‘Postpartum depression isn’t real.’ ‘You’re spoiling them with too much attention.’ ‘Here, let me show you the right way to do it.’: Mom reacts to unsolicited parenting advice

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“We have all been there, someone wants to give you ‘advice’ or their opinions on how you and your partner ‘should be raising your child.’ *Insert massive eye roll here.*

It sucks.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Most of the time, you try to be polite and say thank you and carry on with your day. But really, some of the things I’ve heard are just absurd. So, I thought why not ask others what the worst or most annoying parenting advice they ever got was?

I got quite a few similar ones, or ones which all fit into the same category, so here are the major categories of responses I got:

‘Installing fear is the only way to gain respect.’

This one. This one makes my blood boil. Children do not need to be scared to respect you. They do not need to learn to fear their parents. So, let’s get into it.

What happens when we teach children to fear their parents? Nothing good, if you ask me. Studies have shown when you teach your children to fear you, you can cause a lot of long-term damage. This also goes for spanking, hitting, yelling to a certain extent, belittling, and locking them in their room as a form of punishment.

This sort of reaction to ‘punishing’ your child is simply causing harm. When your child feels like their parent is going to lash out, and physically or emotionally harm them for misbehavior or an accident, it forms a lack of trust. This can create a cycle of your child lying to you in fear of punishment.

To simply put it, if you wouldn’t react this way to an adult, don’t react this way to your child. They may be small, and they can’t always communicate like we would like them to, so you as the parent need to be able to calmly and collectively talk to your child. To sort out the issues and get to the root of what is going on.

I am not telling you to let your child get away with everything. Sometimes a time out, or appropriate punishment such as: not being able to play with whatever was involved in the incident for a certain amount of time, having to apologize, timeouts, and/or losing a privilege depending on the child’s age. And simply talking to them.

Four siblings sit on the floor and lean up against a brown couch while wearing matching pink shirts
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

‘Babies are just ‘seeking’ attention and you’re ‘spoiling’ them by giving it to them.’

Yes, you read that correctly.

Now I’m not sure why or how this is a thing. Along with, ‘Your baby/toddler is manipulating you,’ all of it is just bulls–t (in my opinion, of course). How could a baby or toddler who literally depends on you for every single one of their physical, emotional, and mental needs be manipulative or attention-seeking? They NEED you. If this is your mindset, I don’t think parenting is for you. (Again, in my opinion.)

Holding your child while they sleep is not spoiling them, comforting your child when they are sad (no matter the age) is not spoiling them. YOU ARE THEIR SAFE SPACE. You were their first home. You are the one they depend on. You are their entire world. You cannot spoil them for simply loving you.

Do not let anyone tell you any different. You have no right how to tell a mother how to parent or how to feel.

Mom snuggles with her young daughter on the couch while she plays with a toy
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

‘You’ll just know, but here, let me tell you the ‘right way’ aka my way.’

‘Don’t pick that baby up every time he cries…here, let me have him, I’ll show you how to make him stop crying.’

Sound familiar? what about, ‘You should just know how to do this by now. No, not like that. I did ______ with you.’

We have all been there. We’ve all politely just smiled, gritted our teeth, and said, ‘Thanks.’ Or say, ‘That’s nice, but I do it this way.’ I can’t count how many times I’ve had to explain we don’t do things that. All because some one who feels ‘they know best’ has the answer I ‘need.’

Every single child is different, every single way to parent is different. What worked for you will not work for everyone. What you were told to do at one time is probably not the way any longer.

Mom crouches on the floor while her daughter climbs onto her back with a Starbucks drink in front of them
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

‘Let me diagnose your child.’

There’s no easier way to piss a parent off than to try and tell them the diagnosis from a doctor for your child is wrong.

When I asked women in a few of the mommy groups I am part of on Facebook and on my personal social media accounts things they’ve been told, I was shocked at how many women came forward and told me about people claiming their child’s diagnosis was wrong.

I am going to take a direct quote for the following one: ‘You just need to pray harder for the seizures to go away.’

This one. I understand faith, though I may not openly practice any or talk about a higher power I do or do not believe in, but this is NEVER okay. My heart hearts for this woman. To have a child going through such a serious thing and for someone to tell you, ‘You need to pray harder’ makes me sick to my stomach.

This will be one of the only times I let anything political or anything about faith be in my writings. But, if you ask God for an answer and then scoff at the advancements of medicine, you are spitting on His answer.

You asked for an answer, and if you believe in God, then you believe He creates everything and everyone. Which means He would have created the person WHO MADE THE MEDICAL ADVANCES TO MAKE THE MEDICINE. You do not need to think this same way, but this is where I stand.

Far too many people replied about people being told their child’s autism diagnosis was ‘just ADHD, ADD, they’re just hyper, they’re just spoiled, are you sure something is wrong with them, they will grow out of it’ and so many more.

Autism is more often than not misdiagnosed as something else, compared to being diagnosed when it is something else. The sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can move forward with people learning to not be so ignorant. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a child being autistic. And quite honestly, it is quite harmful in the long run. The worst part is, the more you try to educate people on autism, the more they seem to choose to unlearn anything they did know.

‘Postpartum depression and all the stigma.’

‘You don’t need medication, it’s just a phase.’

‘Cheer up, you have a beautiful baby, you should be happy.’

‘Postpartum depression isn’t real.’

‘It’s just baby blues, get over it.’

Before I go any farther, there is absolutely no shame in having or struggling with postpartum depression. If you or someone you know is struggling. please talk to a medical professional and seek the help you may need.

Postpartum depression is so often looked at as something to be ashamed of or to hide. When in all actuality, that is not the case in the slightest. Hiding it or trying to deal with it on your own will only cause more harm.

In conclusion: People want to shove their advice or opinions at you. Whether you choose to smile politely and ignore it or take the advice, at the end of the day what you choose to do with your children is up to you. You know them best and their health. The way you raise them and the decisions you make about their life are yours and your partners to make.”

Mom rests her cheek on her baby's head while her baby tries to steal her cup of coffee
Courtesy of Ashley Cirka

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley Cirka of Canada and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on InstagramFacebook, her blogTwitter, and PinterestDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Ashley here:

‘My home isn’t quiet or as clean as I’d like. There’s always an appointment or task on the to-do list. My husband and I are clearly out numbered.’: Stay-at-home mom chronicles life with 4 kids

10 Things I Wish I Knew During My First Pregnancy

‘My kids are annoying. I love them, but oh man do they get on my nerves.’: Stay-at-home mom hilariously shares parenting confessions

I Don’t Want A Perfect Marriage – I Want The One I’ve Got

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