When you’re trying to do the best job you can to parent, you’ll soon realize that everyone thinks they’re an expert on how you should look after your child. This can relate to a child of any age from a few months to a teenager or young adult. Don’t let the mom-shaming affect your confidence to know you are doing what’s best for your child.
It’s not just a case of ‘mommy knows best’ everyone from the neighbor to your best friend will be there to offer advice, invited or not, which ultimately is defined at times as a form of mom-shaming.
Here are some comments you may be familiar with:
*”Don’t you think you they’re getting a bit hot with all those layers on?”
*”Do you think he/she is hungry again? You only just finished a feed.”
*”Don’t keep picking him/her up, they’ll get too clingy.”
*Don’t keep putting him/her down. They’ll feel you aren’t there for them.”
*”If you don’t teach your child to sleep/ have respect/ discipline/ eat in a cycle, they’ll never learn.”
I bet your head is spinning with all the criticism! How do you deal with all this ‘advice’ everyone is so kind as to give you so freely?
Guidance parenting is all about looking after your child with no reward and punishment. It’s about having an equal relationship with your child. And as a result, a lot of people cannot grasp the concept of how this works. Sending your kids to the naughty corner or withholding privileges to enforce behavior is unfortunately still very much the norm for many parents. So first of all, well done for stepping out into the brave new world.
When you choose to do things differently, you can become defensive. And they can too. After all, the crux of your parenting style is you are raising emotionally healthy kids. Which suggests to them they aren’t. There is going to be some conflict.
The problem is, the winner of this argument is going to be a long time coming. Children take a lifetime to raise. So how can you demonstrate at that moment, your way is better? At that moment, your child may be arguing and whinging, while your friend’s kid stops complaining of the count of four. You can’t fast forward and demonstrate in that instant, your child will be a much more adjusted teenager.
And there is no doubt when threatened with punishment, that child will ‘do as their told’ a lot faster than yours as you try to work through what could be causing the upset.
Added to this is when someone questions how you parent, you begin to ask yourself. The majority of us were brought up on reward and punishment. So could you actually be accidentally spoiling your kid without realizing it?
When you feel the fear, remember that there have now been decades of research proving that while kids need guidance, they take ownership of their limits when they feel safe.
The first option is you never complain about what someone says to you. And you never explain. You can tell them: “Yes, parenting can be tough, can’t it?” However, know in your heart you are making the right decision with your approach.
What you can do to calm the situation…
If there is an ongoing ‘incident’ you are trying to handle, there are several ways you can deal with it.
It may be your child has had a confrontation with another kid. The other family is expecting ‘a punishment.’ However, that is not what you do. You can help your child make it right by apologizing for them while still physically in contact.
Don’t punish your child and instead take them aside so you can find out exactly what went on. Empathize with the difficulty of the situation and see how your child feels. Repair so much more effective in this instance than a punishment.
To alleviate a ‘situation’ happening, you can have a chat with your kids before they go to a social gathering. You can set limits but do it in a kind and funny way.
Some guidelines you can give them are:
*Look after smaller children
*Stay in the sights of adults and if someone calls, go to them
*Everyone needs to have a fair turn
*You can disagree but always show understanding and be kind
And if your child does have a meltdown, take them away. In a social situation, especially when there is candy, cake, and a ton of other stimulants, things can get fraught. For your child to feel safe, they have to be on their own. Just explain your kid needs some alone time with you.
How Can You Respond to Criticism of Your Parenting?
There will be the inevitable questions on how you explain your guidance parenting technique. Try connecting with your friend or relative and tell you both love your children. Then you can explain your approach and say it’s rooted in recent research, which means different methods can be much more beneficial.
Remember, if you asked for help, it might be that you didn’t like the answer you got. Always clarify what you need and ask for their support of your decision. And if you ask for advice, remember you need to be vulnerable in receiving it.
“I never thought about it like that”
Be careful not to deliver this with too much sarcasm as it could get taken the wrong way! You can respond: “Thanks so much for that. I never realized if I just put my kid in the time-out that would completely change the way they respond to me.”
“How would you like to look after my kids?”
This is not meant to be delivered with sarcasm, instead of as a joke. However, no one knows what it’s like to look after your children unless they look after your children. Then their advice may be very different.
The Smile And Wave Approach
Yes, you can flash them a polite teeth clenched smile. Look like you are really taking their wisdom to heart. It may be hard, but it will save an argument!
“They’re Just Having a Bad Day”
This is a bit of a failsafe response when you are too tired, too busy to explain why you are doing something a certain way. As parents, we are comfortable in our own ability to deal with a situation. It’s easier to respond with this than enter into a full-blown discussion. However, I recommend you do this out of earshot of your child. You are trying to encourage them to explain to you what is triggering their external reaction internally.
“This is How I do it”
You can explain why you’re asking your child to respond to you and explain why they are screaming/ crying/ refusing to do something. That would are an advocate of guidance parenting. However, be prepared for the deliverer of the pearls of wisdom. If they are unfamiliar with the technique, to be perplexed/ confused by your reasoning. Then still yourself for them to ‘set you right!’
If you seek more advice on guidance parenting, my online course is starting again on September 28th, 2020. You can learn more about it here.
And if you enjoyed this blog post, check out my other blog post, which is all about what your child really means when they are acting up.
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.