Backseat Parenting: advice/comments that cross the line

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Have you ever been in a situation where someone began to parent your kid in front of you and their style of parenting was not in line with yours? Or what about people who are constantly telling you how to raise your child? Or telling you it’s time to transition your child from breast to bottle? How about informing you that it’s high time you began potty training or *gasp* cross the line and implement their “recommendations” after you have repeatedly and politely declined wanting to do “insert task/advise” at this time (or ever)? I think this has happened to many of us (if not all) and the bigger problem is: How do you handle it?

One of the many things I love about my daycare provider is that she asks what we are doing at home so we can all be on the same page – she works with us to maintain consistency in Henry’s life – which almost everyone can agree is what is best for any child. I know that while I am at work if Henry throws a toy at another person or breaks down the baby gate to implement his escape plan that starts with traversing the stairs (yes, that actually happened) he will get a time-out or the toy taken from him. That’s what we discussed and that’s how I would handle it at home. I can see that these efforts at both daycare and home are working because Henry is “getting it”. He knows that if he does something at home or daycare there is a warning (depending on the offense) and that warning is “If you do that again you will get a time-out. Do you want a time-out?” and when he’s home the answer is a very emphatic “No Mama. No time-out.”

But there have been times when I am with friends or family members who may have had children or not and they have taken it upon themselves to step in and start “parenting”. Henry will start to act up/throw a tantrum and I will begin to handle it in our parenting style, which is a cross between a lot of different methods. I am firm and let him know I am there but I don’t coddle him or give into him. I want him to understand that he can’t always have what he wants when he wants it and if he does want something that the way to get it (if it’s appropriate) is by using his words/actions positively not by throwing a fit. But I have friends/family members undermine me by giving him what he wants or baby talking/coddling him when I am trying to parent him. It’s frustrating, yes, but it’s not going to turn him into a serial killer. So instead of creating a bigger issue I let it go. Continue reading