Parenting

Why you should keep your parenting advice to yourself

My son didn’t sleep through the night until he was 7 or 8 months old. People back then thought that he was too old to be waking up. They said that I should let him cry it out. They said to switch him to formula.

My daughter is almost a 1 year old and she is no where near sleeping through the night. As you may have guessed, people say the same thing this time.

I don’t always handle her sleeplessness with poise and grace.

I sometimes doubt myself during the seamlessly endless nights.

However, I will not let her cry it out. I will not switch her from breast milk to formula. I will stick it out for her, like I did for her brother.

Why?

Because that is my choice.

Because I made the commitment to her and to myself that I would.

Furthermore, if you decide that you want to let your child cry it out, or that you want to use formula, I will support you in that decision. Because that is your choice.

No one has ever walked up to me and told me that I should drive and different car. Or that I should wear a different color shirt. Or buy a different style of shoes.

So why are people so comfortable telling me how to raise my baby? Why is it that we, as a society, think that it is ok to spout off our unsolicited advice as parenting law?

We all do it, if we are being honest with ourselves. We all scoff at the idea that someone else’s parenting style is better than our own. After all, if we agreed with them, then that is what we would be doing too.

What our fellow parents really need is support. Empathy. Not criticism, or judgement.

I have been working on this in my own life. When a friend comes to me with a tale of parenting woe, I listen, and I try to cheer them up. I remind them that they are doing the best they can. I remind them that all things are temporary.

I hold back the advice until it is asked for.

Categories: Parenting

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