Thursday, February 25, 2010

Question of the Week....

Thursday, February 25, 2010....



I've decided to make Thursdays my "Question of the Week" day because I always have questions and am always interested in people's answers.


This Week's Question: If you are a parent, do you get upset by people who give you advice on child rearing if they don't have any?

I don't have children. I try not to give parenting advice, but occasionally slip because I think some things are common sense or have seen things other friends do that I like. However, I have a sister who LOATHES when people give her advice on her child.

I was telling a close friend about a situation involving another friend with children and posed my take on a situation as "Maybe I don't understand because I don't have children, but is my take on the situation out of whack".

My friend was a bit taken aback that I would put a disclaimer on my statement and told me what's the difference if you do or don't have kids? I explained how my sister hated people giving her advice and she told me, common sense is common sense.


So, I'm curious - do parents care if they receive advice from childless adults?

40 comments:

Gucci Mama said...

My sister, who recently married and has no kids, tries to give me parenting advice every so often. Since her "advice" is coming from a place of recently graduated college with a minor in psychology and so knows everything at the age of 23, I typically try to brush it off. Sometimes it gets on my nerves and I tell her.

I think a general rule to live by for giving any kind of advice would be to only do so when asked. I don't care if it's about parenting or how to iron pants or what color to paint the living room, unsolicited advice is usually somewhat irritating and unwelcome even though it usually comes from someone with his heart in the right place.

This is what I try to stick to, anyway, in hopes that others in my life (mother in law, I'm looking at you) will pick up on it and act the same way with me.

Very interesting post. ;)

P said...

When I see kids who control their parents rather than the other way around (you know, the wee brats who are absolute terrors and the parents just let them away with it) I am DYING to tell them how to raise their children! Even I, the child repellent, feels like I know more about parenting than some of THOSE parents!

CaJoh said...

I normally do not offer advice to her, but whenever I make a parenting choice myself I get grief from my wife since I am not the biological father of her children. One would think that since I have a degree in Education that I should have some expertise in being sensible to children. But I think that it is mostly due to the fact that they are not my kids that makes her react the way she does. Thank goodness that both of the kids are now out of the house and have kids of their own.

KLo said...

Ooh, that's a great question : )

The way I look at it, advice is advice ... if you're going to be open to taking it, the source (unless unreliable on other levels) shouldn't matter as much in terms of whether or not they have children.

Honestly, some of the best parenting advice I've gotten is from childless adults. They are able to look at issues in a "big picture" kind of way without letting their own experiences get in the way.

The thing is, all children are different. My two daughters are completely different animals (like, night and day), and I have to adjust my parenting style accordingly. Sometimes, my little one (feisty and fearless) will say, "How come you never yell at my sister?", while my older one (quiet and respectful) will gripe, "How come my sister gets to play outside all the time? You used to make me come in and read a book or play a board game, but she gets to just run around with the dogs and get muddy for hours." The secret to giving good advice is to know the child in question, I think, although the general advice--consistency, logical consequences, an emphasis on good manners and taking turns and such--probably doesn't change much.

Actual Scale said...

Actually yes.

There is a big, HUGE difference between having kids in your family & having your own kids.

We have an aunt who tries to tell all of us how to raise our kids & always says, "I saw on Dr. Phil..." pffft Like I care what Dr. Phil says! lol

Advice is advice & I try not to offer it unless asked.
I'm one to add disclaimers as well. ;)

Secretia said...

I am not a parent, but I think parents resent any unsolicited advice, even tho they may listen to it.

Secretia

Kathleen said...

You bet I find it infuriating when people without children give parenting advice! These are the people who, in my experience, secretly think themselves semi experts. Let me tell you, if you don't have kids, just close your mouth cuz you truly have absolutely NO clue!!!!!!

Jaime said...

everyone has opinions on parenting, whether they're actually parents or not. i don't mind some advice, but i hate when other people try to cram their opinions down my throat.

Monkey Man said...

Having been to my local grocery store, it is clear that some people haven't a clue how to raise their children, but even as a parent of two kids, it still isn't my place to tell them what to do. Unless said child crosses one of my boundaries, then that gives me freedom to express my opinion. Expletives included.

As for your sister....perhaps a discussion that starts with asking "advice" and ends up sharing "ideas" and asking her opinion as to whether or not she thinks your "ideas" would hold water in child rearing.

TudorCity Girl said...

Hmm...Interesting to see the answers, as I am not a parent either. I can't help but tell my sister though she needs to discipline her kids better!!!

TechnoBabe said...

When I was raising my kids I would welcome suggestions or opinions from my friends. In fact, a few times their advice was a big help.

Esmerelda said...

I'm with Gucci Mama - unsolicited advice is normally ignored while solicited is considered.

I had all the answers as to parenting before I had kids. I've been humbled. The thing is, we are all different as people and parents are people too. Our experiences/education shape how we raise our children. My parenting style also differs daily - I treat my 3 year old differently from my 1 year old - they comprehend things at different levels and are stimulated by different things. My 3 year old has learned the art of selective hearing and my 1 year old plain ignores me sometimes. I am working with them differently. And why should that be any of your business? Unless I am damaging my children, other people's children, other adults, or society at large, my parenting style really should be none of your concern.

Some parents are indeed doormats. Some are tyrants. If you want to give advice, go for it...just don't be surprised if it falls on deaf ears.

Dana said...

I appreciate anyone with common sense. Just because you give birth to child doesn't mean you know what is best. I have many dear friends without children that I turn to for advice.

Dana said...

I appreciate anyone with common sense. Just because you give birth to child doesn't mean you know what is best. I have many dear friends without children that I turn to for advice.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Wow. I love these comments.

Please understand, I don't offer any unsolicited advice, but if asked, will in most cases preface it with a disclaimer.

As the youngest of 5, we are all VERY different and imagine my mother must have wanted to pull out all her hair by the time I came along. Esmerelda said it perfectly, every child is different. Blanket advice could never work for all children.

A comment to Actual Scale - what are you saying about Dr. Phil???? I shouldn't live my life by his advice??? Now, what am I going to do....I know, I'll go play Farmville now.

Eyegirl said...

I don't have children, so I really can't answer your original question. I'm also a big believe in keeping your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself unless you are asked for them, regardless of the topic. However, there are some instances where I think it might be wise for parents to ask the advice of non-parents about certain things. For example, like how the non-parents might feel about the parents showing up on their doorstep for a party with the UNINVITED children in tow. (which obviously irritates me!)

Adrienne said...

Nope I take all advice with a grain of salt ...in the end I get the choice ..

McGillicutty said...

just had this come up today as a matter of fact... i have a really good friend with no kids of her own but she's fantastic with kids so why not give an opinion. Just cos one didn't spit them out it doesn't mean you can't offer advice. We all offer advice on things we have never experienced at some time or other, look at Dr Phil!!! :)

Herding Cats said...

I give advice to parents all the time, and I don't have kids. However, I teach their kids so I guess it's valid?

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I'm not really sure. I guess it would depend on the situation. I think people who don't have kids can give really good advice because most of it is common sense, IMO! I don't see a whole lot of common sense parenting these days when I see kids running wild in public. It seems to me that some parents are afraid to tell kids "NO" these days. But what do I know?

Hugs!!

Respectfully Yours said...

I think people who don't raise kids using common sense hate any advice from anyone, even people with kids. Although my kids are older now, I consider the type of advice being given. Sometimes people without kids really can't understand the situation fully. Again, use common sense when taking advice.

J said...

I think its more about the nature of the advice and how it is being given. If someone has a condescending attitude when doing this, no matter if they are childless or not it would seriously put me off!
A very unusual topic for discussion!

Heather said...

I don't have kids, but only give advice when asked. My Aunt (childless) always told my parents (and ME) what she thought they were doing wrong - I just thought it always came off as condescending.

otin said...

I am not a parent! I cannot help you!

Jules said...

What if the advice comes from a teacher?

Pearl said...

Actually, I did mind, primarily because so often the advice came from people who didn't have children but were certain that their child would never play video games, get up in teh middle of the night, chew their nails or scream NO at the top of their little pink lungs...

Pearl

Jane said...

I think it's sometimes hard to hear advice without hearing it as criticism. Dismissing advice because someone doesn't have kids (or isn't in the exact same situation as the person getting the advice) is sometimes easier than being forced to be critical of yourself.

DB said...

This was a good question...lots of interesting comments on this one.

And of course those without kids know the most about parenting LOL!

DB said...

This was a good question...lots of interesting comments on this one.

And of course those without kids know the most about parenting LOL!

Erin P said...

I am a parent. I don't think anyone has offered me kid advice unless I've asked for it...and I have. I would never give advice unless asked, either. But: I think it's all in how it's given. If a person gives advice in a way that criticizes the parent's parenting (by saying they're doing "it" wrong, whether directly or indirectly), then it's never going to be well-received. No one wants to be criticized.

I do have several amusing stories of how I dealt with problemmatic behaviors in my son that I've shared--no one has ever reacted poorly to them, so I take it the parenting idea I'm trying to give is being received without offense.

Sunshine Mama said...

What a FUN question you have here. Non-parents can definitely have good ideas about how to handle situations, however, when they give advice they may not completely understand the situations.

For example when someone sees a kid screaming and throwing a fit in a grocery story, or running down the halls of the local school and yelling at the top of their lungs during a high school basketball game (like my four younger ones were doing last night)...they may not understand that the three younger ones were merely copying the older ones and that the situations was not stopped immediately because the mom was busy talking to someone. And that mom's ears tend to tune out a lot of the background "noise" of four noisy kids.

When a child throws a fit in the store, it could be that they missed their nap, that the child is in a different environment and choses to react this way, that they don't like mom telling them "no", so they are going to scream.

It could be that what you saw was only part of a pattern that has been ongoing with ongoing treatment.

So, at that point, advice is not helpful or appreciated, but annoying.

I usually don't give advice on how to parent other kids unless asked, or advice on how single people should live their lives unless asked because I know can't possibley understand the complexities of their current situation because I'm not them or there to witness it all.

Well, that's my long comment...good question!

Spot said...

Yes I do find it annoying. I know so many people who've given advice or said "when we have kids..." only to be forced to eat their own words. They also tend to be the worst parents because they think they know everything going in.

It also depends on the person and the tone of the advice. Actually, there are other parents I hate getting advice from too. I never give advice unless asked. And I would prefer not to get it unless I ask also.

But then, I'm a rebel. Lol.
♥Spot

Kristin said...

I'm not a huge fan of unsolicited advice regardless of who it comes from. It doesn't really make a difference to me if that person has kiddos or not.

Charlie's said...

As a child-less person, I think that I am entitled to give unsolicited advice to parents only if the child in question has:

1) broken something of mine

2) decorated my clothes with vomit

3) followed me home

Even then, my advice is usually limited to a plea for them to take the little darling away.

La La La Leah said...

hmmm i have a 2 year old son. Sometimes It is nice to get advice and some times it is a pain in the ass. Most of the time when people tell me what to do I just give them a blank stare because I am tired and don't really comprehend what they are saying anyways. and just nod and stare.... I need a nap I am tried.

La La La Leah said...

hmmm i have a 2 year old son. Sometimes It is nice to get advice and some times it is a pain in the ass. Most of the time when people tell me what to do I just give them a blank stare because I am tired and don't really comprehend what they are saying anyways. and just nod and stare.... I need a nap I am tried.

blueviolet said...

I have to be honest. I don't take advice well on any subject if it's unsolicited.

SaraReno said...

I suppose it depends on the advice. My little sister (no kids) once spent an entire, normally 8 hour, drive telling me to stop every 15 minutes because my son's diaper was wet. I told her that I had, literally, JUST changed it and we'll talk in an hour after the 4th time in an hour she had made me stop.

Or the "friend" at work who told me that being a working mother is cruel and obviously working mothers don't care about their children. I have 3 kids and she said this to me and another mother at work. Of course, now she has 3 kids and works.

On the other hand several friends have given me actually constructive advice and I listen so it depends on the message and how it's said. Of course, that's true about advice from other parents, too.

Luna said...

good question. in my opinion you dont need to have kids to give advice but people dont like to be given advice no matter what its about. i personally hate when people say you have to have kids to understand. that is not true. but people simply dont like being given advice. although there are those parents that have kids that run around and do whatever the hell they want and the parents do nothing so those parents need the advice. but its better not to say anything and just let people be, you will save your trouble that way.

Brian Miller said...

i just smile and know their day is coming when they learn they know nothing...