Wouldn’t it be nice if people remembered we were all children once? Well, they don’t.

I bet there isn’t a parent out there who hasn’t been on the receiving end of advice about how to manage challenging behaviour. Total strangers have a nasty habit of telling us how to parent. In the shop when our screaming toddler is having a tantrum. When someone throws sand in the sand pit. Ok, when my child throws sand in the sandpit. On a plane when a passenger mutters under their breath as soon as they notice that they will be sitting right next to your family. And, they haven’t even seen or heard your kids do anything yet.

We’re not even safe in our own homes. Friends and family offer their best tips. Especially, on Christmas day. Could we be forgiven for wanting to punch them on the nose? Not wanting to set a bad example to our kids might be the only thing stopping  us from doing just that. Or not!

Setting boundaries with in-law’s (or even our own parents) can help us keep our dignity and our cool. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and a calm, rational thought process just isn’t possible in our sleep-deprived state.

Here are some words to navigate those sticky moments:

  • “I totally get that you want only the best for my kids. I am trying some different approaches and what I need most from you is your support.”


  • “I’m finding that Tom has a really sensitive temperament. In order to get his cooperation, I find that I need to be understanding of where he’s coming from first.”


  • “I have tried what you suggest and it only makes the problem worse. She will make the rest of the day miserable for us if I put her in her room.”


  • “You may not approve of how I am handling the situation but it is my choice for now, and I’d really appreciate your support rather than telling me what you think I should do.”

If all else fails,keep the thought in your head. The kids aren’t robots who do what we want, when we want them to, with a smile on their face. In other words, kids are just being kids.

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