"O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as ithers see us!" That's 18th Century Scottish poet Robert Burns sharing his insight that continues to hold true today.
In that spirit, here are our adult children's top two complaints about us, as told to Carolyn Hax in an online discussion. I am hopeful neither of these top two "annoying" habits apply to me, but I'm self-scrutinizing anyway.
Number One: Offering criticism and unsolicited advice.
Number Two: Ignoring cues and asking highly personal questions when no one is in the mood for sharing.
Hax sympathizes with the adult children who responded to a reader-letter and a follow-up prompt, "What makes my parents so annoying." But she and her readers also have a few suggestions for us on how to "mitigate" their annoyance with us.
Here are a few of them (edited version):
Let your kids be themselves. Few annoyances are as annoying as being parented against one's will.
Keep your anxieties to yourself.
Learn not to feel or act hurt that your kids find you annoying. It's more positional than personal anyway.
Learn to laugh at yourself, and admit when you're wrong.
Don't make them spend time with you. If you have a relationship where they can say no to a visit or that they have other plans, then there's a limit to how much you can annoy them.
painting: Emma Amos, Self Portrait