We all know that parenting is hard work. In fact, it’s one of the hardest, albeit the most rewarding, jobs out there. Being a parent means that you’re responsible for another human being, and if you have more than one child, then that responsibility multiplies. I think that sometimes, well-meaning individuals feel like they know better than you when it comes to parenting decisions.
And for some reason, these criticisms and well-intentioned bits of advice seem to pervade anything surrounding sleep. Sleep is one of those topics that seemingly everyone has an opinion about (me included!). But sometimes, the advice just isn’t what you want (or need) to hear.
But what happens when you make a parenting choice (like sleep coaching), and suddenly you’re the target of criticism, and that’s not a place that you want to be. Sometimes it’s because people just don’t understand, or other times, it’s because they chose differently than you. And while they are entitled to their opinion, that doesn’t mean that you have to let it fester.
Take Criticism In Stride
Perhaps the best piece of advice that I can give you is to take everything in stride. Not everyone agrees with your decisions, and that’s okay. Or perhaps they’re jealous that you’re able to sleep coach. Look at the criticism with the understanding that it’s an opinion, and not one that you have to buy into.
I don’t know the people who are criticizing you, so this is a bit tricky. Since you DO know them, you can decide how to respond to the criticism. Maybe it’s someone who has an opinion on everything, and you can just ignore it with a smile. Or maybe this person is abrupt, and needs a firm, “thank you for your opinion” type response.
Whoever is criticizing you, remember that you are the one that is in control of the conversation, and you have the ability to walk away.
Sometimes, you’re so excited about something that’s working that you can’t help but share. I am the same way, but sometimes, people can be judgmental. If you know that the person you are about to share with has a history of judging your parenting choices, then don’t share your success. Instead, share with like-minded parents in your circle of friends, or even on The Sleep Lady Facebook Page, where your success will be celebrated, not criticized.
If you do share with someone that you feel should be supportive, and instead they turn around and criticize, simply say “Thank you for sharing, and I’m so glad that worked for your family. It just didn’t work for mine. We’ve chosen a gentle and proven sleep method that does not leave my baby to cry it out.”
Consider the “Why”
I find that advice is rarely offered unless someone thinks that it will help, or is a valuable piece of information. In cases where the person offering the criticism is close to you, or maybe you’d like to know more. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask “why?”
Perhaps you’ll learn something interesting about their story, or gain new knowledge that will help you. I would only advise that you do this if you know the person well and you’re sure that they truly have your best interests at heart.
It’s okay to just say “thank you” and walk away or change the subject. Your choice to sleep coach is your choice. If you feel like you’re being attacked, just walk away. You don’t owe an explanation, and you certainly do not need to explain sleep coaching to someone who doesn’t want to hear about it.
Don’t Give Up
I for one am thrilled that you’re teaching your child to sleep (whatever method you’ve chosen!), and you will find that starting good sleep habits now with a gentle, proven method will serve your child very well as he grows.