Polite but Deadly Clapbacks to Unsolicited Parenting Advice

May 9, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

When you have a child, it often seems like anyone and everyone who comes into contact with you suddenly has carte blanche to dispense parenting advice. More often than not, that advice is not only unwanted, but completely misguided. When total strangers cluck disapprovingly at, say, your infant chewing on their thumb or you get pitying looks when you breastfeed your toddler or your mom feels the need to interject with just one more pearl of wisdom, it can feel like you can’t bite your tongue hard enough.

Of course, staying silent is often the best option, but for those moments when you've just got to say something in response, we’ve rounded up seven polite — but deadly — clapbacks to shut up the advice-giver and guarantee you get the last laugh.

Deliver these retorts with a raised eyebrow and punctuate with a shut-the-fuck-up smile before you turn and confidently walk away, leaving the advice-giver wide-eyed with their jaw on the floor. And cue your victory lap song.

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“I’ll give that suggestion all the consideration it deserves.”

Translation: Your words mean literally nothing to me. This is a nicer way of letting someone know that no, you will not be giving their suggestion any consideration whatsoever, so they can just shut up. Bonus: This also works for non-parenting advice from coworkers, bosses, significant others — broad-spectrum clapback, right here.

“Interesting opinion. Are you a pediatrician?”

Unless this person is a trained, board-certified child professional, they know where they can shove their opinion. People think that just because they read an article in a magazine, they are now an expert on a certain topic of child-rearing. Did they go to medical school? No? Then what makes them think they're qualified to prescribe your child's sleep schedule/diet/vitamins/etc.?

"Yes, I’d heard people used to give that advice.”

Translation: We live in the 21st century, and what you just said is ridiculous. Heroin used to be sold as a cough suppressant, folks. But we don’t give that to our kids anymore either. This comeback is often well suited for older friends/family members/strangers and can work as a solid reminder that just because they spanked/whipped/dosed their kids with whiskey back in the day, that doesn’t mean it wasn't a terrible idea.

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“I don’t remember asking, but thanks for your input.”

In the age of Facebook status updates detailing your lunch order, it seems that everyone feels the need to not only thrust their opinion onto the nearest unsuspecting bystander, but also to believe that said opinion is necessary and bears all kinds of weight. But, in lieu of screaming “WHO ASKED YOU?!” an inch away from the advice-giver's face (which is what you really want to do — we get it) this comeback is a more graceful way of reminding them that their comment is unwelcome.

“Thanks, I’ve got it covered,” or “Thank you for sharing.”

This is a simple, straightforward reply that doesn’t mince words or hide your meaning. Thanks. I hear you, and the words that are coming out of your mouth, but I disagree/want to slap you, so step off.

Just state the obvious

For example, in response to, “Oh, a thumb-sucker! That’s bad," say “No, crack cocaine is bad.” In response to, “He’s 2 years old, and you’re still breastfeeding him? That’s pornographic!” say, “No, pornography is pornographic.”

Is it great to feed your kid ice cream for dinner? No. But will it kill them? No. If someone tells you what you’re doing or what your child is doing is wrong/bad/terrible, remind them just how hyperbolic that is. "No, racism is wrong." "No, sexism is bad." "No, you are terrible." You get the idea.

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Unfortunately, a surefire way to avoid all unwanted parenting advice has not yet been invented — but being polite doesn’t always mean swallowing your honest feelings about said parenting “guidance." It just means being tactful in the delivery. So, go ahead and express your disdain while maintaining (some) composure and getting the last word in. Employ these clapbacks whenever necessary, and you're basically guaranteed that will be the last piece of advice you ever get from that person. Unless that person is your mother. In which case, no promises.

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