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Child Caring

There's such a thing as too much family

Barbara,

How can I politely tell family -- my family as well as my in-laws -- to leave me alone. I know they raised great kids (me! my hubby!) but I want to do things my way? The holidays especially are a time when my dander gets ruffled because there's so much family around. My husband and I are the youngest of the sibs on both sides and I get tired of hearing, "Have you tried...." or "What I used to do...." It's not like my kids are problems. Just that everyone has advice about everything. My hubby says my skin is too thin; I say they all butt-ins. I find myself not enjoying the season and I become very quiet. Then they start to ask, what's wrong?!

From: Feeling hateful at the holidays! NYC

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Dear Feeling Hateful,

I hear you! Even when people offer advice for all the right reasons -- they love you! they love your kids! they hate to see you re-inventing the wheel! they really do have good ideas! -- it's not fun to hear advice coming at you from all directions, 24/7. And when the advice is coming from people who truly are buttinski's, well, I don't need to go there, right?

Re-read what you wrote and say it back to them. "I know you did a great job as parents; look at us! I love you and I know you love me, and I know you want to be helpful. There are times when I want your advice. But could you please wait to offer it until I ask?"

Keep it short and simple, and keep your tone matter-of-fact. And, like with kids, you may have to repeat it, and repeat it. And repeat it.