Family dynamics with your parents and other relatives can be incredibly complex. A lot of the parenting decisions and methods that your parents utilized or that you witnessed of extended family—for better or worse—have impacted who you are as an adult and how you raise your own children. When you have children, it can therefore be confusing as you try to balance your own values of how you want to parent your children, versus the unsolicited advice that you receive from your family and friends.
When you are a new parent, you will probably experience the gravitational pull that young children seem to have on your parents, your siblings, and your extended family. This is natural as your kids are adorable. However, with this increased exposure and access to family comes the opinions. For example: “You’re wearing that baby carrier wrong”, or “We didn’t breastfeed our child and he turned out fine”, or “You’re really going back to work?”
For a lot of new parents, who are adjusting to their new roles and trying to find their own way, these opinions can feel like judgment and even direct attacks on your parenting. You deserve the opportunity to figure out parenting for yourself. You can do so by creating healthy boundaries with naysayers.
- The direct approach. The most obvious approach to creating boundaries is to let people know that while you value them and their role in your life, their negative opinions are taking away from your parenting experience. An open and honest conversation can be healthy, if you have a receptive audience.
- Limiting contact with negative voices. If the direct approach does not work or is not feasible, you can try to limit family member’s access to you to give yourself space to make independent parenting decisions. This means limiting the number of times you speak on the phone or return their calls per month. Further, make the appropriate security setting changes to your Facebook or Instagram pages so that your critics don’t have the instant gratification of a negative comment to your posts.
- Being on the same page as the other parent. Of course, if your spouse is not on the same page or disagrees with the boundaries you are trying to establish, this can undermine your parenting and your relationship.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law provides representation to clients regarding all manner of family law issues. We understand that separation, divorce, and child custody issues come at the worst times in peoples’ lives. We therefore strive to provide caring, responsive, and effective advice and representation. We operate in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. If you need help, contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law