When to Offer Parenting Advice and When to Bite Your Tongue

Buzzfeed’s recent video titled Weird Advice New Parents Get hilariously illustrates the conflicting (and sometimes annoying) suggestions people volunteer to new parents. We know this advice is given with the best of intentions, but many of these tips border on insulting.

So how do you know when to offer up parenting advice and when to bite your tongue? It’s really not that complicated, just consider the following factors:

  1. Is it literal matter of life and death? If the new parent is doing something that endangers the safety of a newborn, by all means speak up. Some of the most common situations that fall under this category include helping someone properly configure their car seat or telling a new parent how to create a healthy sleep environment and mitigate the risk of SIDS. A newborn’s safety is more precious than anyone’s feelings, so it’s your responsibility to speak up.
  2. Are you a subject matter expert? The world is full of wannabe baby-whisperers who think it’s their responsibility to offer up parenting advice to every mom they come across in the grocery aisle just because they know how to do a Google search. Ignore these people, but listen to the real experts like medical professionals or newborn care specialists.
  3. How well do you know this parent? There’s something about strangers that makes them just have to comment every time they see a baby. Most of the time, it’s an innocent compliment, but other times people will offer up advice that they’re seriously unqualified to give. Always consider Rule #1, but if a baby’s safety isn’t at risk, save your advice for moms who ask for it.

While we can hope people will follow these rules, new parents are likely to be bombarded with unwanted advice. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t get frustrated and don’t get overwhelmed. Just enjoy being a parent, listen to the voices that matter, and politely ignore the rest.

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