The Time I Gave Really Bad Parenting Advice



I gave terrible advice to my coworker one time. It wasn’t general advice that I gave, it was parenting advice. Oh, and did I mention this was years ago, long before I had any children of my own?

I was so sure of myself. She was having trouble with her baby’s sleep situation, and I was glad to offer my advice. It didn’t concern me that I didn’t have firsthand experience; I was certain that in this case, I knew more than she did.

I had read about her problem in a book.

Wait, it probably wasn’t a book because I don’t think I had read any parenting books at the time. It might have been a magazine article, but whatever, everyone KNEW this was the RIGHT way, and if she didn’t follow this conventional wisdom, she would be sorry later.

I regretted it, especially later when I had a baby and faced the same situation.

Another time, more recently, a friend was trying to figure out a good fitness routine for herself. She was trying to get back into shape, and she wondered if she might be overdoing it?

I don’t know much of anything about getting into shape. The last time I remember doing a sit up was back in 2005. This time, I knew better than to offer my opinion when I didn’t have experience to back it up.

I can offer encouragement, in some special cases I can offer experience, and only when asked will I share an opinion. Most of the time I just try to give benefit of the doubt because that’s what I want.

I don’t really care about conventional wisdom any more. More parenting experience teaches me that every child is unique, and there is no formula.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the author
Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it's so much easier to be a parent when you're not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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10 Responses to “The Time I Gave Really Bad Parenting Advice”

  1. Erin Jan 17 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    Oh, weren’t we all parenting experts before we became parents? I used to LOVE watching Supernanny because I adored the way she would march into the home and be like, “HELLO, DUH, YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING WRONG.” Her “isn’t this obvious?” routine really spoke to my pre-parenthood sureness about how parenting should be done. I haven’t seen it lately but I think I would probably want to punch her in the face…

  2. Phillipa Jan 20 at 1:12 pm Reply Reply

    I have a friend who always says…”this is how I would do it if I ever decided to have kids….” Which she has decided she never will. And I think after 3 (expecting #4), I know a little bit more than she does. I just always smile sweetly and say “good luck with that”.

  3. Megan Feb 08 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    Hilarious. Now if I can only remember to apply it. 

  4. Erica {let why lead} Feb 08 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    Love this. It’s simple, but too many of us don’t think of it! I am going to save more of my opinions too. (Except on my blog, haha, because that’s what blogs are for, and people can self-select. :) 

  5. Holly Feb 08 at 6:32 pm Reply Reply

    I made a resolution within the last couple of years not to offer advice unless specifically asked for it.   Blogging excepted, of course. :)

  6. Kim @ Extra Organized Feb 08 at 11:43 pm Reply Reply

    So wise, Rachel! I’ve learned that life tends to challenge me on anything I’m too opinionated on, so I try to be more careful about passing judgement on anything these days :) And isn’t it amazing how much parenting advice is conflicting – sometimes downright opposite ideas about the same things.

  7. Michelle Feb 10 at 5:57 pm Reply Reply

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today!  Thank you.

  8. Lex Feb 13 at 7:15 am Reply Reply

    Sure but WHAT exactly was your bad advice? 

  9. Shelby Mar 17 at 1:16 pm Reply Reply

    Rachel!  I’m so happy to see your name again! Will you ever be writing your blog again? I miss it so much and have wondered how you’ve been doing 


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