3 Questions to Ask When Others Try to Parent Your Child

when others try to parent your child

I can’t count the number of times I’ve appreciated an extra set of hands in parenting. Having a grandparent or friend around to corral the kids or provide a moment to relax is awesome—until it isn’t. We all have that one friend who takes her motherly duties to the extreme and reprimands not only her kids but any other kids around. It’s easy to get frustrated and offended when others try to parent your child.

But is taking offense the right reaction? Could there be some good that comes out of those situations? Think about a time when another mom butted in and ask yourself these 3 questions.

1. Was I missing something that needed attention?

Sometimes your attention is divided, and you can’t see everything your child does. And sometimes your kiddo will make a bad choice and need immediate parenting. When others try to parent your child in those situations, ask yourself if it’s possible they were just trying to help and actually did you a favor. I’ve seen plenty of moms get upset at the park because a stranger has corrected their child. Instead of getting territorial and defensive, we need to be grateful for our mom community.

2. As hard as it was, did I need to hear it?

Sometimes others try to parent your child by telling you what you’re doing wrong or where your parenting skills are lacking. We all want help now and then, and receiving feedback from a caring parent (regardless of how the message came across) might be exactly what you need to hear. It can be tough accepting criticism, but that’s also when you grow and learn the most. And let’s be honest, none of us is perfect at this parenting thing, and we all could use some lessons once in a while.

3. If she was in the wrong, how should I handle it?

Sometimes, a line gets crossed and what just happened isn’t OK. Here’s the good news: This is a great teaching moment. Your children need to see you set boundaries with other people so they can learn to do it in their own lives. Politely tell the other parent to address you instead of your child, and you’ll address the issue at home. Then decide with your child if the friendship is a good fit. If you both think it’s causing more stress than joy, stop making play dates with that family. If your child wants the friendship to continue, then you’ve got some opportunities ahead of you to learn patience and self-control.

How do you handle it when someone else parents your child?