How to manage unwanted parenting advice

First published on Tuesday 14 February 2023

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When it comes to raising kids, people have LOTS of different opinions. From baby sleep to screen time, you’ll be offered tips from well-meaning friends and family, not all of it welcome. Here's how to shut down unwanted advice.

We’ve all got our own parenting styles and that’s to be celebrated – there’s a time and place for top tips. So how do you handle the well-intended but unwanted parenting advice without upsetting anyone?

1. Keep smiling

Those offering parenting advice almost always have good intentions. From sleep tips to feeding or baby weaning, they’ve usually done it all before and had parenting advice offered to them.

If you can, try not to get defensive. Instead, keep smiling and know that you’ve got this and are doing it just fine YOUR way.


2. Say thank you and goodbye

There are times when you reeeally don’t want parenting advice, no matter how well-intentioned. (Usually mid toddler tantrum, ugh).

When it's a stranger in a public place, it’s totally fine to shut them down politely and decisively. Something like, ‘Thank you for your advice, but we’re all good as we are’.

3. Set your filter

Within the parenting tips from those well-meaning grandparents or mum mates, there could well be a nugget of advice that works for your family. Listening with a smile and then filtering through what is useful (and what’s not) is a strategy that works AND keeps everyone happy.

And you never know, it might be helpful. During a 'Did you know you're changing your baby's nappy wrong' comment from a mum mate, one of our Netmums staffers was advised to switch brands to save money. And you know what … it worked! She discovere that using Aldi Mamia nappies can save almost £250 in the first year alone.

pram caution
Warning: advice might be coming your way!

4. Be confident

Every parent has different thoughts on the best way to raise kids. And that's okay, we're all AMAZING parents after all.

Have confidence in your own parenting choices so if someone asks why you’re doing something in a particular way, you can tell them. (If you want to that is: you can totally change the subject if you’d prefer.)

So whether it’s your bedtime routine (‘7pm lights out works great for us thanks’) or your screen time rules (‘We do it our way’), that's totally fine. It’s your child, your choice.

5. Be honest

Sometimes parenting advice, no matter that it’s coming from a good place, can make you feel you’re being judged. And it’s totally fine to say that it’s making you feel uncomfortable.

No one will be intending to upset you, and actually being honest sets out your boundaries. Who knows – next time you meet up they might be asking you for advice instead.

6. Offer YOUR advice

Being offered advice could be a way of starting a conversation and offering your parenting gems, too.

Whether that’s suggesting your own sleep tips or ideas for cutting costs (tbh that’s parenting advice we ALL want RN. Spoiler alert: one of the best ways is by switching to Aldi to save money), it turns what can feel like a judgement into a mutual sharing of ideas. Win, win.

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