How to deal with unsolicited advice (including this one)

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I´ve been trying to reach a friend that has a six-month baby. It was impossible to find her on the phone, on skype but finally she succumbed to my pleas of hearing from her on the infamous Face Book (it´s true it connects friends after all, I like it to find fun articles).

She then admitted that she was kind of hiding. She doesn´t know how to deal with all the advice people give to her about raising her baby. And you probably know this too: people give too much advice on raising children.

I don´t know how it works where you come from, but here in Brazil and in most latin cultures, it´s super common that people don´t only give unwanted advice all the time, they check on you to see if you are doing what they told you. Isn´t that insane?

No wonder my friend came up with this effective strategy of shutting everyone off for a while. Maybe that´s and advice for everyone to take: hide from people so you don´t need to hear what they have to say about your parenting.

Getting unsolicited advice really sucks. Not just because the advice might suck itself, but especially because they usually come from people you like and respect and therefore you will pay attention to all the stupidity they might be offering you.

Without being much aware, you might even follow crazy advice because you are not sure of how to handle situations better. And well, the first information that fell on our lap (possibly from a stupid warm advice) might be the one you will use.

Pay Attention – connect with the advice before you take it

This world of unsolicited advice requires us to watch carefully what we listen to. Before promising to take someone´s advice, before taking it as an option for yourself try this advice:

1. Pay attention to what you feel at the moment the advice is given to you. You might be a bit unsure if you should co-sleep or not with your baby and then someone says to you: “This is going to spoil your son forever, have separate rooms the earlier you can!”. Check your feelings first. If you feel that you are spoiling your kid already, than the felling matches the advice and you can consider taking it. If you feel like maybe co-sleeping doesn´t spoil anyone and in fact it looks like the more natural thing for you to do, then gently ignore the advice.

2. When you hear an advice that catches your attention, research on the subject later anyway. This is my fourth tip on 7 survival tips for single moms: read and educate yourself. Go after trustworthy sources like books, latest studies and researches on the internet, ask professionals in the field and so on. Don´t do things blindly. Sure you don´t need too much information to add to your already busy life, but we are talking about things you are not so sure here, so it´s worth taking a deeper look at it.

3. If you are not very focused on the conversation, simply ignore it. Don´t let your mind get this extra information unless you can process it (pay attention to what you believe in and in your feelings). Accumulating a lot of advice in the back of your mind will just add to your normal insecurities as a parent.

We are in the age of knowledge that keeps expanding exponentially.

“Most of the information now is less than fifteen years old. In certain fields of science alone (for example physics), knowledge is said to double every 8 years. The scientific information explosion extends to everyday areas of knowledge – health, child development, nutrition and the like.” (Robert B. Cialdini – Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion)

With such a fast change in knowledge the advice we get here and there are most likely to be obsolete. Pay attention to not let advice add up to your natural frustrations and insecurities.

Instead, be aware when you receive advice, ignore most of them and take the ones that make you feel good (preferably after some research). And of course, be my guest to ignore this whole post too J In fact I´ll finish with this quote:

“Learning to ignore is one of the great paths to inner peace”. Robert J. Sawer, Calculating God

How do you deal with unsolicited advice?

Photo Credit

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on January 20, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


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