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Do You Accept Advice from Friends Without Kids?

I’ll admit it: until very recently I have been reluctant to accept parenting advice from people who don’t have children.

Because really? I don’t want to hear about the different theories of potty training if you haven’t been down deep in the trenches yourself.

And I don’t need to hear your views about sleep training and crying it out unless you’ve walked (the sleepless) walk.

I value experience, real life experience, from parents who have been there, and who understand that parenting problems are different from other problems, because OMG, your heart is on the line.

But the other day, a friend of mine came over and after we spent some time together with my kids, he made a comment to me about how I handled a situation with my teenage daughter. He was kind and prefaced it with all sorts of “this is none of my business” and “I don’t have children, so”.  But the point he made to me was excellent and I took it to heart.

And it got me thinking, is it unfair to discount the advice of friends (and others!) on child-rearing issues just because they don’t have children? Is having children a pre-requisite on making an observation about a parenting situation and offering advice? After all, just because someone is not a parent doesn’t mean that they do not have valuable insight, right?

Where do you stand on this? Do you prefer to get advice from someone who “has been there, done that” with her own children or do you value the fresh perspective that friends without children can offer?

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