How to Be a Dad

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Shut Mouth

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Shut Mouth Duct Tape Unwanted Parental Advice

How long will I to have to endure listening to unrequested parenting criticism and advice?

This past week someone close to us told us that my son evidently has a “discipline problem.” This information was delivered first to my wife (who almost lost it), after which I called Captain Commentary to see if I could clear up the misunderstanding. The critic launched into a solid hour of armchair quarterbacking. I paraphrase:

Your son, maliciously and premeditatedly, hurled a sippy cup at your wife’s head. On purpose. Following that, he went over to a younger cousin and hit him. Twice. On purpose. He is undisciplined and the sole cause of stress in your life.

This, after only 40 minutes of observation. He was barely 18 months old at the time. My son, not the critic.

My son getting booked in jail because I wouldn't discipline him.

You can imagine how shocked I was to hear that my giggling laugh-riot of a son was already on the road to petty larceny and war crimes. The resident toddlerologist is an adult with grown kids of their own. Their observations were unsolicited and completely out of the blue. My son’s maladjustment was just that severe, I guess. They went on to take issue that Finn wasn’t subsequently disciplined after the assault, even PLAYED WITH instead. The f**king horror. You’re right. I probably should have waterboarded him and set some of his toys on fire. I fought every urge in my body to launch my cell phone beyond the stratosphere and hit the satellite linking our phone call. I was a quiet storm inside.

When people make observations about your kids it’s easy to get defensive. A ‘who the f**k are you to judge my kid’ rage can erupt. I made a definite effort to keep my ear canals open so I could look at the statements honestly. I listened. I was diplomatic.

My mom and her grandson on the run. Incognito. Toddler style.

There’s a reason our site is named “HowToBeADad.com”. The title might confuse you at first. Parenting how-to’s are everywhere and they’re often just festering tubs of horse dung stinking up the minds of frightened parents. We are trying to satirize them. We didn’t want to tell you how to DO anything. If you need resources, you can find them. I love useful parenting tips or nuggets, but when someone comes at me with a “this is how it must be done” authoritarian attitude, my brow furrows. My fists might also clench. But let’s keep that between us.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a stubborn person. Blame it on my astrological sign, my upbringing or my uncanny good looks. I don’t really care. But that doesn’t make me immune to criticism. I don’t think I’m a perfect parent (as further explained HERE). Hell, I’ll be the first to say I’m not that great at it. I feel like I’m failing half the time and the other half, well, I’m too tired to even assess my own performance.

But let’s have a frank talk about parenting advice, shall we?

When you have a baby, you expect the doting commentary about their looks and unceasing requests to hold the baby. There’s also the occasional “Ohhh! I’m just going to steal your child!” As time passes, relatives and close friends start laying on the advice pretty thick. Some of it can be helpful but the majority can seem utterly unenlightening or border on insulting condescension. The suggestions can also have a tendency to turn into harsh moral judgments on you in a blink. The saddest part is that they were all probably borne out of some helpful intention, but there’s a particularly poisonous venom when these suck-gestions come from someone really familiar or close to you. Honestly, there should be a statute of limitations on prejudging other parents, or maybe a full-scale embargo on undesired counsel. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Growing up, as undisciplined bohemians, my brother and I were told not say “shut up” to each other. So, we invented a new phrase. “SHUT MOUTH!!” It was our way of being clever and rude when we couldn’t say what we wanted to tell each other.

This is where I’m at now. My son is amazing by my own standards and you should hope that people don’t scrutinize you sir, in this life, as hard as you’ve scrutinized my two-year old son.

SHUT MOUTH.

 

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83 Comments

83 Responses to “Shut Mouth”

  1. Tracy says:

    Ohhh, that makes my blood boil. It’s always someone with older kids, because they’ve managed to conveniently forget when THEIR kids bit others in the sandbox, or beaned a maraca at the baby’s head in music class. Hate that.

    • charlie says:

      Yeah, it’s like they get kidzheimers and disassociate from their entire PARENTING HISTORY.

      Kids have bad days. They have bad hours. 40 minutes? Come on.

  2. Amit says:

    First – watch this, boys are cool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTrCBcrFMCI
    Second – you are a parent, from now on the public thinks he OWN you, ppl think that if they ever raised a baby, was close to someone who raised a baby or just SAW a baby – he can tell you what to do – human nature.
    I stopped listening, they can huffed and they can puffed…

    • Amit says:

      urr – they can huff and they can puff

    • charlie says:

      It’s true. A parent is like a politician. Everyone takes swipes at them and thinks they aren’t doing their job correctly. But it would be a completely different situation if you were in their shoes. There are too many variables to comprehend.

      • Amit says:

        That’s why I am trying not to be like that when I am the outsider..
        If you would see the way my girls behave sometime? you would deff call the welfare authorities :- P (not really, but you know – it’s complected :) )

  3. Monica says:

    I love when you have friends that don’t have kids or they are about to have kids and they “know” more than you. It’s great. Nothing drives me crazier than someone without kids telling you how to raise yours. At least strangers I don’t have to see again.

  4. Adam says:

    How dare someone suggest disciplining a child! I thought we were past such tyrannical, fascist parenting practices.

    • charlie says:

      I’m pretty sure you’re being facetious, so let me handle that in two ways:

      ::IF YOU’RE A SNARK::
      Did you read ANY of my post? There definitely are fascistic, ridiculous ways of disciplining and shaming children. You probably employ them.

      ::IF YOU’RE BEING LITERAL::
      I would say discipline can take many forms. With a toddler, I’m apt to speak in a language they can hear. Locking them in a closet isn’t something they’d understand. Trying to put in place firm boundaries with communication takes more work but has a better payoff.

      Take your pick of answers, and let me know.

      • Adam says:

        I’ll take a little bit of both, because I was a little bit of both. But I do agree wholeheartedly with both your literal and snark response, which leads me to believe I may have gotten the wrong impression. I read your post and it made it seem as if there was no discipline in place at all (obviously details may be missing).
        If that’s not the case, forgive my misunderstanding. And all snarkiness aside, how do you go about setting those healthy boundaries?
        I do discipline my 10 month old son in ways that he can understand: a firm ‘no’, sometimes a slap on the hand with continued, deliberate disobedience. No closet-locking here, though.
        I recognize that discipline philosophy wasn’t the point of your post, but if one is to criticize others’ reactions he invites criticism of his own (myself included).
        Obviously such critiques are easy to make on the internet, but no, I would not go about sharing my judgements of others’ kids unless we have a deep relationship and understanding that has had a prior invitation to such input.

        • charlie says:

          Discipline means many different things to the masses.

          But I’m not criticizing discipline in this post, I’m criticizing the manner in which parenting criticism is delivered. I could’ve been talking about breastfeeding or diaper wearing or rodent hunting. The obsessive need to judge parents, without an accompanying level of understanding is my pet peeve. Everyone’s a frigging expert on the outside.

          At the risk of sounding instructional and thus violating our basic premise as a blog, I’ll say this: parents often overuse what they think is necessary to get their message across. Children do deliberately disobey, but in my case, my son is still finding his bearings. He’s a toddler. I have to find a balance in treating him like a grown person with human respect, and letting him know he still has growing up to do, and therefore still subject to my guidance.

          I have privileges as an adult that he will want. He has to earn them through growing up, and learning from us, helping out, etc.

          I’ve been able to do a lot with him though just by taking him aside, and using a lower, firm voice…

          …and a firehose.

          • Adam says:

            Oh ok, well as long as there’s a firehose involved… :)

            No really though, that’s great. I appreciate your response and, again, I know that’s not what the post was about. Sorry for getting it off topic.
            Keep up the good work.

          • Bella Mater says:

            To be fair: if I see some toddler hunting rodents for 40 minutes with no intervention, I will get a BIT snarky… jussayin’

          • Rich says:

            You’re criticizing criticism… I love it :-p

        • Slappy says:

          I once had someone blather on to me about the use of hand-slapping. Once in awhile, my two-year-old son’s hand gets slapped. Apparently that’s outrageous. What my critic didn’t realize is that I don’t use “a slap on the wrist” for things like my son throwing a fit – heck, if he starting rolling around in the grocery store aisle screaming, he’d be carried out of the store and talked to about his behaviour, but no corporal punishment. The ONLY time my son gets a slap on the hand is when he’s doing something dangerous, and doesn’t listen when I tell him no. If what he’s doing is potentially going to hurt him more than the slap on the hand, then I think it’s justified. Running out into the street and not coming back when I tell him, touching electrical outlets, things like that. I’ve been told that I’m ruining my child’s ability to express disappointment when I use hitting to get my point across. I like to think of it more as saving him a trip to the hospital, since a hand slap seems to stop the behaviour more than talking or yelling ever does.

          • happy day says:

            I couldn’t agree with you more Slappy! We don’t spank our son unless he’s going to put himself or someone else in danger. He’s two and a half so telling him no isn’t always effective. Besides, he’s still in diapers so it just scares him more than anything. I was spanked as a kid, and not just for doing things that could potentially harm me, but I never once resented my parents for that. That’s not the way we choose to discipline our son but parents need to decide what works best for them and their children, as long as it’s not crossing over into abuse.

  5. Christine says:

    That happens throughout pregnancy as well. “you should do this, and this and this, but never this oh never ever..” it gets to the point where expectant moms basically have to tell their relatives to shove it and leave them alone to get any peace. I’ve read through dozens of baby books, gone online, talked to my doctor and have a freaking printout of medicines I can and cannot take taped next to my bed. I CAN HANDLE THIS THANK YOU.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I think people with older children forget what kids are capable of at certain ages. It is totally normal for an 18 month old to occasionally throw tantrums. It is what they do. The parent should deal with it but sometimes that is best done through distraction – which others may see as play. Now if your 7 year old is throwing things at your wife’s head and hitting other kids that is more of a problem. And if you were a good friend I might say something but would at least try to find a way to do it with some tact.

    • charlie says:

      In the end, that is exactly what was missing: a good bridge built on tact and understanding. I’m not saying it’s unacceptable to have opinions. I’m saying it’s inappropriate to wage moral war on people over snippets of information and experience. We can’t just read the headlines and think we know the story.

  7. Maura says:

    Ooooh, this happened to me yesterday, sorta. It was just some stupid comment on the internets, somewhere, claiming there is no such thing as ADHD and if only I listened to and loved my daughter more, she wouldn’t need medication. My normal response is “pfft”, but this really p****d me off. Excuse me? Ask my two non-ADHD kids who gets the attention and patience around here! The decision to medicate our precious girl was agonizing, but we did it for HER, so she could have a fighting chance in life! She is no Stepford kid on meds; in fact, she gets to express her wonderful weird self in ways she never could before! Don’t tell me this is the easy way out for parents, because you don’t know sh**! At this point, I realized that *I* wasn’t properly medicated, and went to lay down. :-P

    • charlie says:

      It’s hard, no way around it.

      Parenting can seem like religion sometimes. Everyone has an opinion or a faith in what’s worked or hasn’t worked for them. When it comes to behavior stuff, there’s a certain amount of witch doctor-hood to it. We can assess symptoms but causes can only be deduced.

  8. Desiree says:

    I’ve don’t make these kinds of “helpful accusations”, even when I’m positive I’m right. It doesn’t change the parenting, it only makes that parent uninterested in having the hostile butthead around the kid anymore.

    You want to show me how it’s done? You better just lead by example, because my FU screen comes up the second someone tries to tell me I suck because my kid’s evil. Drastic action is taken to never see that person again.

    I do remember when my kids were little hell raisers. Parenting is amazingly hard work at his age, as with any toddler who isn’t destined for complacency.

    Don’t let the knowitalls get you down.

    • charlie says:

      Gracias, Des.

      I know you feel my pain. Raising a person and not a pet can be additional work, sometimes. But I’ll take it. I want Finn to know I respect him enough to allow him to have emotions but that I too have rights and he needs to respect those as well.

      Simple to say, but harder to do.

  9. Desiree says:

    Who volunteered to have duct tape across their mouth for the photo anyhoo?

  10. You’re right. I probably should have waterboarded him and set some of his toys on fire.
    Somebody needed to have his toys set on fire in this situation, but it wasn’t your son.

    ><

    A few months back, I took my son to my favorite little vegan restaurant. The little guy loves his fruits and veggies, and adores panang curry above all else. But occasionally, just occasionally, we'll have a cookies-and-carbs morning.

    On one such rare morning, Li'l D wandered up to a nearby patron and watched her eat her salad. She looked disapprovingly at our table and said, "I'm eating the green stuff, not that you know what that is!"

    I couldn't help it. I laughed. I laughed and laughed and laughed, and then I laughed some more at the startled look on her face.

    My mom got tons of commentary on how shitty a job she was doing parenting. When I was a teen (and not busy yelling at her), I'd say, "They can suck it. It's way too early to tell if you're doing it right!"

    Now, she's been gone a year and a half but you can damn well bet I am raising my son the same way she raised me and my three siblings. And I look forward to laughing in the face of anyone who dares try saying to me the things they say to her.

    'Cause if I'm laughing? Chances are I'm not punching them in the junk.

    • charlie says:

      Lol. First, the fact that you’re eating at a vegan restaurant and your kid loves panang is AWESOME. So hipster of you.

      I’m glad you laughed. I have a tolerance meter for inane comments at/toward my kid. When someone says (and I quote), “Oh, are you okay? Your parents aren’t loving you enough are they?” This was said with no smile on the person’s face. They were a clerk at a high-end store. If I were the Hulk, things would be turning very green.

  11. Melinda says:

    That’s when you need to tilt your head slightly, give the person spewing the “advice” a sanctimonious smile, and say, “Tell you what. Next time you are having sex with your wife/husband, I’ll come over and observe and then spend 15 minutes critiquing YOU. ’cause what you are doing to me right now? It’s just as rude, invasive, and inappropriate.”

    (I will never have a career at the State Department, if you were wondering…) :-)

  12. Christi says:

    My grandmother tells me repeatedly how spoiled my 6 month old son is…he’s only been on this planet for 6 months, lady! Shut mouth!

  13. Braindonkey says:

    Ah yes, the second joy of parenting. Joy number one, you kid of course. Joy number two, the 3rd party advice, commentary, over-reaction and generalized douchery of every other person around who cannot disconnect their brain from their mouth.

    I have come to realize that my goal in raising my daughter, other than the Chris Rock joke of keeping her off the pole, is to fail less at being a parent than the whiny self righteous failures who insist on commenting on my kid being a kid.

  14. Mary says:

    Let’s not forget children with special needs. My 4 year-old son has Autism, and occasionally has tantrums when we are out in public. I’m talking HUGE, insanely loud, kicking, screaming, laying in the middle of the street kind of tantrums. My son has a speech delay and is only partly verbal, so disciplining him is difficult at the best of times, and plus he has no fear of danger so I never know what he might do. I can’t tell you how many times people have stopped and stared, made faces at me, bonkers their car horn at me, and looked at me like they’re wondering why I can’t handle my own son. The worst is when people mutter comments (behind my back or to my face) that my son needs a good slap/spank, that he’s a spoiled brat, that I should show him who’s boss. I’m doing my best, people! 100% of the time people with autism experience offer to help instead of critisize, so that’s nice :)

  15. jenny says:

    Oh Charlie, just admit it. Your kid is a terror. And it’s awesome. :)

    From the parent of one terror to another… Keep doing a good job.

  16. Jayme says:

    The mother of a girl I’ve known since high school gave me some REALLY crappy, borderline insane advice on disciplining my daughter when she gets older (she’s 14 months now). Now, in high school, her daughter had a less than stellar reputation *ahem*. I was bothered by the uninvited parenting class, so I told her, in the sweetest voice I could muster, that while I appreciate the advice, having witnessed first hand what her “discipline” accomplished, I’d only be coming to her if I needed advise on turning my kid into a drunk skank. I wish I could have taken a picture of her face.

  17. Mama Mary says:

    Shut Mouth is WAY more polite than the long version of STFUYSOAFB,which is what I like to say to self-righteous fucks like that.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Staying anonymous so this comment cannot be tracked down by family members ;-P

    I have a stepmother who married my father after my siblings and I were fully grown. She has no children of her own. AKA – she has no experience with babies/children. However, every time we go to visit them I get an earful on all of the things I should be doing and what I’m doing wrong and what I need to “train” my children to do. I hate that word, “train”, when used in regards to raising kids. “You have to train your kids to respect adults because adults know better and kids don’t know anything” is the usual type of comment to expect from her. So basically I need to “train” my kids to sit, lay down, roll over, and then give them a doggy biscuit yes? Or if they disobey at the old experienced age of 1 1/2 years, send them to bed without supper? Yeah. How bout I TEACH my children and GUIDE them and let them learn their own lessons? Yes, I think I’ll do that…and resist the urge to punch my beloved family members :-)

    Sorry…I ranted…I’m done now :-)

  19. Beth says:

    the other week i was in the grocery store with my, perfecting the terrible two’s, daughter and she was starting to whine and throw a fit because the belt clip on the grocery cart was broken. I looked at her and in a calm voice said, “what do you want me to do, it’s broken”. upon finishing my sentence i noticed a woman staring at me with a very disapproving look. At which point I then said, “yes, stare at us why don’t you. take a picture it last’s longer”. I was not happy. I can’t stand those people. I understand where you are coming from and I share in your anger. I have also had family members criticize me and my hubby in our parenting skills. i have also flat out told said family members to stop telling me how to raise my child and stop comparing my child with theirs. ARGH! Woosah, count to 10.

  20. Manda says:

    I actually don’t get a lot of advice. For the most part, my oldest is creepily well-behaved and the youngest is too young to really discipline, yet. It’s a happy place to be.

    However, I do get a lot of guff from my family about the rules we have for ours. We’re fairly strict about certain things which they don’t seem to understand and I don’t expect them to. If they just follow along, we’ll all be fine.

    I’m not normally a paranoid, “helicopter” parent, but certain things terrify me. One of them is SIDS. When my first daughter was born my mother came to visit. She offered to stay up with our newborn one night so we could get some sleep. I asked her not to put any blankets in the bassinet and told her why.

    So when I wake at 3AM and see that my daughter is, literally, covered forehead-to-toe in a tightly wrapped, plush blanket I took the baby away and put her back in our room. In the morning my mother was mad and my husband told this first-time grandmother (who had driven four hours to visit) to “shape-up or ship out.” I don’t think it was worded that politely, but I didn’t learn of the conversation until a week later!

    I love my husband!

    • Emily says:

      With my first born, I was the same way–terrified of SIDS. My mom came to visit when he was two weeks old, and stayed for a week. After that, my mother in law (who lived across town) would swing by periodically to babysit so my husband and I could go out to the occasional dinner, movie, etc. I came home one night (our son was about a month old and was TERRIBLY colicky). I came home to find him in his bassinet with a huge, fluffy blanket wrapped around him. I was LIVID. I was beyond livid. You know what though? That was the “witching hour” as my husband and I used to call it. At that point, he should have been going full force, with my husband and I rocking him, bicycling his legs, taking him for a drive in the car, running the vacuum, etc. (all to no avail), but he sound asleep. SOUND asleep. in his bassinet. We didn’t make a habit out of it, but I did start putting him to sleep on his stomach, and it worked like a charm. I still followed all the other “anti-SIDS” rules though–temp between 68 – 72 degrees, lightly circulating air in the room, no heavy blankets or stuffed animals (but we did use a light weight receiving blanket on him) in the crib, etc. Sometimes (rarely) people do give good advice.

      • Emily says:

        Oops–forgot to add that he was on his stomach, and the blanket was partially blocking his face–his eyes and nose were uncovered though.

        • Hannah says:

          Ever since our little guy (who has just turned one) began crawling, he started sleeping on his belly, his knees tucked under him and his little heiny stuck up in the air. He also would wad up his blanket under his head and by his face. But he (finally) slept well and didn’t wake up every hour to two hours. There was no way we were going to risk waking him up by going in there to turn him onto his back. Are you kidding? :~)

  21. Ugh. I hate the unsolicited advice. My son was born at 35 weeks and we went right back into the hospital with him only three days after we were initially released. It was a tough time. Breastfeeding was a huge struggle and I was in an incredibly fragile state of mind. A few weeks after my son was born our friends came over with their almost one year old child. At one point their kid needed a diaper change, so my husband took the mom and her baby upstairs to the nursery so she could use our changing table. While I was downstairs burping my son, my friend’s husband told me that I was burping my son incorrectly. He then proceeded to come over, TAKE THE BABY OUT OF MY ARMS, and show me the “correct” and “most effective” way to burp my kid. I was furious, I was tired and I was already doubting myself as a parent and a mother. No matter how much he thought he was helping, he wasn’t.

  22. [...] like being called “Mr. Mom” or whatever then tell the people calling you that to shut mouth. If someone tells you that you should be working and your wife should be at home, then tell that [...]

  23. Emily says:

    I think the worst is when the advice comes from people who don’t even have kids. Seriously people?!

    When someone gives me unsolicited parenting advice (especially strangers in public) I say, “Thanks for the free advice. It was worth every penny.”

  24. My best statement yet while raising four boys and one girl:
    My kids are in training, obsessively I have not mastered this behavior yet, but thanks for recognizing it.

    There are always those who wills speak with both confidence and boldness in their views, and truly well intended, but keep in mind they can’t read, because if they could they would have got the memo that states, “don’t tell other parents how to raise their kids, that is unless yours are perfect.”

    Great sight.

  25. Jose Vizcarra says:

    In my family we seem to adore “ill-behaved” kids. We got fun stories coming out of our ears and retell them at the slightest provocation.

  26. Sarah Beth says:

    I love the Lewis CK segment posted earlier! Anyway, kids will be kids, and people often forget that. We constantly get advice from folks who have kids and those who DONT. My kidless friend warned us that being strict about bedtime routine would make things harder on us. Ha, my kid sleeps almost through the night at 3 months. Now what do you say? It’s so easy to get offended by people’s comments. I’m really trying to give calmer responses these days. lol.

  27. Tina Reher says:

    Oh bless you for this post! I thought I was just being overly touchy when I get all up in arms over my extended family-in-law tells me how we should be raising our daughter AND when one of them actually started suggesting that maybe my kid should be checked for autism because my daughter at 2½ years old had really rather natural mistrust of strangers (we’re talking about a child who’s gone through some ‘trauma’ due to openheart surgery all that follows with that) even if they are technically family AND didn’t feel like sharing the bucket she was playing with in the sandbox.

    -so yeah, thank you for this.

    • Erich says:

      My wife’s aunt is suggesting that our 2 1/2 yer-old is ADHD. How can you possibly diagnose that with a kiddo that young? She’s a brilliant and curious child who can focus when she’s interested. Aside from the unsolicited parenting “advice” we get I’m also tired of being told what’s wrong with my little ones. They are both happy and healthy and as a father I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

      • Emily says:

        My two older sons have ADHD and they were diagnosed by a child psychiatrist at the Marcus Autism Center here in ATL. She said the absolute earliest that a child can be tested and expect to get accurate results and diagnosis is age 4. They usually wait until age 5 or 6 though. Is your aunt a pediatrician or shrink? If not, tell her to put a cork in it, lol

      • Braindonkey says:

        tell her to F off. 2.5 is borderline for being able to diagnose in extreme cases. Your kid is most likely, just a kid. nothing more. 3.5 to 4 is about where it becomes obvious. If they can’t sit still when told to, fidget, lose track of what they are doing mid stream, etc. But being hyper is not ADHD. My kid is a freaking hyperdrive experiment, but no other ADHD symptom. Impulsiveness is a major indicator. Go research online for ADHD symptoms, you’ll see that your kid is just a happy kid most likely. If not, seek help early, because the sooner you can the better for the future.

  28. mo says:

    Lordy, I don’t think I would have been able to stay composed at all, and likely I would have just hung the phone up on the guy. I love that there were a few assumptions in the comments that since you didn’t delineate exactly what you did about the cup bonking and whatever else he did that that must mean you did nothing at all. Sooooo not the point and so the point at the same time. It’s not someone else’s place to tell us how to parent or how or when to discipline our children. Trust me, I too have more days where I feel like I’m a completely failure than not, but I’m certainly trying and doing the best I can. My kids are sweethearts and kind and loving children. My oldest one will also throw a raging tantrum with screams, the entire theatrical display in a split second you might not even know what the heck you did to cause this sudden earsplitting screaming tantrum. He’s not perfect, he hasn’t figured out how to control his temper in certain circumstances. And I’m doing my best to work on that with him and encourage him to use words and communication instead of trying to burst my eardrums. But god help someone laying into me telling me what a bad kid he is. He’s incredible and beautiful and I would rather have a kid with a temper than a kid who was “perfect” and had no mind of his own. Anyway…blah blah blah…

  29. Emily says:

    I get lots of comments and looks about our “huge” family – we have 4 kiddos. Once when I was pregnant with my 4th and had my 4, 3 & 1 year old piled in the stroller, an older gentleman commented on how busy I was and whether or not I knew what “caused that.” My response? (As though he might be hard of hearing:) “YES! I REALLY LIKE THE SEX!”

  30. Anon says:

    What I remembered was I gave birth to twins and was SO VERY TIRED nursing them day and night (even with the help of my mum in law). one day hubby’s fren and wife came to visit, i was feeding one twin, all stoned and shagged and the wife, who had 3 kids, keep asking me questions about the ways i cared about them. I managed to answer a few, but when she started asking details like the precise HOURS of feeding times, i was like ‘WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED TO KNOW???!!!’ She was taken aback, I knew i was rude, but hell, I’m glad I let the STEAM out.

    • Anon says:

      And also, the fren (who had also 2 non-toddler kids), seeing my ‘tiredness’, commented ‘You know you still have a LOOOONG way to go.’ I wanna scream back: HELL, THAT’S REALLY COMFORTING, thank you very much!!!!!

  31. Desi says:

    Oh man. That’s rough. I really hate when people who don’t have kids make suggestions or pass judgement…WTF do you know?! blah.

  32. This is probably my very favorite blog post EVER. It makes me angry when people talk about my *niece,* so I can’t imagine what it will be like when I have my own kids.
    You know what’s worse than unsolicited parenting advice though? Adults who take it upon themselves to discipline/talk to your kids without your permission. I saw my grandma do this once in a park, and I nearly died of embarrassment.

  33. John says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how happy this article made me. I have been looking for something to pass along to people who have been giving unsolicited advice and now I have it. Bravo and thank you.

  34. Dan says:

    The worst is the snap judgement without any kind of practical suggestion as to how to resolve the situation. I had my mothers boyfriend/step father/whatever say to my wife that our little three week old baby girl was “always attached to a bottle”. that was it. just a bullshit judging observation. No help at all. turned out that she was taking three hours to drink 3 oz of milk and we needed to use a faster flowing bottle but I found that out myself because I’m like Sherlock Holmes on two hours sleep a night and not because someone made a generalization about us doing parenthood wrong.

    boils the blood,….

  35. Ashley says:

    I like to think of my son as being a rebel without a cause [yet]. However, He is one. What do you expect from a one year old? Does he look like an angel? Hell no! He is a ginger for craps sake. He is a mini hellion. I have told people before that if I have questions I will ask them, but otherwise shut the eff up and let me figure out how to raise my own kid. lol. That is all, end Rant now.

  36. Kathryn says:

    He’s a toddler, and that’s what they do best. Cause mayhem, and make messes.

  37. Cheryl says:

    You guys don’t have a come-back that’s polite but also says “don’t fuck with me” for a mother that’s too “generous” with parenting advice, do you?!?

    Yes, it’s my mom, and there are some days I’d like to whip a poopy diaper at her!

  38. RL from NZ says:

    My son was slow to start speaking, he understood us and that worked fine. My darling sister in law said her son would NEVER be like my boy. 1 1/2 years later and her son has to go see a speech therapist, doesn’t always pay to pass judgement on others because life can come back and bite you in the rear end! :D

  39. Rebecca says:

    Ha! My sister and I also weren’t allowed to say,”Shut up.” Didn’t really work though….

  40. Willow M. says:

    I am a step mom of a 6yo boy. I have been involved in his and my awesome husbands life since he was 2…
    You would not believe some of the”advice” I have gotten from people, mostly my husband family. I understand that, especially in the beginning they were only looking out for his best interest. But to this day I still get “advice” (including in-laws reprimanding in front of my son) to this day. Some of whom see us maybe once a year and have no idea what our family life is like.
    Let’s just say I have actually bitten a hole through my cheek listening to “advice” on more than one occasion.

  41. Eric says:

    I also am always pleased when the suggestions indicate I should strike my children. My children who say, please and thank you, who show genuine empathy for others and yes occasionally lose their shit over a miniscule transgression as toddlers and preschoolers are known to do? I occasionally give advice of my own, though I try to remember to make sure it is desired, but I always offer the disclaimer: “but what do I know. Hell, what doesn anyone know? Until your children move out and make it to about 30 without receiving a lengthy prison sentence what do we really know about the “success” of our parenting methods?”

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