Deal with parenting criticism

Edited by Ephraim, Jonathan, Marian Raquel F. Roncesvalles, Eng and 8 others

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Parenthood changes your life goals and perspective as it shifts to accommodate the new addition into the family. Becoming a parent is an evolving role that requires mastery of a variety of skills over time. Having children is both a blessing and a responsibility that is set for a lifetime. This is definitely one role that requires full attention 24/7. You cannot go on leave, retire, or even quit as a parent although no parent would really want to relinquish their spot in their children's lives. Parenting styles differ from one parent to another. Essentially, what works for one may not entirely be valuable to another. A parent's strength lies in the diversity and versatility they ought to have in handling the demands and challenges in the roles they play in their children's lives. Multitasking is the key to make sure that you get things done in all aspects of your life. There are indeed no such thing as small roles or bit players especially if you are juggling children, family, work, and social life. Everything has a designated place to keep you in equilibrium. Achieving balance is regarded to be highly important especially in becoming more effective and loving parents to your children.

It is very common that other people will always have something to say about your parenting style or technique. This is a typical discussion in family gatherings or even with common friends who also happen to be parents. This could be either a positive or constructive criticism wherein you get to learn about another parent's strategy on disciplining and mentoring their children or on the other hand, this could pose as a deterrence to your own parenting values because a large spectrum of spectators just want to gnaw on your credibility as a parent because of plain insecurity or just blowing off their steam by mindless chatter in the effort to put you in a negative spotlight. This is what you coin as negative criticism which should be taken in stride. Some criticisms are worth your two cents while some just need to be displaced on the other ear. You can always pick what is beneficial and get rid of the rest. Some critics could turn out to be insecure bullies who just want to demean or constantly scrutinize your child rearing capacity. Challenging your parenting style could be healthy especially if you get to learn a thing or two from the person you are exchanging ideas with. However, if you feel that the intent is just to demoralize you and your children, then you must cut the conversation short by saying your piece and tell the person to back off. Shield your kids from any malicious or cruel comments.There are a number of effective ways to deal with parenting criticism that you get from family, relatives, neighbors, colleagues or other people in and out of your social circle. It is best to decipher what works and what does not because, at the end of the day, you will prove to have the better judgment when it comes to your own child's well-being.

Ways to Deal with Parenting Criticism

  1. 1
    Keep your emotions on guard.
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    A lot of parents get angry and tend to lash out when another person questions or comments on his or her parenting skills
    Remember that when a person makes comments about your skills, you have to understand that they are not necessarily classifying you as a bad parent but it would just involve criticizing the tactics that you use to discipline your child. Also, you must understand that it is just a comment or perception and does not reflect the views of a trained person who actually knows exactly what they are talking about when it comes to your parenting skills.The first consideration you must think of is whether the advice or opinion is solicited or unsolicited. If you actually asked for someone's opinion or feedback on something then you must be prepared to hear what he or she is supposed to say. You should also consider that some advice that you would receive are not exactly the things you would want to hear. If you decide to ask another parent for advice then you must specify the things you need from that person such as if you just need a listening ear or plain encouragement and support. You can also reiterate if you need an advice on some things regarding your parenting style. If you are open to unbiased and realistic opinions then you must be vocal with that as well. You are definitely putting yourself in a vulnerable position once you ask other people to critique your parenting style. You will receive both positive and negative criticisms along the way and it would be best to handle them in a mature and intellectual manner rather than getting too emotional or even violent. It is advisable to put your emotions in check especially when dealing with such challenging situations.
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  2. 2
    Stand by your own decisions.
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    If you make a decision that someone else believes to be wrong, then don't let it get to your nerves
    You never really cannot please everybody. Albeit, you also are not wired to please everyone else with your parenting abilities especially if you firmly believe that your own parenting dogma works on your children. You really have to set and draw the limitations up to which point a person can be allowed to interfere or interject his or her opinion on your own way of raising your children. Let the person know that what you are doing is working for you and your family. It may be something new or odd to other people but it is something that is innovative and effective for your own kids. A lot of people judge the parenting skills of others but don't realize that children are different and no one method works for all. Don't be discouraged when another says something about your parenting skills especially if he or she is not an expert. Another route you can take is to ask that person what exactly would they do as far as parenting is concerned and practice their uses if you feel comfortable to do so and let them know whether or not it worked or just didn't fit in with your families' routine. No one else can decide for you especially in the parenting game. You can always learn a thing or two with discussions on child rearing but it is important to keep your ground and to be firm with your own decisions especially when it comes to your own children.
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  3. 3
    Be respectful but assertive with own parents.
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    Nobody does it better than our own parents
    They are said to be the experts when it comes to rearing children. Grandparents may often feel like they need to take over and get ahead of their own children's decisions when it comes to parenting but this should not always be the case. It is important to remain respectful and to listen to your parents because they raised you and could be the expert coach you are looking for. They are in fact the best bet next to the parenting expert you could find elsewhere. When they comment on something or give suggestions on how you should do this or that, it would be appropriate to take in their suggestion if you think they are providing you a much better option or to politely decline if you disagree or think that it would not suit your children's situation. Be careful nor to be rude when asserting yourself with your parents. It is healthy to challenge each other's opinion on random things especially when you are comparing your parenting skills with that of your parents. You are a testament or proof of how effective they are as parents. You can, in fact, attest for yourself that your parent's advice works like a gem. It may or may not work for your own kids but you can definitely bank out loud on their reliability, brilliance, and dependability as parents because you will not turn out exactly who you are today without their love and guidance. You can always turn to your own parents for a listening ear, a comforting hug, or sound advice. It is in fact recommended to seek their help first before anyone else because they love you and your children and you both share only the best interests for the family. Agree to disagree at some point. Assert yourself whenever necessary but always remain respectful and appreciative of your parents.
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No parent is perfect so learn from your parent's mistakes and accept when your parents are trying to help you avoid those same mistakes.

  1. 1
    Back it up with expert minds.
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    If your methods are documented somewhere in the books or qualified online resources and you are following the directions of either a parenting expert or a group of professionals then that would be very helpful in case you are questioned about your parenting methodologies
    You can easily back it up with information that even the person criticizing you may find useful when dealing with his or her own children. As much as most of our own parenting skills and style are said to be borne out of maternal or paternal instinct, adapted from own parents, or developed in connection with the ways our children behave in certain situations; it would be to every parent's advantage if they are well-equipped with the knowledge and ideologies that come from expert studies or research in line with parenting styles. It pays to expand your knowledge when it comes to parenting styles and the different ways to mentor or shape your children into becoming the best of what they can be. You will find that other people would usually respect and recognize your efforts and thinking as a parent when they know that you are doing such parenting techniques by the book or backed by expert knowledge. There would be fewer critics if they know that they are dealing with someone learned and knowledgeable when it comes to parenting.
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  2. 2
    Be a little stubborn.
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    You do not always have to conform to traditional parenting norms especially if you have tested and found a particular style that works for your children's behavior
    There comes a time when you may hear comments too often and you reach the point wherein you decide to be stubborn and don't listen to what they have to say. There is a healthy way to make a compromise by simply agreeing to disagree at some point in the discussion. You will not always have the same take on certain decisions when it comes to your children but you can both share a common ground of concern and love for your children. Do keep in mind that you are in no way obliged to follow anyone's take on your parenting style. If you have confidence in your own parenting methods then there is no need to bend or comply with known strategies. There are times that the popular parenting styles may not always work for the best or even for your own kids. You alone know when to conform and when to be a little bit stubborn to get the beneficial results you need. You know your child better than anyone else so you be the better judge of what works and what doesn't when it comes to your own kids. Don't give in to what they believe it will show that you lack confidence in your own methods because at the end of the day, you alone are responsible and no one else for raising your child.
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  3. 3
    Be gentle yet firm with your children.
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    While it is universally true that parents love their children unconditionally, boundaries should be set and discipline must be in place in order to rear honest and responsible children
    Yes, you love your children, but you should set limits on their behavior so that when they go out into the real world and have to be on their own, they will come to realize that not everything is served on a silver platter. For instance, when they shout back at you when you are reprimanding them for a bad behavior, you must put a stop immediately to such unacceptable demeanor and tell them that you are not tolerating the shouting fits. Although children are encouraged to voice out their opinion on any matter on the table, the proper and respectful way of discussing sentiments or take on any relevant subject must be expressed in a polite context or discourse. Be firm with teaching your children the importance of showing courtesy to other people regardless of any age; but most especially when older people are around. They should always be ready with their greetings to the elders such as grandparents, relatives, or any other older people, whether they are in the mood or not. If they keep holding back their good behavior, talk to them gently about this and remind them that they do not want to be treated like that when they become old people themselves, do they? But, give all the love and support that your kids could muster. They need all the hugs and the kisses even if they sometimes wipe their faces after you kiss them. They will remember all the warmth you gave them when they have families of their own. Raising children is regarded as both an art and science. You must know the right time to hold on and when to let go. Growing up is all about mastering the inevitable fact that there are growing pains associated with it. Failure is a reality even with the experts and must not push one to the bottomless pit. In fact, failure fuels an individual to win regardless of the countless setbacks and challenges along the way. You must teach your children both sides of life - the good and the bad - so they will be better equipped to handle both success and failure in the future. Teaching your children how to value the people around them and the importance of hard work, honesty, and patience is what will give them that extra mileage to be on top of their game. It's not always about making it on top though, it's all about loving the game and getting ahead fairly and squarely. True enough, you should exert effort to make your children realize that at the end of the day, it still is about how you played the game. This old school mantra is exactly how you will become proud parents and how your children will come to appreciate the person they turned out to be today
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  4. 4
    Set time limits.
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    There are people who constantly criticize or question the way you mentor or raise your kids whenever they get the chance to visit or talk to you right about anywhere and a lot of times this could be very tedious and draining for parents
    Normally, what parents would usually do is to get on the defensive side and try to explain themselves over and over again. There sure is nothing wrong with someone else challenging your mind or strategy in terms of rearing your children as everyone else is entitled to their own opinion but you have to determine first and foremost whether this should be overtly discussed in the first place. It can be pretty exhausting to be explaining why and how are things are decided on with your kids at home especially if you find yourself explaining to an inquisitive neighbor. You do not have to exert much effort and energy on such discussions because you do not owe anyone an explanation for your parenting maneuvers. Whenever you encounter curious or critical people who kept on asking you same things about your parenting style and your kids, you should be able to stand up for yourself by setting a time limit for such discussions and knowing the appropriate avenues for such. You can always divert the conversation once the time limit is reached. You have every right to either oblige to talk about it or not at all. There are a number of creative ways to inject other topics along the way or just politely point out that the conversation is over. Set the time and cut it short.
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  5. 5
    Avoid criticism in front of your kids
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    You should not allow someone else to keep on criticizing you of your own parental decisions especially in front of the children especially if the people doing so are not even part of the family such as colleagues or neighbors. If you are dealing with your own parents (the grandparents), they would constantly want to correct you with your own parenting style and decisions in front of the kids. Although this is quite typical for most grandparents to spoil their grandchildren and become their allies, you should be able to set the boundaries but make sure that you are doing so in a polite and respectful manner. Your own parents will always have something to say about how your discipline, teach, or raise your children simply because they are the ones who reared you in this world. They are coined as the experts in raising you for becoming who you are right now. However, even if you definitely have to take heed of their words of wisdom and suggestions, you ought to still have the final decision on everything that concerns your own kids. Parenting styles differ from one person to another because every child requires a different approach. Traditional methods may or may not work as well especially when you are dealing with modern and technologically driven children. You should be able to explain this reality to your own parents and even for other opinionated relatives. If ever there are criticisms on your part as parents then it must be discussed at the proper time and place and avoid doing such in front of the children. There are certain adverse effects when kids see that their parents are questioned or criticized in the way they discipline or train their children as they could see their parents as less of the authority or expert that they assume to be. In turn, kids would not follow what their parents tell them or even quote what the other adult would say about the matter. It depends though on how your kids take it. Some kids though find it intellectually enriching and even motivating to see how their own parents can defend and stick to their own minds and rules despite the constant push and pulls from opposing strings.
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  6. 6
    Keep your problems private
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    There are times when your problems with your kids could prove to be overwhelming that you would need some support or listening ear. It is important to be careful about the people you approach or share your feelings to especially regarding family problems or in dealing with your children. You should always seek the advice and help of trusted family and friends and not some nosy or judgmental individuals who would think you are incapable of raising your children well. You should keep your parenting complaints or dilemmas private because once you publicly divulge that you are having difficulties handling your children then you automatically expose yourself to critics. You risk appearing vulnerable and helpless which makes other people jump in and give you more advice when in fact all you need is a listening ear or a big hug. Some people will also think that you are not able to successfully cope with the demanding role of being a parent and can even see you as unfit to raise your children. Others will also think that you might feel your kids are a burden and you need all the help you can get. This is very dangerous especially if someone wants to discredit you as a parents and wants your reputation tarnished. What you need to do is to correct their judgment and set the records straight once and for all to avoid any misinterpretation from other people. You must tell them that you love your children and that you do not need any help at all. Stress the fact that all parents and children could have some form of disagreement or miscommunication but this is otherwise healthy and normal in any family or any other social circle for that matter. Avoid lengthy discussions and remain very straightforward and firm when stressing a point. Also, let people know that you are very particular with your family's privacy in the same way that you also value other people's privacy.
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  7. 7
    Protect your children
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    Your view of your own children will influence how other people see them. If you seem agitated or even ashamed of your own kids then that will give others the instant impression of how they are as children without ever knowing them first-hand. You must speak and express positively towards your children especially when they are out with you in parties or even in family gatherings at home. If you keep on complaining about your children or seem to be overwhelmed with taking care of them then the people around you would label your kid as a "problem child". Also, if your kids are somewhat told negative remarks or comments such as "you're a bad boy" or "you're such a bully" then you must always shield or protect your children from all the negativity around him especially if these are pure misjudgments of his or her personality. You must assure your children that they are not what these strangers think of them. Stress the fact that as a parent, you know him or her better than anyone else and that is what they should believe in. Boost your child's confidence and tell him or her his positive qualities and skills. If someone would tell you that your child seems to be very hyperactive and uncontrollable, you can point out with confidence that "Yes, my child is very energetic and active." Always turn their negative criticisms into advantages. There will always be critics along the way and people will always have something to argue about especially with varying methods of child rearing. There is no one tried-and-tested formula that works for every child and you will be the best judge of what method is tailor-fit to your children. Sure thing, there are a lot of detractors or critics out there, but their opinion does not really matter if you believe in your parenting skills and if you have complete confidence in your children. Shield your child from any bullying or untoward comments that they might encounter in public by being discreet about any family problems you might have. Choose who to disclose to especially when dealing with sensitive matters regarding your children. You can always choose to approach your own parents or trusted close friends who have the same thinking and parenting method as yours. You cannot be there 24/7 to protect your children but you can always arm them with confidence to assert themselves when necessary. Teach your child that disagreements are normal part of coexistence but the important thing is to always keep their core intact. If you have trust and confidence in your children, they can definitely cope up with anything in their growing up years.
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Questions and Answers

Where are the parenting boundaries with a single parent family and new partner?

Hi, I'm in a relationship with a single mom of two older girls, one is in her late teens, the other is in her early 20's. The older girls boyfriend, also in his 20's lives with them, I don't. We have been together for two years and over that time I've not got involved in any parenting issues or family disputes. I never thought It was my place or role, resulting in me keeping quiet and tolerating what I deem bad, inconsiderate, lazy and even rude behavior. I have made suggestions, as per her request, and encouraged my partner, their mom, to make some changes or implement different parenting strategies, especially during times of difficulty. No real changes have been made and my partner says that this is how it is and will never change. Over the past year or so I've found it increasingly difficult to be around this - as the behaviors don't change and I don't feel I can challenge it. Their mom is stressed out and developed chronic fatigue syndrome, which has brought on other challenges. Recently I expressed to my partner that I'm finding it increasingly difficult being around the children's behavior and feel like I can't be there if I can't express myself. She has taken this to mean that I am criticizing her parenting. I do realize that parenting is very personal, however, this was not my intention - I was just trying to let her know how I am feeling and the reasons I am struggling to be there. This matter is unresolved as she won't hear what I'm trying to say. Can you help with this?

You have every right to let your partner know how you feel about the children's disrespectful behavior and why it's bothering you. However, this is obviously a touchy subject for her if she won't listen to what you're saying. The children are older and you don't live with them, making this an even more difficult situation. It can be hard to watch her children's rude behavior and have no say in the matter, but they are her children and it seems that she accepts their behavior as it is. The only thing you can do is to try to improve your communication with both your partner and the children. You should find a non-stressful time to approach the subject carefully and without criticism. Give her praise and compliments for all the things she does right, which can make her more receptive to the discussion. The goal should be to come together and agree on what type of behavior is acceptable and what isn't. Write down a list of specific disrespectful and unacceptable behavior that you've seen and show her. Ask her what she feels is an acceptable response from you in these situations. Will you approach the children together and let them know that things need to change, or would she do it alone? You both need to come up with a game plan and follow through. If your partner is unwilling to change her stance or even discuss the situation, you either need to accept the way it is or move on from the relationship.

How do I deal with parents criticizing my parenting?

My mother-in-law is quick to take offense if I do not take her advice. How do I set boundaries with this type of strong personality who is always right?. I have tried: I have tried asking for more personal space and establishing some ground rules but it makes her angry. I think it was caused by: She loves her grandchild and wants to protect him.

Each parent has their own parenting styles. To address your mother in law's criticism, simply point out that her parenting methods do not apply to you and your husband's parenting methods. Whenever she criticizes just say thank you I will take that into consideration and drop the subject. You see that she is only trying to help but becoming overwhelming. Eventually, if you just keep repeating that you will take what she is suggesting into consideration, she will get the hint or at least feel that she is being heard and not dismissed.

Should kids be told to behave as adults? How I deal with people's criticism about my child and my parenting skills?

I am from Argentina and apparently my way or raising my kid is wrong by my American standards, at least in the south where we live. I am getting very mad at the way people are coming to me to criticize my child and my parenting skills. I realized here discipline is stricter than in Argentina where people is, in general, more liberal (European style). Example: he has a friend in the neighborhood and they play together, apparently his grandfather (who is raising this child) said to him that he does not want him to hang up with my child cause he said bad words and he is sneaky. My child says bad words and I am working on that but I believe both of them are sneaky and this is a typical behavior of kids... I mean back in the days kids used to be more sneaky than now... at least our generation, I am in my 40's. I do not agree with people who want kids to act as adults... and let me tell you some adults here are pretty undeveloped human beings... Where am I wrong?. I have tried: Well I am telling him no to say bad words.... I think it was caused by: Cultural differences, my approach to raising my kid is more liberal but most of the people here is conservative.

Unfortunately, your child is being ostracized because of his behavior. Personally I have been on the other side of your situation and unfortunately had to end one of my children's friendship due to the out of control behavior from the other child. This does not mean that my child is better than their child. My child was beginning to exhibit the other child's behaviors each time after they hung out together. The parent of the other child and I have worked together to help the behavior of the child by after a period of time, introducing this child back into my child's life. Her child did not really get the message about his actions until there was a consequence. Customs in Argentina are more relaxed in terms of parenting and you have a right to parent your child whichever way you see fit. You should ask the grandparent of the other child to help you out in addressing your child's penchant for bad language. Give your child an allowance and start a "swear" jar. Each time there is a bad word uttered, the child should take part of their allowance and surrender it to the jar.

How to deal with a critical mother who is also a widow?

Hi, I have been having a problem with my mother who is a widow and has been through a lot of trials. My father died in 2008 and things have been difficult, however, I have been on her side supporting her even when it went against everything within me. But after graduating college and going back home in 2013 things got pretty dark and she has been critical mostly always since childhood but enough is enough and I spoke out for both myself and my other 3 siblings.

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How do I deal with new boyfriend always criticizing my parenting decisions?

Anytime he has an opportunity he wants to tell me his thoughts on how I'm making parenting mistakes. He never raised his child, so how can he criticize so easily.

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I have a good friend that not only questions my parenting?

I have a good friend that not only questions my parenting but buts in when my child needs attention. She tells me to trust others and constantly pulls me away from my child. I am a mother first and foremost and this really upsets me. I don't feel it's her place to stand between a mother and her child. How do I deal with this? It's a friend who is like my family. I understand it takes a community to raise a child but not get in between a mother and her child. I have tried: I tried talking to her and the other one that butts in and they did not listen. I think it was caused by: I honestly don't know I wish I did and maybe I could save this friendship.

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My 23 old son who has completed MBBS is criticizing me too much on my fatherhood?

My 23 old son who has completed MBBS is criticizing me too much on my fatherhood. Being a lower middle class guy, I did pay my 10 years earnings only to his studies as it was his wish. He says he was not brought up happily as he was insulted by me sometimes in front of our relatives. He is very furiously telling all the 2 decade old issues. He is in love with a girl who talks about happiness and doesn't keep herself happy nor allowing others to be happy. Can you please advise me. I am getting too much stressed. For the past 4 months, I am unable to move freely with him as I was doing earlier. How to manage myself? I have tried: Explained many times that I was not the born father and as a military man I was bit harsh even with a kid. Asked him to appreciate the changes I made myself for the past few years. I think it was caused by: He felt insulted many times because of my wrong handling/ ill treatment during his childhood.

Maybe due to the girl who talks always about happiness/loneliness with him could be a reason for the change in his attitude in the recent past

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Why is my mother in law always criticizing my parenting?

I am with my daughter (9 months old) 24/7 and I do my best but it always seems she is telling me what to do without taking under consideration how I want to do things with my daught. I am at the point where it is becoming very stressful. She is not offering her advice she tries to control everything with my daughter. I have tried: I tried to be nice about it but she still continues. I think it was caused by: I think the fact that she didn't have to much to do with her other grandchildren she is taken advantage of the opportunity with me

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Categories : Parenting

Recent edits by: Rajamohan, confusedmama, Maria Quinney

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