‘Tis the season! With the holidays fast approaching and family gatherings on the horizon many are preparing to spend time with family and friends (and survive). For many this can cause increased stress and worry that well-meaning family and friends may have something to say about the parenting choices they have made. The goal of this post is to prepare you to deal with common “helpful” pointers you may encounter this holiday season (and the whole year through).
Here are some common scenarios you may encounter, and suggestions on how to respond. One thing that is important to remember is that you likely will not be able to change the opinion of someone (especially if their opinion is an uneducated one) in a single encounter. If you want to survive, it may be best to save your energy and not bother.
What to Say When Unsolicited Advice is Given
Why are you (still) breastfeeding? After (6 months) there is no benefit.
“Right now, this works for us. I haven’t heard that the benefits of breast milk lessen after a certain amount of time. Thanks for letting me know; I’m going to have to ask the pediatrician about that.”
He STILL has a pacifier/bottle?
“Yes, he does. We’ve discussed it with the pediatrician/dentist and have it under control.”
Holding the baby will spoil her! You need to let her cry.
“All the holiday hustle and bustle threw off her normal routine a bit. I wouldn’t want to disturb everyone with her crying.”
He’s starving! You need to start him on solid food.
“The pediatrician said he’s not ready for solid foods just yet. Once he starts I’ll send you a picture so you can see how he reacts.”
Why can’t I give her a cookie/cake/candy? You’re ruining the holiday fun!
“It’s so close to (lunch/dinner/nap/bed) time and I don’t want the sugar to throw off her routine. We have some winter/holiday books that she likes to have read to her. Maybe she can pick out her favorite and the two of you can have some special time together?”
Just let him stay up a little longer – he’s having so much fun!
“I know – he’s really enjoying the (toy, activity, etc)! He has a hard time getting back on track when his routine is disrupted. I don’t want him to be in a bad mood for (activity that is planned for after nap or the next day).”
It is so important to remember that YOU are the one who knows what is best for your child(ren). Give a short answer and do the best you can to move the conversation along. You’ve got this!
Additional Reading to Survive the Holidays
Bad Advice – The Worse Things Parents Have Been Told