If your kids are at all like mine, they usually don’t want unsolicited advice. It’s often hard for me to show restraint but I’m slowly learning to offer my “wisdom” sparingly. A magazine article I was reading recently offered the following suggestions on how to give advice when your advice is asked for.
Avoid answering too quickly. Ask questions. Nod your head. Wait until you get a nudge: “So what do you think?” If people have to work a little for your insight, they’ll value it all the more.
Listen carefully to your advisee’s account of her situation and answer based on what she should do. When my daughter asked whether she should become an actress, I wasn’t sure I could be supportive. Then I remembered her love of the stage since she discovered it at age 8. “Go for it,” I said. She’s struggling but she loves it. And it’s her life after all.
Determine what the recipient really wants. Sometimes, it’s your sympathy or your perspective. My daughter didn’t need my wisdom; she wanted my approval. Instead of advice, in other words, what most people seek is your blessing.
Based on an article written by Jay Heinrichs, for Reader’s Digest