Don't you just LOVE parenting advice from non-parents? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Because I do. My brother just told me that I should "step out of my comfort zone" sometimes.....and drive 5 hours in one day with my dd who hates the car (cries the whole time) to coem to his rehearsal dinner next week in a different state. He also alerted me that *other* people do it every day. Thanks.

Sorry, but I had to vent. I'm not crazy right?:

: Mama to ds (5) and dd (3) and .
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#2 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Your brother is so ridiculous. Parenting automatically throws you thousands of miles from your "comfort zone". Besides not wanting to take a 5 hour car ride isn't as much about your comfort as it is about the baby's comfort. I would not want t o drive for 5 hours with a screaming baby either, but I would be more concerned with the effect on the baby of having to scream for 5 hours. I think if it was me I'd just say, "Yeah, I used to think I knew everything before I had kids too"

Jennifer, mama to darling dancing Juliette, and sweet baby Jameson
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#3 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Nope, you're not crazy.

"Stepping out of your comfort zone" would mean driving half an hour with a baby who hates the car, not 5 hours!

Sure, other people can handle long car trips with babies- but some babies love long car rides!

Your brother is being unrealistic and self-centered about this particular situation. That does NOT mean that "parenting advice from non parents" is always bad. If he had kids of his own, who happened to have loved long car rides, it's likely he would have been just as unrealistic and self-centered about this situation. Plus there are other non-parents who would have been perfectly understanding about why you couldn't make it.

When I was planning my first wedding, before having kids (but definitely thinking about TTC) I wouldn't have acted like that!

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 20, Hannah, 19, and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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#4 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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Other people drive 5 hours a day with a screaming child EVERY DAY? I bet they have some good quality ear plugs to be able to do that.

Yes, that stuff drives me crazy, too. My mom doesn't understand why I limit my trips to her house. And she is a parent! She just never had to travel with young kids so she doesn't "get it".
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#5 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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Uhh no that's crazy! My girls are very happy in the car and we have only done trips that long about once a year. If they screamed the whole way there is NO WAY I would do it. We are going to the beach which is 5 hours away in August the last time we went my girls were 2 1/2 and 3 months old and it went VERY smoothly surprisingly. I am very worried this time though lol. I went to my IL's house for mothers day weekend and my 10 month old didn't do so great. We may plan to leave at like 7pm which is a little bit before their bedtime so they will sleep most of the way. If you really want to go (which I wouldn't after that comment) would that be an option?
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#6 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, thanks. I needed reassurance here. My brother is very self centered in general, but it still caught me off guard. I just said to him over and over that I'm not *that* type of parent. He told me that she would eventually fall asleep after crying that long. I told him he might understand more when he has his own children.
I can't go around her naps or bed time either, because it's rush hour if I did that, and to get off of Long Island would be torture. Thanks mamas.

: Mama to ds (5) and dd (3) and .
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#7 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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LOL. I would rather submit myself to a 5 hour root canal than try that with my DD. Even if she managed to fall asleep on the way there, that would mean she definitely wouldn't sleep on the way back! ridiculous. I can't go anywhere further than an hour- TOPS, unless it's the middle of the night.

Remind him of this when he has a toddler

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#8 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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Actually, I am pretty sure that there ARE lots of people who would do that for a rehearsal dinner.

And then, they'd be remembered as the snippy couple with the screaming, grumpy kids, who had to get up and leave the rehearsal dinner (or worse, didn't) when the whole family's stress-induced behavior started to spiral downward!

I wouldn't get hung up on the injustice of non-parents offering advice. It's done all the time. Even the "Continuum Concept" was written by, you guessed it, a non-parent.

Personally, I would have laughed out out, and told my brother "Dude, after 5 hours in the car with screaming kids, you don't WANT me at the rehearsal dinner. I'll have hair, all grey, like the bride of Frankenstine, the kids will probably be pukey and gassy from all the screaming, and won't be able to speak because I'd have had to bite off my tongue to keep from being super bitchy to the first person to make some sort of comment that my stress addled brain perceived as snide. I'll miss being there (hey, I'm not opposed to a little white lying, personally), how about if I just owe you a dinner out with your new bride when y'all come to visit?"

People want what they want. It's obvious he probably really wants YOU there, so that's why he's fussing and saying those things. You know better, as to how much you'll really be able to enjoy and celebrate his marriage when you will have to endure 5 hours of sheer hell to get there. I'd let what he says go. He's just disappointed to not have you there, that's not a bad thing is it? You can still feel good about doing the right thing for your kids.

And just take him and his wife out to dinner next time they're out your way. Or start pestering them to babysit. ;>
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#9 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 01:38 PM
 
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I told him he might understand more when he has his old children.
That is so true! It is torture to listen to your kid cry in the car constantly. I seriously cannot handle it.
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#10 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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I don't think his point of view is necessarily because he doesn't have children. I know parents who think that way. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the grandparents think this way.
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#11 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 07:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Calla~ View Post
. He told me that she would eventually fall asleep after crying that long. I told him he might understand more when he has his own children.
My dd, who is an "ok" traveler, once cried for 5.5 hours in the car....all.the.way. DH was driving and I tried *everything* to get her to stop. I was *exhausted* when I arrived at my destination point, and she promptly fell asleep.

People who give parenting advice and are not parents themselves are talking pure smack, IMO. This is one of the reasons that I will never choose doctors, dentists, etc. for my children if the provider isn't a parent to children of their own.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#12 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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I don't think his point of view is necessarily because he doesn't have children. I know parents who think that way. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the grandparents think this way.
This is true. My own mother told me it was ok to let my dc's CIO......

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#13 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 08:55 PM
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send him a little something. is there a place that will deliver a bottle of wine or something? send a note that says thank you so much for wanting us there. sorry we couldn't make it. please enjoy this for us.

if it doesn't truly soften him and make him thankful to have a sister who cares so much then he can't complain because who could complain about that?!
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#14 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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I get that from my inlaws.

my mil told us that it's easier for us "young kids" to come and see her with the hate-to-ride toddler than it would be for her to ride to see us. (there is nothing wrong with her, and she doesn't work.)

my fil (they are divorced) told my husband he was trifling for not driving up there to see him more often. Er....he lives about 3 states away. Plus he's not likable or nice enough to want go that out of the way with getting off work and packing up the kid to go and see him. I mean who wants to visit you after you've just called them trifling?

my sil once told us that taking care of a 3 month old was not "that hard". And that she knew more about babies than my husband did. then we stayed with her. she hasn't opened her mouth since.


and she was right. taking care of a 3 month old was much easier than taking care of a 2 year old, in my perspective. of course, to her perspective now, it's all hard.
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#15 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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I actually find older parents (as in their children already are adults) to be worse than non-parents. Perhaps it's because with people who aren't parents, I can always remind myself that they don't quite get it because they don't have kids. With people who've already raised theirs, I always end up feeling sorry for their kids.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#16 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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Other people drive 5 hours a day with a screaming child EVERY DAY? I bet they have some good quality ear plugs to be able to do that.

Yes, that stuff drives me crazy, too. My mom doesn't understand why I limit my trips to her house. And she is a parent! She just never had to travel with young kids so she doesn't "get it".
LOL amen. The worst advice I get is always from fellow parents WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER. : OP, sorry about your bro. Just remember it might come back around to him someday
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#17 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 11:13 PM
 
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I don't believe I've ever gotten parenting advice from non-parents. Or if I have, I haven't noticed My child-free younger brother watches my kids for me sometimes and never tries to give me any advice, he just tries to give my kids back as fast as he can
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#18 of 75 Old 05-18-2008, 11:34 PM
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I get really frustrated by parenting advice from people who have never been parents.

I'm not saying that it is impossible to learn something valuable from a person who has never had direct experience with a certain situation--because sometimes an outside perspective can help you get a new take on something--but to be told how I should parent by a person who has never had the wonderful challenge of raising a child really just flies all over me in all the wrong ways.

I totally hear you.
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#19 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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My friend was that way when dd was born. Would say stuff like "when I have a kid I will for sure let them cry it out" and "just cause I don't have kids doesn't mean I don't know anything about being a parent" Ummmm... yes actually it does mean you know nothing.
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#20 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 02:43 AM
 
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My friend was that way when dd was born. Would say stuff like "when I have a kid I will for sure let them cry it out" and "just cause I don't have kids doesn't mean I don't know anything about being a parent" Ummmm... yes actually it does mean you know nothing.


I have to respectfully disagree that not being a parent means you know NOTHING about parenting. I have no carried a child to term but I have been a nanny for 20 years, have a degree in ECE and extensive training, have taught parenting classes, have at various times taken custody of THREE different children of friends, am a GAL (guardian ad litem), care for at least 2 babies daily (who wear CD's in MY house). I may not have given birth (therefore not a parent) but I know a LOT more than many of the parents I know. Many of them regularly ask ME for advice. Fortunately they don't think I'm totally ignorant just because I have not given birth.
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#21 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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[/B]

I have to respectfully disagree that not being a parent means you know NOTHING about parenting. I have no carried a child to term but I have been a nanny for 20 years, have a degree in ECE and extensive training, have taught parenting classes, have at various times taken custody of THREE different children of friends, am a GAL (guardian ad litem), care for at least 2 babies daily (who wear CD's in MY house). I may not have given birth (therefore not a parent) but I know a LOT more than many of the parents I know. Many of them regularly ask ME for advice. Fortunately they don't think I'm totally ignorant just because I have not given birth.
I did that too (well, except for I was never a GAL, I did do emergency respite care fostering though).

Guess what?

Parenting is way different.

I'll grant you that you're definitely more used to the mechanics of things. However, when you are actually a parent, it totally changes things. And I really wish that I had known that while looking down a bunch of other parents all those years--as well as getting frustrated when my advice didn't work as well for them.

Kids behave differently around their parents. You don't have a light at the end of the tunnel when you're a parent.

So yes, I agree that people who are not parents can and do give good technical advice...but I think that they cannot honestly feel the kind of empathy of parenthood that someone who has felt the rage has.

Also, you don't need to have actually given birth to be a parent, FWIW. For whatever mystical reason, I have found that most of the adoptive parents I know feel that same rush as bio kids do.

It's always different by necessity and even somewhat subconsciously (IMO) when you know they're not really yours, than it is when they are YOURS. And the kids know it too, and therefore tend to act differently.

Waaaay off on a tangent here though.
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#22 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 03:08 AM
 
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Some of the kids that are "not really mine" have been in my care 24/7 for months at a time. One called me "mama" and we were planning to adopt her (The bio father reappeared).

I agree there is a difference between being a parent and knowing about parenting but I know plenty of parents that don't have a clue.

I'm just saying you should not instantly discount someones parenting advice because they do not have a child. Otherwise I would not have talked many parents OUT of circumcising and INTO breast feeding!

To the OP tho, your brother is clueless about traveling with a babe who hates traveling. Do what you are comfortable with!

:
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#23 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 03:47 AM
 
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Thanks for posting this thread. Sometimes non-parent comments roll off my back, sometimes they drive me nuts. I think more depends on the person sputtering the nonsense, and their intention. Sometimes I am able to step back and remember all the idiotic comments I made pre-kids, and that helps me realize that person talking now is just trying to help out in their own way.

What drives me really batty though, is the harsh judgements, even here on MDC, by people who have no kids. People who write long emails about how awful this or that parent was, or how they saw something in a public area for 5 minutes and that parent must be the devil incarnate. Umm, get off your keyboard and become a parent and be humbled by it. Then frankly, I am more willing to feel compassion for your successes and your sorrows.
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#24 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 04:06 AM
 
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Hmm I guess I had better STOP advising people to reconsider routine circumcision , and STOP telling them that "breast is best" and STOP telling them they there are kinder alternatives to CIO. Guess I'd also better let all the parents who routinely ASK for my advice know that it turns out that I KNOW NOTHING and they may as well go pick up a copy of "Train up your child" because after all the PEARL'S are PARENTS so they must know EVERYTHING and since my uterus has defied me I know NOTHING.

I really thought MDCers were more open minded than to think people who don't have children can't possibly know anything about parenting!

Just because the children I raised weren't "mine" does no mean I don't know anything about parenting. Most them spend more time with ME than there so called "parents"!
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#25 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 04:42 AM
 
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Umm, get off your keyboard and become a parent and be humbled by it.
That's really harsh. If women are on MDC who are not yet mothers, they are likely trying to conceive and having difficulty with it. EarthmamatoBe has stated in this thread she has carried no child to term, meaning she's had miscarriages. You may not know what it's like to deal with infertility and may not realize how mean-spirited your above quote sounds.
Anyway, harsh judgments aren't too fun no matter who they come from, why pick on those whose hearts are aching to become mothers?
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#26 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 05:50 AM
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i take advice on how to help kids out with specific things from anyone. i've gotten great ideas from my childless friends. i take "parenting advice", advice about how to handle large issues of family management or tweaking my parenting philosophy almost exclusively from other parents or those who have had a large hand in raising children like nannies and such.

the advice that the brother gave has the flavor of "all children like X" "all children have x needs" that's what i take issue with. i don't think people without children know nothing. i think that many of them do not know something that people in the thick of the parenting experience can't escape. the only thing that all children everywhere have in common is the need/want for air, water and food. actuially not all children even like food. stop by the SN forum or my house for the night. i get that kind of advice from non parents more than parents but you do run into those who think their children's minds and bodies are mass produced modular items.

if i get advice that contains the phrase "all children ...X" i tune out. it's condescending (you have kids and you didn't know they all X) and useless (all children do not x so anything based on that premise is bound to be flawed).
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#27 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 07:27 AM
 
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I used to live there... beautiful town. I'm adding my two cents' worth here:

I gave great advice for decades before I had my own child. I was the eldest girl in a LAAARGE family, which provided a lot of training. Not that I think one needs ANY training to be a natural parent.

Re the self-centered brother of the OP: you know, even if your child LOVES riding in cars, a five-hour drive is a HUGE undertaking even if you're doing it with adults only, or just by yourself. Five hours... that's a lot of $$$ GAS $$$. And to have to drive all that way and then be "on" for a big party, and be facing a five hour return trip, even if it's the next DAY, is a LOT.

And the "step out of your comfort zone" remark--what a broadside. That was insulting, disrespectful and manipulative. I'd have been offended, too. If you do end up going, I hope it's because there is some other more alluring invitation involved.

VF
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#28 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't mean to start a heated debate. I do think that there are folks out there that definitely know a thing or two about parenting.

My brother is farthest from that group however. I should clarify, that the trip is 2-3 hours each way, so 5-6 hours total. He also lives here, by me, it's just his wedding that's in a different state.

I just can't get his comments out of my head.

: Mama to ds (5) and dd (3) and .
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#29 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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Off topic: Needle in the hay nd EarthMomma2Be, I was not specifically referring to you!! And I was adopted, and never said being a parent meant giving birth. Maybe someone else wrote that?

Sorry if my mail sounded harsh, but I do think parenting is very humbling. You come in with all sorts of expectations and ideals, and find out 50% you were on track, 25% you didn't know better, and 25% just does not apply to you or your DC! OK, maybe you were 90% right, I don't know, I can only speak for myself. But yes, it can be annoying when people who don't have kids give parenting advice. And yes, sometimes part of it is because they don't have kids to base their "advice" on.
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#30 of 75 Old 05-19-2008, 09:32 AM
 
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OK, maybe you were 90% right, I don't know, I can only speak for myself.
Haha, no not at all! I had a lot of ideas that I totally don't agree with now (such as no lying down with a child, at most, sit by their bed in a chair until they fall asleep--or if they aren't well-behaved when you take them somewhere, the next time they stay with a babysitter!), but another thing that I hadn't planned on was secondary infertility. So I guess I can just really empathize with earthmamatobe even though I do have a child. And I really wasn't feeling that you were trying to hurt anyone, I only wanted to point out that it could come across as really hurtful to someone who's struggling with infertility.
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