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Know-It-All Person
Photo: Joe Kucharski
“I’m very concerned.” A well-meaning church member had cornered my wife about a particular way that we were raising our children, and she was explaining the “right way” of doing things. My exhausted wife wearily smiled and attempted to give an explanation.

If you’re a parent of little ones, you know all too well just how frustrating it can be. Kids don’t come in “well behaved” packages, nor do they come with individual instructions. Being a good parent can be frustrating. No, let me rephrase that, it can seem almost impossible at times. Why is it that the only people who seem to think they’re the experts on raising kids are the ones who don’t have any?

Here are a few ways that you can deal with well-meaning individuals who seem to believe they have all the answers:

1. Smile and be nice. Getting angry and spouting off at someone who is sticking their nose in your business may only confirm your inability as a parent in their eyes. Thank them for their concern and let them know that you are doing the best you can.

2. Make sure that you know where you stand on parenting, and why you have taken that position. Be ready to kindly, but firmly explain it in terms that anyone can understand. Be prepared to hold that position if you know that it is right.

3. Pray the serenity prayer when you are feeling angry towards people who feel so enlightened about parenting issues. Here’s the prayer in three parts:

a) “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change;”  You can’t change people’s attitudes towards your parenting, and God doesn’t ask you to. Seek the Creator’s peace about the fact that you will never please everyone—no matter how hard you try.

b)  “courage to change the things I can;” let’s face it, we all can improve our parenting skills. And, some piece of advice (even from an obnoxious know-it-all) may have merit. God can help us have the courage to change what needs changing.

c) “and the wisdom to know the difference.” As parents, we’re often limited to what we can and cannot change. Our Divine Counselor can help us to know the difference.

Good parenting isn’t easy, and it never has been. Dealing constructively with those who think they have all the answers can help us find some of the balance we search for.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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