What is it with elderly strangers and aggressive unsolicited advice!!!?(7 Posts)
Bit of a rant... Sorry but I sort of need it.
What is it with the elderly and unwanted advice?
There was a break in the weather late this afternoon so I decided to take DD out for some fresh air. I put her in her little baby carrier and we ventured out for a short walk. After a while we strolled past our local council tennis courts and went in to watch a bit of the action. The sports facility has a club house so we eventually went inside for a few minutes to check out the US Open tennis match on TV.
A group of men aged between 55 and 65 then took it upon themselves to criticize my parenting skills. One man said that putting a baby in a (babybjorn) carrier "was unthinkably cruel" because the baby can't see the surrounding environment and should instead be positioned so she can see the world. My DD was happily asleep on my chest at the time. She is only 11 weeks old and her field of vision extends about 50cms, so its not like she should be facing outwards. I basically ignored these elderly hecklers but that just made them more determined.
It wasn't long before the most aggressive advice giver waddled over to us and started stroking DD's head and face, all the while spouting unsolicited advice. He had the grubbiest hands and filthy nails. My baby girl has developed eczema on her face and I don't want a stranger touching her so I explained this politely but the man took great offense when I asked him not to touch her. I had to tell him three times and pushed his hand away twice before he finally got the message. But he took an aggressive stance and I was in a position in the room, where I was cornered between several tables and a couch without an easy escape if things got ugly.
This was a pretty big guy but he was old and slow but still thought he had some right to impose his outdated beliefs on me and my daughter. I'd never met the man before and hadn't spoken a word to him until I asked him not to touch DD.
I'm 171cm tall, so not that tall for a man but I'm a former three time Olympic athlete in an athletic sport so I'm pretty fast, strong and confident in most environments. The reason I mention this is because this idiot thought he had some right to behave the way he did over me and my daughter in a public place with relative impunity to the point of aggression and his elderly friends supported it. Now if I was a small passive woman I might have been terrified. Then again women are well know for their protective motherly instincts and will defend their kids with fierce aggression when need be. I guess I was just so surprised at what took place today and need to write it down.
Has anyone else encountered unsolicited aggressive advice from elderly strangers?
I once had an old lady profer advice in my local cafe.
DD was about 2 and had eaten all her cake. I was telling her she was my best baby. It was my phrase du jour at the time.
The lady came up and said I shouldn't say that because when number 2 comes along DD would get upset at not being the only one.
Now I'd never met this woman before and I didn't want anymore dcs.
I told the woman that I was unable to have anymore and that perhaps in future she should keep her opinions to herself.
She apologised and left shame-faced. I got a round of applause from the rest of the customers.
You need to grow a thicker skin, I'm afraid. It won't just be elderly strangers, it will be all sorts of people of any age over 30, depending on their level of nosiness and officiousness.
Maybe they were just shocked to see daddy out with a baby instead of mummy and felt more of a need to interfere (just as inappropriately, I hasten to add!) I did read that right, didn't I - you are a man? Will be very if I misread that!
Once you have a baby, you are fair game for anyone to pass comment, offer unsolicited advice etc. Just learn to ignore it.
im with OP, i would go mental if someone wouldnt stop touching my newborn with filthy hands even AFTER i asked them to stop and explain why. my baby is not public property, in fact, i expect even close friends and family to to be too touchy and to wash their hands properly before touching her. im totally with you on the instincts. i think it was your strong motherly instinct that made you unafraid to face this amount of hostility for your baby and good for you!
age is not a get-out-of jail card. in fact this kind of behaviour is totally out of bounds for any age group.
I don't blame you for being angry, the invasion of personal space and refusal to stop touching your baby when you requested him not to is extremely rude.
And the advice was rubbish in any case. Facing a baby outwards in a carrier is actually not recommended by the baby-wearing community because it isn't a good position for the infant's developing hip joints.
You have every right to prevent strangers from interacting with your child if you don't wish it.
You have to accept that loads of old people are just irritating old bastards.
We've been told that we're not "teaching our babies to swim correctly" when we were splashing around in the local pool with our 1 year olds. DS was scrabbling around in some leaves and was then aggressively pointed at by some old woman who told me "there might be dog shit".
I just go "No, he's fine but thank you for your input". Mind you, I have a stare that could break glass and a particularly schoolmarmish air about me. It's good to cultivate this.
Oh and my DS loved the baby bjorn, facing in when small and out when bigger - don't worry about the whole hip thing unless they're going to be in it for hours, which they're probably not.
Join the discussion
Please login first.