How To Deal With An Overbearing Family

Do the words interfering, overbearing or opinionated mean anything to you? 

Do the words interfering, overbearing or opinionated mean anything to you? Are there people in your life that seem to constantly offer their golden advice irrespective of whether you have asked for it or not?
If it was a friend you might find it easier to encourage some distance between you and that person but when it involves close family members it is a much more complex situation.

They usually mean well. We know that deep down. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t make it any less irritating or stressful to deal with.
When you are just about keeping your head above water the last thing you want is a constant flow of advice and recommendations coming your way. That is unless you are asking for this advice which we would bet our next pay-check on that you are not.
That’s the really difficult thing actually. Being able to ask for advice and having an opinion is really important when you have children. Sometimes a fresh perspective from someone you trust is exactly what you need to see things in a new way.
But when you have asked for it you are in a space of being able to receive that information. You are feeling level headed enough to seek the opinion of someone else and chances are you won’t be easily offended or upset in that zone.
You know the person that you are posing the question to and therefore you have already had grounds to ask them for their advice. You know their way and you trust their opinion, even if you decide not to go with it.

Unsolicited advice is one of the most difficult things to manage when you are a parent but particularly when you are a new parent. Everyone is excited to share their experiences with you.
It’s refreshing to share war-wounds and connect on this new common level you may have never had before. But parenting is difficult. We consistently second-guess ourselves and wonder if we are doing right or wrong.
Spontaneous advice can really come as a knock because it puts a spotlight on what you are doing and how you are doing it. Even the thought of someone noticing that you have done things a certain way can feel really exposing.
During this vulnerable but rewarding time of raising children, we have the following tips which might help you to deal with a family that might just be that little bit too overbearing and opinionated about your parenting choices.

1. We cannot control other people but we can control our expectations of them and how we respond. Sometimes how we respond to other peoples opinions and advice is the very thing that upsets us the most. Take a deep breath, smile and nod.

2. If you feel it is possible to raise the issue politely then do. This person may not realize just how much they are interfering and upsetting you. Just be careful with your tone and choice of words so that it does not create a greater problem for you.

3. Think twice before you ask for advice. It is important to be able to seek help but is this the very person who is asked about one topic and then offers their expertise on a plethora of others you didn’t even ask about? Choose your battles.
4. TRY not take it personally. When people point the finger at someone else they are pointing four back at themselves. This kind of thing usually says more about the person doing the judging so try to see it as their stuff and their issue. Find a happy bubble and be your very own gatekeeper to keep things calm.

5. Remember you are not alone. Having a family that interferes or criticizes a lot is way more common than you might think. Have a little root online and you’ll probably find some forums about it. Blow off some stream behind the comfort of an anonymous profile or screen name.

6. Remember this when those around you have children in the future. It seems totally far-fetched now but it’s amazing how easily we all slip into the role of advice-giver and we really do it from a good place. This might help put it in perspective for you too.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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