Ariel Gore, creator of Hip Mama: The Parenting Zine, and author of a memoir (Atlas of the Human Heart), several parenting books (The Mother Trip, The Hip Mama Survival Guide, Whatever, Mom), and a new novel (The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show), recommends that we take all the unsolicited advice with a grain of salt:
Never listen to anyone's advice with regard to how much or how little you are doing for your kid. Of all the parenting "advice" I've gotten over the years, ninety percent of it has actually been unasked-for criticism that I am either neglectful, or, alternately, "hovering." The worst thing about these judgments is that they usually include dire predictions about the horrible consequences my kid will suffer for my sins (either she's going to die of neglect or be crippled by over-parenting). I've gotten literally thousands of these off-handed comments and overwrought analyses in the past 16 years. The predictions included: She will never learn to walk; she will walk too early and her legs will be malformed; she will never learn to read; she will develop long-lasting anxiety with regard to reading; She will fear leaving the house; She has left the house too soon! She will be kidnapped!; She will not know how to catch a bus if you ever let her leave the house; She'll never get a job and won't move out until she is 40; She will run away at 13! Well…The kid's only 16 years old, but my neglect and hovering notwithstanding, she learned to walk, read, leave the house, catch a bus, get a job, and drive a car on her own dang time. Knock wood, the kid is all right.