How to Deal with Backseat Parenting

One of the most challenging jobs in the world is being a parent, and sometimes outside and unnecessary opinions make doing that job a lot more complicated. While navigating the world of parenthood comes with its own unique set of challenges, backseat parenting from others can be a frustrating part of raising children, especially for new parents. While everyone may have their way of dealing with their children, it’s perfectly okay to find your own way in the parenting world and seek advice when you wish.

Our learning environments that foster creativity and imagination are just one of the many reasons you should choose The Breakie Bunch to be your daycare service provider. We are here to be a trusted resources for children and parents, even when you have the unfortunate pleasure of interacting with a backseat parent. In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about how to deal with backseat parenting effectively, so you can spend more time with your children and less time worrying about the negative opinions of others.


What is Backseat Parenting?

Backseat parenting occurs when someone such as a friend, family member, or even a total stranger vocalizes their unsolicited parenting advice. In most cases, backseat parents believe their commentary is given with good intentions, but it’s not always perceived that way. It’s a parental right to raise your children how you deem fit without the kind of critical commentary that comes from backseat parenting.

Some parental situations can be difficult and sensitive on their own, and adding another opinion to the mix may lead to complications and frustrations for both the parent and the child. Backseat parents can come off as being overprotective and not allowing children or parents to work through their dilemmas.

Backseat parenting advice can manifest in many different ways. Keep reading to learn more about who can be a backseat parent and how you can spot this type of behavior.


Who Can Be a Backseat Parent?

Culprits of backseat parenting can come in many different shapes and forms – no matter what it looks like, it’s unnecessary and wrong. Whether it’s your parents saying, “That’s not how we used to do things back in my day.”, or a new friend criticizing your parenting style because they have a different approach, backseat parenting can be extremely frustrating and irritating. These unwanted opinions can come off as harsh, judgmental, and unnecessary.

Here are a few examples of what a backseat parent may look like:

  • Control-oriented spouse
  • Overbearing grandparents
  • Interfering in-laws
  • Overprotective friends
  • Criticizing strangers

When dealing with children, emotions are already high, like when a parent deals with a temper tantrum. Throwing another person’s opinion into the mix can confuse the parent on what to do next or give them the impression that they’re being judged when they know what’s best for their child.


The Negative Meaning Behind Backseat Parenting

Backseat parenting is not just giving unsolicited advice. This type of communication has a deeper, negative meaning. Backseat parenting is the result of overprotective, growth-preventing, and scaremongering communication styles. The type of behavior negatively affects the parent who is trying their best to deal with their situation on their terms, but it can also negatively affect children.

The effects of a controlling adult figure, such as a backseat parent, can negatively encourage children to act out more. When a controlling adult figure consistently reprimands a child, it can lower the child’s self-esteem. Parents and children need to know that they’re capable of handling their emotions within their parent/child interaction and without the opinions of non-parental figures.

When parents teach their children how to deal with a situation, they will begin to learn how to act the next time around. This learning cycle is necessary for the child’s psychological and emotional growth and development. Check out this guideline for the social and emotional milestones for toddlers.


How to Respond to Backseat Parents

Knowing when to step in and respond to backseat parents is a delicate balance. Setting boundaries for yourself is essential, and other people in your life should not intrude on your parental style. Politely shutting down any commentary on your parenting style is critical.

If someone comments on your parenting style, you can respond confidently and reiterate your independence as a parent. Let the backseat parent know that you are fully capable of dealing with the situation on your own, and you are the parent and therefore know what’s best.

Here are three easy responses to remember when dealing with backseat parenting advice:

  • Let others know that you have the situation handled
  • Remind others that you are the parent
  • State that if you need any help, you will reach out

Sometimes setting these boundaries can be as simple as shifting the perspective of a backseat parent. If they were in your shoes, would they want the opinions of others putting pressure on them to perform as a parent?

All in all, it’s essential to find the courage to be yourself and let others know clearly that this is your role and what you say goes. Check out more tips on dealing with backseat parents so you can thrive as a parent on your terms.


Preventing Yourself from Becoming a Backseat Parent

Parenting styles will always incite opinion, whether we like to admit that or not. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming a backseat parent is never to give unsolicited advice, even if you have the urge to vocalize your honest opinion. When you see parents interacting with their child, remember that this is such a personal relationship to intrude on, have compassion, and only give your opinion when asked.

If you see your friends or loved one’s parent in a way you disagree with, remember that it is not your place to step in. One rule of thumb to remember is to think before you speak. Do not advise on parenting unless someone asks for your opinion. Even then, be gentle and remember that this is a tricky and sensitive subject for many people. By remembering these tips, you can avoid becoming a backseat parent.


Parenting Help from The Breakie Bunch

Navigating parenthood is a journey full of ups, downs, and unfortunately, sometimes backseat parents. Remember that parental opinions matter most when raising your children and your feelings are valid.

When you need daycare you can trust, or a resource for parental tips, like encouraging your children to do chores, you can turn to your friends at The Breakie Bunch.