Who's Talking? Kirstie's rant is something I've always wanted to redistribute into one of my own...

     "I've expelled something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon, I think I know what I'm doing, and even if I don't PISS OFF!" 

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Anniversary
  • Fake it 'til you make it.

    If you ACT confident, and you cut off the advice-givers with a smile and a "Thanks, but I've got it," instead of getting nervous and flustered, they will back off.

    I was 23 when I started teaching high school juniors and seniors.  Quite a few of them were bigger than me; quite a few of them thought a young female teacher was going to be a pushover.  And yes, I was young and inexperienced and scared.  But I NEVER let them see my nerves.  I acted like I was 100% confident in myself, and it worked -- they fell right in line!

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • Offer unsolicited advice back, and then look surprised when they get offended.  Example:

    Aunt Sally:  Oh, Caroline, you should use Oxy-Clean on your whites instead of bleach.

    You:  Thanks, Aunt Sally.  Did you ever think of getting rid of all the 1970s plaid in your decor?

    Aunt Sally:   Why would you say something like that?

    You: (with a sweet, innocent look) Oh, I thought that's what we were doing.  Sorry.

    image
  • image scherza:

    Fake it 'til you make it.

    If you ACT confident, and you cut off the advice-givers with a smile and a "Thanks, but I've got it," instead of getting nervous and flustered, they will back off.

    When SS first moved in with us, I was very unsure of myself.  Everyone gave me "advice."  I felt like the most incompetent person on earth.  After a week of feeling like a failure, FI said "you are doing great and no one can say less than that."  Once I started feeling better about my ability to parent, the comments stopped.

    A few weeks into the school year, BIL said "I think you should handle homework... blah, blah."  I looked him directly in the eye and said "thanks, and when your daughter is SS's age, you can handle it that way." 

     

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