I got my first parental criticism yesterday. We were sitting in church, enjoying the program, but struggling to keep Tyler quiet and occupied. He has a really loud voice and doesn't seem to understand that we need to use our indoor voice. Plus, he loves to talk about anything and everything he sees, so you can imagine our plight. Plus, it was right at his naptime.
Anyway, I get a tap, tap on my shoulder and this lady from a row behind, whom I've never seen before gives me a note. In the note she proceeds to tell me that she's a former special ed teacher and here's how to get children to behave, blah, blah, blah. The rest of the meeting I felt like she was judging my every move.
I know she meant well, and probably those things had worked for her, but all I took from it was, "You're not doing it right!" What I really could have used is a sympathetic nod, or "Your boy is so cute, talking like that." Or anything supportive.
After crying for part of the afternoon, I learned a lesson. Even though the advice may have been good, I wasn't in a place to receive it. I didn't know her; we'd had no previous encounters. I was stressed already just trying to keep him quiet. That just wasn't the time or the place to give me that note! Today, I plan on calling my good friend who shares the same parenting philosophy as me and talk it over with her.
The lesson is: just be kind and compassionate. People don't need advice as much as they need love.