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When Other Parents Try to "Fix" My Kids

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. He and his wife just had their second child a couple of months ago so we were talking about all the regular new baby stuff: feeding, sleeping, etc. He told me that their oldest child goes to bed at 6:30 and I said, "Wow, my kids will probably go to sleep around 9:30 tonight." And then he started giving me all kinds of tips and advice to get my kids to go to sleep earlier. I was a little confused. Did I make it seem as if their late bedtime was a problem? Did I seem desperate or frazzled?

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Don't get me wrong, I wasn't offended by his response, I just found it interesting that he felt the need to "fix" my kids. Why do we do that? I make it a point not to give out parenting advice unless explicitly asked. The reason for this is because I AM NOT AN EXPERT. I'm just trudging along the parenting path like everybody else. And I'm certainly not an expert in anyone else's kids. I know my own kids pretty well, but your kid? Not so much. This is why I start off any advice with a little disclaimer, "This is what worked for us…" So I find it humorous when other parents seem to think they know more about my kids than I do.

I have been so grateful to learn from others who have "been there, done that." But there are other times when I got it.

Let's just keep one thing in mind, parents, unsolicited advice is unsolicited for a reason. If I ever do feel the need to ask for help, I will. There have been plenty of times I have turned to my mama tribe to ask for thoughts and opinions when facing a parenting problem. I have been so grateful to learn from others who have "been there, done that." But there are other times when I got it. I don't need help, mainly because it's not a problem for us. Our kids staying up a little later than most kids works for us. We're okay with it, especially over the summer.

I have a friend who has three young kids. Most days she seems a little overwhelmed and will send out a group text telling us all about the latest shenanigans her kids have gotten into. At first I would text back some advice about how to handle the situation but soon I realized that she wasn't looking for advice, she was just looking to vent. I didn't need to fix anything, I just needed to listen. At the end of the day she knows the best way to handle her kids and she's doing a great job. I understand the need to vent. I do the same thing. I will text my husband throughout the day, "I just caught your kid splashing around in the toilet water!" But I'm not looking to him to fix anything, I'm just looking to share the craziness of life with kids.

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So let's stop trying to fix each other's kids. There's probably nothing wrong with them, they're just kids. No one can parent my kids better than I can and no one can parent your kids better than you can. Let's start respecting that very important truth.

Image via Kristel Acevedo

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