You might think that our answer to this question is a straight-up, “No. Don’t ever give another parent advice! They hate it.” That’s a reasonable assumption. Since the moment our baby bumps show or we mention becoming parents, we are inundated with unsolicited advice, mostly well-meaning but often unhelpful words of wisdom about how to raise our kids.
Everyone somehow thinks they know what our children should eat, how they should sleep, how we should carry them, who should take care of them all day and what they should learn. It’s enough to make us want to throw ourselves on the floor and scream, like the tantrumming kids someone else knows how to quiet better than we do.
Still, I can’t just give you that straight-up no. For one thing, this is a site that provides advice to parents. The difference is that you came to us seeking it. Solicited advice is a very different animal. None of us is born knowing how to be a perfect parent, and we can all use a bit of help from our friends and experts.
And as much as I rail against the nosy advice-givers and mom-shamers of the playground and social media, my track record is far from perfect. Every single time I speak to my younger sister, I open my mouth to give her advice about how to raise her kids. This is despite the fact that her son is only six months younger than mine, she’s had practice with a stepdaughter, and they are all completely different humans leading different lives than my own. It’s a compulsion I have to fight daily. (Sis, if you’re reading this, know that I’m trying, and I’m sorry for all the times I fail!)
That’s why I’m providing you with this flowchart. Study it so any time you are tempted to speak to another parent, you will flash back to it. Print it out and hand it to your in-laws the next time they wonder aloud if you should give up on sleep training. Post it around the neighborhood. Pin it to your social media account to refer back to every time someone comments on your photos with a, “You should really…” Together, we can end this epidemic of helpfulness!
Or don’t. I’m not here to tell you what to do. Just giving you some friendly advice!
Parents-to-be, get a head start with some actual expert advice by reading these pregnancy books.