Did I ask for your opinion?
Posted Thursday 3rd October 2013 By Ericka Waller
So the BBC have been debating why some parents do not welcome advice from non-parents. I can tell you the answer right now, it’s because it’s none of their business. That said, nor is it the business of fellow parents.
I could not care less how other people parent. I don’t care if they breast or bottle fed, or how long they breastfeed for. (My only exception to this is that documentary about the woman breastfeeding an eight-year-old and that magazine article about a woman who breastfed her dad.)
The fact that someone else is also a mother or father does not mean that:
A: I will have anything in common with them
B: It’s appropriate/welcome/acceptable to give me unsolicited advice about my children or my parenting techniques (slightly ambitious use of the word technique. Parenting attempts probably more realistic)
C: It’s OK to judge me (and of course vice-versa)
Don’t get me wrong. I do sometimes ask other parents for advice. Normally though, it goes like this.
Me: Do you notice that your children bite each other more when it’s a full moon?
Other person: No. My children are very sensitive to each other’s needs. Perhaps it’s because you had them so close together?
Me: Is it OK for a child to exist on a diet of party sausages and strawberry lip balm?
Other person: No. My children all live on the organic food we grow ourselves. They would not know how to open a packet.
Me: Is it normal for a child to beg to sleep in the dog cage (and drink out of his water bowl?)
Other person: No. There is something wrong with your kids.
In my experience, when it comes to parenting, a problem shared is not a problem halved. It’s a chance to brag about your own child and wonderful child-rearing skills.