How to Share Parenting Advice

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Originally I was going to start by saying that I’m not usually a “rah rah” and all that type of person, but the fact is, I am exactly that type of person. So, now that I’ve admitted to that personality trait, I’m going to use it to its fullest when I remind you that you are a great parent and you are doing the best job you can. People in general need to be encouraged. We need support and affirmation that we are doing a good job. When it comes to parenting, this is crucial. I’ve had days where I feel like a complete failure as a parent. Those are rough days and I’m sure most of us deal with them. When you are having a rough day or you are faced with a parenting challenge, where do you turn? Can you ask your spouse for help? Do you have a group of supportive friends, or that one friend who always listens and encourages you in the right direction? Are you that friend? I always try to be that friend, when I can and only when it’s appropriate.

How to Share Parenting Advice

When it comes to helping each other out, parents need to be cautious. Telling someone else how to parent their child, or worse, telling them that they are doing it wrong can be devastating to a friendship. It’s extremely important to realize that not all parents will use the same methods for child rearing and not all methods will work the same from child to child. So, unless someone is actually asking for your advice, it might be a good idea to keep your suggestions to yourself. Even when you are presented with a friend asking, “What should I do?” you should still tread carefully over the subject. Avoid blaming terms like, “You know he behaves that way because you …” You can fill in the … with any type of negative action–“let him get away with it,” “don’t read to him enough.” You get the idea. If someone asks you for help, I’ve found the best way to respond is to say something like, “I tried doing this and it worked for me. Maybe it will work for you too.” Then give the suggestion in a positive manner. “I started reading to my son an extra 15 minutes every night and I found that he was more willing to stay in the bed. Maybe you could spend a few extra minutes reading at night and see if it will make a difference.” In this example, you are reassuring your friend that, yes, you too have experienced the same issue. Then, you are providing a solution that worked for you. That offers understanding and an actionable suggestion, which, if your friend really did ask you for help, they can now try. Remember, however, you don’t want to offer a suggestion unless your friend is requesting one. If you aren’t certain, you can always ask, “Are you asking me for a suggestion?” Sometimes people just want to vent their frustrations. Offering unwanted advice can often aggravate them further. Be sensitive to this and you’ll have more success in dealing with these situations.Don’t offer a suggestion unless your friend is requesting one, and if you aren’t certain, ask.