Sunday, September 13, 2009


I just returned from reading a blog on being asked for advice.   I am stealing his theme and running with it.

When my children became adults I seemed to think my job wasn't over and continued to give them unasked for advice.  Needless to say, this was not welcome.  Still, I continued to lavish pearls of wisdom from my mouth and watching my children ignore my bounty.  

I don't remember how many years it took before I learned to bite my tongue - sometimes until it bled.  I finally realized that they were adults entitled to make their own mistakes.   After I learned to zip my lip I discovered that they were much smarter than I had given them credit for.   Somehow, without my help, they had learned how to cope with the problems that came into their lives without any input from me.

Once in awhile I was asked for advice and I gave it lavishly.  I considered it a high compliment that they thought me worthy enough to seek out my thoughts.    I am ashamed to admit that there have been other times when I opened my mouth and words came out sounding patronizing.  I was giving unasked for advice again.  I was always ashamed after losing self control like that and regretted my outburst as soon as it was over.   My long suffering children have politely told me that they know I am trying to help, but I am sure their private thoughts run along the lines of "there she goes again."  

Others have made comments on giving advice and the following are my favorites:
  • Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.  Erica Jong 

  • Some people like my advice so much that they frame it and hang it on the wall instead of using it.  Gordon R. Dickson
  • The best advice it this: Don't take advice and don't give advice.  ~ Author unknown
  •  It is a good divine that follows his own instructions.  William Shakespeare
  •  Old men are fond of giving good advice, to console themselves for being no longer in a position to give bad examples.  Francois La Rochefoucauld
  • The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others.  ~Author unknown
  • No one wants advice - only corroboration. John Steinbeck
  • I always pass on good advice.  It's the only thing to do with it.  It is never any use to oneself. Oscar Wilde. 


Sylvia K said...

Great post, Darlene! Maybe it was because I had my kids a little later in life, or for whatever reason, I figured once my kids reached twenty that I had taught them all they were going to learn from me and in many ways I stopped being the "parent". I was always there for them, I would always listen, but I was pretty tight mouthed with any advice unless asked. I've thought of us more as best friends since they turned twenty and it has worked well for us. They always knew that I was here for them, but I didn't try to push myself into their lives even though there were times I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I haven't regretted the path that I chose to take with them and even though we're scattered all over the country, we remain close.

I guess we all do our "parent" thing in the way that works best for us -- and them.

Have a great day, Darlene!


MissDazey said...

I can't say I give advice as much as I give my opinion on things.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Fortunately (or maybe not?) my daughters still think I am wise.

Occasionally they smart-alec me when they think I am harping, but for the most part, I am still who they turn to for help and the truth.

kenju said...

You're a wise woman. I try very hard not to dispense advice to my grown kids. Sometimes it is impossible not to....LOL

Rummuser said...

I have my 92 year old father living with me as also my 38 year old divorced son. I am subject to stereophonic advise from both generations above and below me. Neither asks for mine nor do I offer. I have learnt not to, just as you did, after a lot of regrets. It comes as a surprise to them when outsiders ask for my advise!

wally said...

I try not to give advice the kids and grandkids, especially after they ask for the "condensed version", or their eyes begin to glass over. But, if their life mistakes cost me time and treasure I tell them that if they accept my help then they will have to listen to my lectures.

Darlene said...

*Sylvia - I always knew you were a wise woman.

*MissDazey - Good one!!! Thank you for your visit. I do hope you will return.

*Cowtown Pattie - I think you can consider yourself a successful Mom.

*Kenju - Thanks for clearing up what I was trying to say.

*Rummuser - You know it was your post that gave me the idea for this one. Thank you.

*Wally _Too funny "their eyes begin to glass over." I know that look well.

One Woman's Journey said...

Darlene, a great post. As I read I could see myself!! Guess I have been a slow learner. Words come out of my mouth before thinking. I am getting better. I remember how I disliked the advice my mother was always passing on and vowed not to be like this.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Since my kids and I talk a lot about pretty much everything....I think we have worked it out where we don't actually call it 'advice' but that I'm their 'sounding board.' It seems to cover things nicely; and whatever comes out of my mouth after that is okay with them. Since they know I will listen to anything snd everything with love...and an objective ear....(just as I know you do Darlene,) they give me a lot of leeway too.

Darlene said...

*One Woman's Journey - We usually copy many things our mother's did that we swore we wouldn't do. ;-)

*Joy - Love is the operative word there, isn't it Joy?

Friko said...

Excellent advice, your post. I too have stopped giving advice a long time ago, ever since I realised that people are ENTITLED to make their own mistakes. How else will we ever learn?

I like the one about taking the advice we give to others best.

Darlene said...

*Friko - One thing about not giving advice; it keeps you out of trouble. ;-)