The Norman Transcript

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August 2, 2013

Only give advice when it’s asked for

(Continued)

NORMAN —

My point is that most of us Baby Boomers have a different parent-view than do our children. We understand the pitfalls of trying to be liked by one’s kids. We know that explanations lead to arguments. And so on.

Today’s parents discover all of this the hard way, if they discover it at all. And they discover it in their own time, in their own way. Until then, any attempt to teach them is going to go in one ear and out the other.

Worse, when grandparents try to sow these seeds of wisdom on ground that isn’t properly prepared, the resulting harvest is likely to be bitter. Many parents and grandparents out there are barely on speaking terms as a result of conflicts over how grandchildren are being raised. You don’t want to go there.

So my recommendation to grandparents is to take whatever opportunities present themselves to help parents become the best parents they can be and raise the best kids they can raise. Be gentle and know when to back off.

My personal policy has been to only give advice when it’s asked for, albeit there have been times when I’ve said, “I have some experience here, so if you want some advice, I’ll be glad to share it.”

I have only given unsolicited advice when I truly felt that the health, broadly defined, of the child in question was at issue.

In short, try your best to lead the horse to the water, but stop well short of trying to make it drink.

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions at www.rosemond.com.

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