The grandparents can be a source of help and invaluable support. They are experienced, because they have raised their own kids, and now they want to help you. But their parenting advice is old-dated and it often contradicts the way you want to raise your child. So how can you handle unsolicited parenting advice from grandparents?
There are many reasons, why your grandparents give you their parenting advice. First of all, they want to help you, and they see, that you do something wrong. They have their own experience, that was based on the nutrition and raising advice of their times. And you will never believe, what our parents were doing to us when we were babies, only because pediatricians supported that idea!
Although you understand, that the parenting advice has changed, your parents don't. So you might have heard from your parents or in-laws, that your baby should start eating solid food, like bread crumbs with butter, at the age of four months, or holding your baby too much can spoil it etc. When your parents were raising you and your siblings, car seats were not supported as a safety measure. So if your parents are totally against the car seat, it doesn't mean, that you do something wrong, it's just because they use their own experience.
Arguing with grandparents over their unsolicited advice can spoil the relationship in your family. However, if you decide not to follow the advice, you upset the grandparents and feel awkward about it. At the same time you can't make grandparents stop giving their parenting advice and it drives you crazy. So how can you handle the situation?
Explain, why you can't follow grandparent's advice. Lots of things that were recommended at the times of your parents, are not recommended any more. Your parents and in-laws might insist, that their advice works, because you're doing fine right now. However, your task is to explain, why you don't want to follow them. For instance, use the recent recommendations of pediatricians and the research data, like sleeping on stomach can increase the risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Change the topic. If your explanation doesn't work and grandparents still give you advice, that you would never follow, change the topic of the conversation. It works well, but follow the rule, that you don't come back to the discussion of the advice.
Listen. Some people love giving advice just because they want to talk and share their own experience. Let your parent talk and listen carefully. However, no one tells you, that you need to follow the advice you've just heard.
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