Sunday, October 16, 2011

Glorious Tales of Parent Derring-Do

I’ve only been a parent for a short amount of time but it hasn’t taken me long to decide the following: Old school parents are the worst.

“Old school parents” are any parents who have been parenting longer than you have and think they have the right and social responsibility to drown you in unwanted parenting advice. Their advice always heavily implies that you’re only having problems simply because you’re doing it wrong. The way to solve all of your problems is to simply listen to the sage wisdom they are always bestowing upon you without being asked.

Old school parents love to ask you about your parenting problems. They don't care about your parenting problems, but they do want to hear them so they can top them with their own glorious tales of parent derring-do.

Old school parent: “So are you having any problems with Junior?”

Me: “Well he's really fussy and wakes up a lot in the night.”

Old school parent: “Ha! Try having three kids in diapers, two in elementary school, three in junior high, three in high school, two in college and one living in your basement playing World of Warcraft all day and mooching all your money. Now that's tough!”

Me: “Wait, so you have, like, 14 kids? I thought you had two.”

Old school parent: “How dare you question me, Mr. One Child!”

But even worse than old school parents are non-parents. I need parenting advice from people who have never been parents like I need a black market colonoscopy that is performed in a dark alley. First and foremost, the advice is useless, and second, it's insulting. Someone who has never had children giving advice to someone who has children is as absurd as me trying to give advice to a racehorse on how he might win the Kentucky Derby. 
It pains me to say it but I fear that in the past when I had no kids I may have given out unsolicited, useless parenting advice. I apologize, and knowing what I know now I want to go back in time and beat my past self with a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting.

If you ever find yourself starting a sentence like this, “I don't have any kids of my own but I think you should...” stop talking immediately.

What do you say to politely tell people you don't really need their opinion on your child? Leave a comment if you please.