We here at Parenting Grown Children central--I use the editorial we since there's no one here but me--have long counseled that we can offer our grown children advice, but should do so only when asked. (See Notes to Self.) Yes, we have much life experience to share--wisdom born of experience that could help our grown children avoid mistakes. But we have to let them figure stuff out for themselves. If they want our good counsel--and sometimes they do--they'll ask for it. Otherwise, bite that lip; walk gently on those eggshells.
Not an easy direction to follow. Sometimes the temptation can be too much; the stakes too high. Carolyn Hax recently advised a dad--she was asked for her counsel. The dad was concerned about his 27-year-old son who graduated college with honors in his field but was working at a low-pressure, low-wage job and living with and off his girlfriend. The dad's wife--the stepmother--has been pressuring him to have a "serious father-son talk" with his son about the son's future. The dad is clearly of two minds. He is worried about his son but he also has faith that "he'll eventually find his direction in life. And not everyone needs to be a CEO, right?" And so he turns to Hax to ask, "Should I talk with him or not?"
Hax's answer wasted no words: "Not. Not your business."
So hard to step back and take Hax's advice. And yet, needs must. If we brought them up right, they will find their true north--though it may not be the one we would choose for them. Cheers and show the love of support, dad.