When I crossed the threshold into the parent world, I was so preoccupied with leaving the pregnancy world full of Pinterest pages, nursery planning, and nesting that I missed the disclaimer sign. You know, the one in very large, bright black and yellow caution lettering reading: “Welcome to the land of opinions. You didn’t ask for any, but here they are anyway. Have fun!” No one warned you about the unnecessary comments, either? Go figure.
If you’re a mom or dad, you know everyone has an opinion about your parenting style and child. People freely share their running commentary with anyone who can listen. Sometimes, comments are well-intentioned. Hey, your mailman has been a dad for 35 years. Maybe him explaining to you why that toy isn’t the right one for your son is just his way of trying to brighten your day as he hands you that stack of bills? Most of the time, though, comments are unsolicited, unnecessary, and downright rude.
If you haven’t heard it all before, buckle up for our list of 30 common but unnecessary comments every parent has heard:
30 Unnecessary Comments Every Parent Has Heard
1. Are You Still Breastfeeding?
Why yes, thanks for noticing! Is this the part where I get a lecture about how society tells me the vital, crucial importance of exclusively breastfeeding my child for months on end but then simultaneously criticizes me if I breastfeed for “too long” based on individual comfort levels? Shall we have a riveting conversation about your thoughts on my body next?
2. Sleep When the Baby Sleeps.
This is a classic unnecessary comment fed to new parents. While it is good advice when you need to prioritize the very little rest you’re getting, it’s not overly helpful and not always practical. Life doesn’t stop because your baby is napping. You still need to clean the house, plan meals, sanitize bottles, and do the laundry. What would be more helpful is offering a helping hand so that a nap can be restful for a new mom or dad.
3. I Can’t Believe You’re Trying the Cry-It-Out Method. It Seems So Heartless.
The funny thing about those who aren’t around a crying baby very often is that not only do they not know the different cry cues parents know (bored vs. hungry vs. tired, etc.), but a baby’s wail for even a few short minutes can feel like it lasts forever. Everyone has an opinion about sleep training, and often parents who commit to the cry-it-out method are pinned as too authoritative by those who opt for different approaches.
4. If You Pick Her Up Every Time She Cries, She’s Going to Be Attached to You.
Alternatively, and equally as fun, are that parents who pick their child up at every whimper will hear they’re too overbearing and are creating a clingy kid. You truly can’t get everyone on the same page, so learn to stop trying!
5. How Will He Ever Learn Independent Play If You Always Entertain Him?
Previous generations often let kids go out and explore the world unsupervised. My dad will never forget how shocked I looked when he told me my grandparents would push them out of the house after breakfast on a Saturday without any notion of their whereabouts until they returned for dinner at dusk. Well, a lot has changed since the 1970s. Today’s parents are much more hands-on, and some will love to tell you this means you’re too involved.
6. He Seems So Sensitive for a Boy. Boys Aren’t Supposed to Cry.
A truly fun one for boy parents. Thank you for commenting on how my son isn’t allowed to have feelings. We can see how wonderful this criticism has been for generations of men who are just discovering healthy emotional outlets in adulthood.
7. When Was the Last Time You Disciplined Them?
People will say this to more laid-back parents at some point if their kids seem too independent. If you haven’t caught on to the theme by now, your kids will always be “too much” of something for some people, and usually, they will love to tell you how they feel without you asking.
8. My Kids Always Greeted Relatives with a Hug and Kiss. It’s Rude That Your Kids are So Standoffish.
This is a hot topic for a lot of people. Parents today are learning to navigate healthy boundaries. We now know how valuable it is to let kids express their feelings and decide who they do or do not want in their personal spaces. Previous generations may interpret this as rude or standoffish, but it’s a proactive way to teach kids that they control their bodies and never have to feel pressure to engage in physical touch.
9. Are You Going to Let Her Eat That?
Nutrition and parenting; what a love-hate relationship. Whether you’re splurging on a fast-food treat for your child or feeding them the latest homemade smoothie bowl you whipped up, you can expect this unnecessary comment from someone who disapproves of your selection as a parent.
10. You Should Limit Your Kid’s Screen Time, That’s So Unhealthy.
Screen time is something on which everyone has a strong opinion. Choosing what, when, where, and how much screen time your child is exposed to is a personal decision. It’s nobody’s business to judge, criticize or lecture you about it.
11. You’re Still Letting Them Sleep in Bed with You?
Some parents have rigorous bedtime routines. Others let their kids sleep with them until they’re well beyond the toddler phase. What matters is that a child is loved and cared for, and every parent must do what works best for their family.
12. I Can’t Believe How Late You Let Them Stay Up.
Bedtime varies from house to house. If lights out at 7 p.m. is the norm in one home, parents who let their kids stay up well past 9 p.m. might sound like madness. Unless they’re responsible for tucking your little ones into bed at night, there is no room for anyone to share shock and dismay at your nighttime choices.
13. Your Daughter Sure is Bossy. Does She Get That from Her Mom?
While we’ve come a long way as a society, people still love to label assertive and confident girls as bossy. This is a tired dig and a harmful one, too. If you hear this, try asking the commenter the last time they described a boy as bossy.
14. Why are You Letting Him Play With a Doll? That’s a Toy for Girls.
Most of us know better than to think this, but these toy stereotypes still exist. If there is no choking hazard and it’s age-appropriate, all toys are designed for all kids to explore.
15. Instead of Saying No, Maybe You Should Redirect Him.
Some subscribe to the mentality that “no” is a bad word around children. When your kids are seconds away from knocking a glass vase over, “no” works faster than redirection, but thanks for the tip!
16. You’re Coddling Them.
Only you know what is best for your child. If they need mom or dad, if they need help, if they need a hug, it’s yours to give. Don’t let anyone else call the shots with the love you give your kids.
17. You Should Never Co-Sleep With Your Kids. It’s Dangerous and a Terrible Habit.
Co-sleeping comes with a lot of strong opinions. Luckily, you aren’t inviting any of those people into your bed, so it’s none of their concern.
18. Everyone Can Breastfeed. You Really Should Try.
The constant judgment moms receive is unsettling, and the breastfeeding journey is unique. Whatever choices led to your decision not to breastfeed your baby (or breastfeed one child, not another) is entirely personal. You owe zero justification to anyone who feels the need to give you their opinion on the subject.
19. You Need to Let Them Cry It Out and Self-Soothe.
Some on Team Self-Soothers will lose it over a mom or dad who opts to rock their baby to sleep in their arms or allow a child to fall asleep on them for a nap. If you’ve ever let your child take a snooze on you, you’ve likely heard this one before.
20. You Don’t Even Look Like You Had a Baby.
While this is meant as a compliment, it’s best to avoid commenting on any mom’s body. Postpartum can bring a lot of mixed emotions and a confusing relationship with body image. Still, we should celebrate every mom for the life they’ve just grown, and it’s no one’s place to comment on her physical appearance.
21. Two Girls. So, You’re Going to Try for a Boy Then, Right?
Woof. The same kind of unnecessary comment applies to parents of two boys, and it amazes me that people say this to parents. Having kids is a personal journey; you never know what steps a couple took to bring their children into the world, and every child is a gift. Insinuating that they must be disappointed with the gender of their kids and need to “try again” to get the opposite sex is an overstep.
22. When are You Having Another One?
This one is just as bad as the previous one. Every parent’s journey to becoming a mom or dad is unique and personal. Whether their plan was always one child to complete their family, or there is a string of heartbreak behind several attempts at number two, this is an unnecessary comment every parent has heard, and that’s all too common.
23. You Sure Have Your Hands Full with That One, Don’t You?
Wow, I never realized how energetic my child was before! Thank you for the revelation. Want to babysit sometime?
24. You’re Way Too Strict with Them. Kids Will Be Kids.
If you’re not too laid back, you’re too uptight. Let the kids draw on the walls. “They’re only little once,” says the person without young ones at home.
25. Enjoy Them While They’re Little. One Day They’ll Be Teenagers.
This is a favorite comment among older parents. While there is no denying the challenges of raising a teen, can we stop perpetuating this mentality that every new phase or age a child experiences are worse than the last? Some parents are trying their best to find beauty in the chaos, and it can get depressing to constantly be told negative comments along the way.
26. Don’t Get Frustrated with Them. Enjoy Every Second; It Goes by Fast.
While it’s true that kids grow up in a blink of an eye, and this unnecessary comment is primarily well-intentioned, parent guilt is real. Moms and dads are entitled to get overwhelmed or feel frustrated sometimes. No one needs an extra reminder that their kids are growing before their eyes. We know! But we’re also tired. And that’s okay too.
27. Good Luck with Your Second Child. They are Usually the Worst.
Nothing says congratulations like following up with how terrible an experience will be. How charming is this unnecessary comment?
28. Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.
This is an old-school mentality but one that many still adhere to and like to share with parents who do not believe in forms of physical discipline like spanking. Mutual trust goes a long way between children and parents, and many take the stance that physical punishment is long overdue to be on the way out.
29. They Need to Socialize More.
Childcare looks different in every household. Whether you enroll your child in daycare, have a childcare provider in your home, or stay home with your little ones, you are bound to hear this unnecessary comment from someone about how your kid(s) needs more socialization. The reality is it’s up to you to determine how often, where, and when your little one gets to spend time with other kids.
30. You’re Doing It Wrong.
If one thing resonates from this list, there is no one way to do anything regarding parenting. So yes, you will get some things wrong; this is life, and messing up is how you learn. But no, mom and dad, there’s no one “right” way of doing it.
Keep your head up, parents, and no matter who you hear these unnecessary comments from, don’t let them or their words get the best of you. If you do things your way, you can’t go wrong.