Saturday, May 07, 2005
"You Can't Give Me Advice..."
I recall many times in the past hearing parents evade any challenge to their parenting skills or tactics with, "Do you have kids? If not, you can't question my parenting." Well, as a parent, I have this to say....
If you have good parenting instincts, whether or not you are a parent, your advice may well be both helpful and correct.
If you have bad parenting instincts, whether or not you are a parent, the question of how many kids you have is irrelevant to the fact that your parenting skills are wanting.
Experience helps - no matter how good your instincts, you can't really know whether you are correct until you test them in practice. (But inadequate parents often seem immune from noticing or acknowledging, let alone learning from, their mistakes.)
Whether or not you have kids, whether or not you have good parenting instincts, and whether or not you are speaking to a parent with good parenting instincts, you can reasonably expect that you won't be thanked for your "contribution" of uninvited parenting advice.
If you ever find yourself saying, "My parents did [questioned parenting conduct] and I turned out okay", you probably didn't. (That's an intentional overstatement - but you know the type of person I'm talking about.)