How to Give Parenting Advice Without Being Overbearing

Advice is easy to come by, but it can be misconstrued as criticism when it's unsolicited.


  • Step 1: Pick the right moment to offer your insight. Voice your concerns privately. Don't blurt out your opinions regarding spanking in the middle of your grandchild's temper tantrum.
  • Step 2: Try not to judge the other parent, especially if they don't heed your advice. Remember, it's not your way or the highway -- there are many ways to raise happy, healthy children.
  • FACT: Dr. Benjamin Spock's 1946 book, _Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care_, has sold more than 50 million copies.
  • Step 3: Choose your words carefully when giving unsolicited advice. Your children, friends, and especially strangers may not agree with what you're saying, but it's easier to accept when presented in a neutral manner and in a friendly tone.
  • TIP: If you offend someone with your suggestions, make sure to smooth things over quickly. Explain that your advice was only an opinion.
  • TIP: It's important to observe boundaries. Even if you don't agree with what other parents are doing, hold your tongue to preserve the relationship.
  • Step 4: Stay on subject when asked for advice. Use your own experience to offer insight into the topic at hand and avoid going off on a tangent, which could lead to diverging opinions and hurt feelings.
  • Step 5: Refrain from giving advice until you're asked for your opinion. Give suggestions when they are specifically requested. When discussing potty training, for instance, and someone asks how you handled it, provide anecdotes about your own children and what worked with them.

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