By Js Kendrick
Yesterday, on social media (you know, Facebook, she’s a Millennial) my daughter Jenelle posted a photo from Mommy’s Page. In the photo there was a black onesies with white letters. It read “My Mom Doesn’t Want Your (very bad word) Advice.”
And I thought, wow, that’s kind of harsh isn’t it? I’m not sure if I approve of your child wearing such an item with such colorful metaphors. Of course, the black onesies itself is kind of bad color for your child, don’t you think? Maybe a nice yellow would be better. You’re using cloth diapers right?
And what about yada? and yada yada? do you do that too? Not sure I approve. You know, I probably wouldn’t approve of how you’re raising your child, I know you wouldn’t approve of how I am raising mine. And while we’re at it, I really know you wouldn’t approve of how my parents raised me.
The point of the onesie and the comments that followed were basically “Don’t tell me how to raise my kids” yet many do, even those who say “Don’t tell me…” will tell you. It’s a very odd problem every parent faces. One, that at the least is an irritation, and two, at its worst can put an end to friendships.
The problem has the most simplest of solutions. Just raise your kids to my satisfaction and all will be well. But you won’t do that, you couldn’t do that. I really don’t expect you to do that.
The problem with other people’s children, and how they are raise, is that…well they are not our kids, those parents are not us are they? Those parents are individuals that were shaped by their individual parent who were…well you get the picture.
Yet we live in a society that asks for conformity, demands it actually. As individual as we think of ourselves (and we are) we conform. We have to. If we didn’t, social order would break down and Penguins would rule the earth. Because, come on, Penguins conform. Tuxedo’s an all.
Conformity is actually a good thing. It helped us survive as a species. Without it social order would break down and people would be texting while driving down the interstate. Okay, so we have to work on that one. Yet being ‘alike’ is hardwired into our species. It helped us fight off the nasty creatures that tried to eat our ancestors, and forced us to cooperate. Conformity is good.
It is also the reason people give you advice on how to raise your kid. You just aren’t ‘conforming’ enough. To their standards of course.
Typically advice can go two ways. “You don’t know what you are doing” or the “I had the same issue have you tried…” The latter being the favored one, well sometimes. Sometimes not.
If you are going to give advice, and oh, how we all want to give advice (note the irony here) it is best given after taking a healthy dose of tabasco sauce. That way, when you go to speak, your voice will be hoarse and volume of your voice will be diminished. You can, after a nice glass of milk and a slice of bread, gauge the reaction of the recipient and alter your words. Something to the effect of…
“Nice kids, isn’t that paint going to be hard to get out of their hair? What do you use?”
See wasn’t that easy? You didn’t admonish the parents, raise any hackles by criticizing their parenting skills, and pointed out that the particular shade of Kelly Green chosen, might not go with their outfits. Chartreuse might be a better fit.
All parent receive advice on how to raise their children. It is one of the curses of propagating the species. It’s going to happen folks, by all sorts of other folks. For the sake of conformity. It’s a penguin thing.
Obviously the most offensive are those who do not have children of their own. These are the special advisors for how to properly raise children. We can only hope that they become a teacher to a class of 40 students whose parents believe that sugar, in large quantities, is a balanced breakfast.
However those who have had children, years ago, and their children survived dinosaur attacks on the way to school, they too wish to impart their wisdom. Usually in the condemnation of how children these days get away with anything and everything. Remember to ask them what year Charles Manson was born. (1934 / courtesy of Wikipedia) It won’t stop the admonishment, but you can snicker as they admonish away.
Family advice is always the hardest. I mean, yelling at Aunt Mary during Thanksgiving dinner is a conversation killer. Unless it’s over her overuse of gravy, then it’s okay. However family, who only have your best wishes in mind, are the worst critics. Because biting their heads off (figuratively or literally) just ruins a meal. And you’ll be getting calls and texts on Black Friday. Well, at least it passes the time in the long shopping lines.
In the end it comes down to this. Don’t give advice on how to raise other people’s children. Unless you are wanting to raise them yourself. If you are willing to do that, well then, go right ahead and advise away. Because no one will raise their children to your satisfaction. Heck, most of us don’t raise our own children to our satisfaction.
As for my daughter, who is the mother of three little boys, well no, she is not following my advice on raising her kids.
Might have something to do with my offer of one way tickets to Antarctica for all three of them, not sure. Penguins are great parents.