“You know what would help your kid?”
Annnnnd no. Let me stop you right there. Unless you’re a pediatrician, psychologist or one of my close friends, don’t even try it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t want help with issues with my kids. But here’s the difference. Let me ask you for your opinion. I’m sure little Janey eats all her vegetables, goes to sleep without a fuss and we should nominate you to be on the cover of Time magazine for mother of the year. But as much as you think you’re helping, in most cases, you’re not. What you don’t realize is you can make that person feel inferior and offended.
I once had a lady tell me that I was holding my baby wrong and that I should hold her upright while I was checking out at Michaels in front of a few other people. Well at the time, my daughter was having bad reflux issues and I was holding her at an angle and face down. I told her thank you for her opinion but she was fine. She then huffed and mumbled something to her husband who shook his head at me. At the time I had only been a mom for 3 months and I wasn’t confident enough to defend myself on why i was holding her that way. But I remember feeling like I was going to start crying right there.
When unwanted opinions are given, especially when frustration levels are high, it can be interpreted as rude. Plus, you don’t know what someone may be going through in their life when you pass on that advice. For instance, that lady had no idea I was dealing with bad postpartum depression.
Then there’s the time when I took my kid to the playground and my daughter wasn’t listening to me to stay off a certain piece of equipment. A random mom at a playground told me what I needed to do to get my child to listen to me. Which yes, that was and still is a daily issue I have. But she called me out in front of other moms and in front of my daughter. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well with me.
Face it, we all know what it’s like to bang your head against the wall with a seemingly endless issue we’re having with our kids. We google, read books, talk to doctors and visit the local psychic to see what her crystal ball says. But in most cases, it’s just a phase that in time will pass. What may work for one kid, may not work for another. Or the problem you think i’m having, I may not even think is a problem. However, to offer unsolicited advice to a stranger is pretty rude.
I’ve been in a few situations that I thought I could offer some help on, but I keep my mouth shut unless i’m asked. Each of us have been through a lot of experiences that could benefit others. We all have strengths and weaknesses and it’s up to each person to request help with their own issues if they want it.
For instance, I think i’m awesome at teaching my kid stuff, showing affection and disciplining. And I know I suck at yelling all the time, having patience, getting my daughter to eat any of her meals in less than an hour, cursing more than I’d like to in front of her…well…let’s just stop there. Yikes. Anyways, I know I’m far from perfect.
When I feel like I need help, I ask for it from friends and then my local fb mom group. But when I do that, I’m ready for the criticism because I want the help. But if I see another mom struggling with her kid to get him to not talk back or whatever else, I know I’m not going to give any advice unless it’s brought up to me first.
We all have good tips to help each other but there’s a time, place and a way to do it while being respectful of that person. Now I’m off to go bring up all the issues I listed above with my close trusted friend Pinot Grigio. She always makes me feel better.