Defying the doubters

This article sets you in good stead to fend off those questioning your personal parenting style.

New and nearly new parents often have to navigate their way through other people’s views and judgments like never before. An incredibly complex sets of values, beliefs and ideologies can be put upon you from literally all angles. Media, social media, friends, family, that well-meaning couple at the supermarket. They can all be quick to push fact (and fiction) whether you ask for it or not.

This alone can leave you feeling muddled, quite frankly. But on top of this, tiredness, hormones, possibly postnatal depression and other factors can also be at play. You might be feeling there’s less in your reserve tank to bounce back, fight back and talk back when those elements of doubt are sown.

Dig a level deeper and it might be your frame of mind means you’re finding doubt and criticism in places where it may not be. You’re sensitive to it, you care about doing the right thing by your baby. Every feeling you have and comment you hear is magnified.

Our article ‘judgement day’ shares real-life parent experiences of this phenomenon in greater detail. What we want to do here is help provide you with some constructive coping mechanisms to fight off both the doubters and the doubt in your mind. And prevent it getting to you. Soon it’ll be water off a rubber duck’s back. Quack, quack.

Trust your instincts

When a baby is born, both mum and dad are gifted with a very accurate and instinctive sense of what their baby needs. Trust your gut, and respond to your baby’s needs by parenting in the style that feels right to you.

Perfect the smile and nod

Brush up on your diplomacy skills. When someone pushes their views on you, be that about a parenting style or type of feeding/sleeping/interaction, try to politely decline their advice. Acknowledge it and then promptly let it empty from your head.

Not in the mood for niceties?

Another option is to speak out. Who are they to tell you what to do or judge you anyway? You could find a middle ground by finding clever ways to confront unwelcome advice. 

“If I didn’t know you so well Jolene, I’d think you were telling me what to do/telling me I’m doing it wrong/doubting my ability to make my own choices.” That’ll soon put paid to their comments.

Quash those inner demons/niggles

Having tea at your friend’s house and her bookshelves groan under the weight of her parenting manuals? Don’t think you’re failing your child if you’re not following the same reading list as somebody else. Chances are she hasn’t had the time to pick one up.

The key thing to remember?

You’re doing a wonderful job. And if you need to be told that more often, nudge your partner, family and friends. As a parent, you’re doing the hardest job there is.

This page was last reviewed in February 2018

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.

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