I wrote this post about unsolicited advice several years ago. I keep on repeating the same mistake. When my kids are going through an uneasy time, I jump with advice on what they should do. This especially angers my daughter and she snaps at me. My so will listen calmly and then ignore whatever I have to say. I really need to stop this constant need to fix everything in my children’s lives! They need to experience life and learn on their own. Mommy can’t do it for them. Here’s the story I wrote about unsolicited advice:
A few weeks ago, my daughter was telling me how she’d missed practice because she had a midterm and the time conflicted. Her coach wasn’t happy, she said.
“Well,” I said, “maybe you should call her and explain. Or, better yet, next time you’re going to miss practice, let her know in advance.”
“Mom, I’m telling you something. I don’t need your unsolicited advice. A simple ‘that sucks’ would suffice.”
I was offended. My feelings were tweaked, not exactly hurt. I thought, what is going on with her?
This week she called and asked for my advice about a sticky situation with a friend. I get it now. She had a problem she couldn’t solve on her own. She wanted my advice and then she would handle it from there.
My mistake has been offering advice when my perfectly capable, adult child is making her own decisions and finding her own way. She does not need her mom telling her what to do all the time.
This was reinforced again when she called with an issue with her university and paperwork for the fall quarter. I gave her a few suggestions of who to call, what to do.
“I’ve done all that, Mom. I’m just telling you about it.”
Yes, I understand now. She’s sharing the trials and tribulations in her life. She’s not asking me what to do. If she needs my help she will ask me.
I should be thankful that my daughter likes to share. That she can figure things out on her own. That she’s got a strong head and can handle the daily tasks of living in a house, paying utility bills, handling school bureaucracy, and getting a speeding ticket.
Welcome to adulthood! I guess a simple “that sucks” from time to time is all she needs.
How do you handle unsolicited advice when someone offers some to you?