How to Respond When Someone Criticizes Your Parenting

photo of a dad kissing his daughter on the cheek while standing on a beach

Being a parent isn’t an easy job! There might be some days when you feel like you’ve got things under control and others when you feel like you’re doing everything wrong. No two people parent exactly the same way, and that’s okay! The interesting thing about this “job” is that you’re learning as you go. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. But you’ll learn from those mistakes and eventually find your stride as the kind of parent you want to be.

Unfortunately, that never makes it easier to hear any kind of criticism about your parenting from other people. Even if someone has good intentions with their criticism, it can be difficult to know how to respond or how to take their “advice.” So, what should you do when someone criticizes your parenting? What’s the right way to respond?

Don’t Panic

Whether you’re getting good advice or not, it’s easy to panic or feel guilty when someone criticizes your parent. You might start to think about everything you’ve ever done “wrong” as a parent. Or, you might start to wonder if that person’s criticisms are right. 

Instead of letting yourself fall into that state of panic or guilt, do your best to brush off the comment. Even if it’s constructive or good advice, don’t let it get to you right away. When you do, you’re more likely to find fault with yourself. 

After you brush it off, consider why you make the parenting choices being criticized. While you shouldn’t feel obligated to defend yourself, explaining your actions might make that person stop criticizing you in the future.

Boost Your Confidence

You’re more likely to get thrown off by parenting criticisms if you’re already struggling with self-confidence. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you aren’t practicing self-care, your confidence and mental well-being are going to weaken. 

photo of a dad kissing his daughter on the cheek while standing on a beachTake the time to prioritize rest, exercise, eating healthy, and practicing mindfulness. Keep a journal. Maintain a social life. Think about the things that make you unique and strong. When you’re more confident in yourself, you’ll be more confident in your parenting abilities. 

Lean On Your Partner

If you’re in a marriage or relationship, leaning on your partner and acting as a united front is essential. You don’t have to feel alone or singled out when someone criticizes your parenting. 

You can talk to your partner about the criticisms and get their input. Working together to determine if the criticism is valid or not can be a good place to start. If it is, what can you do together to make things better? If it’s not, you’ll have each other to lean on and to find support. 

If you’re not with a partner and you’re a single parent, consider leaning on others for support. Talk to family members, other parents you trust, or even online support groups where you can express your frustrations and/or concerns. Understanding that there are people in your corner can make a big difference. 

Consider Your Child

Above all, remember that your child and your family are unique. Your parenting style might be different from someone else’s, but that doesn’t make it wrong. You know your child better than anyone, and you know the style of parenting that works for them (and you). 

It’s never easy to hear criticism when it comes to your parenting, but it happens. Take it with a grain of salt. If you’re really concerned about it or you find that you’re lacking confidence in your parenting abilities, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Feel free to set up an appointment soon for parenting therapy.

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