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10 Things Not to Say to Your Adult Children

  • March 31, 2014
  • By 50 Shades
  • 14 Comments

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Experience from 25 years of parenting has taught me what to say and what not to say to my adult children.  After all they have been around so long and are fully worldly wise and they don’t need to be reminded about some of the lessons in life that I have learned (mostly the hard way!)

Confucius once said “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”.

They say that wisdom like, good judgment, comes with experience.  In other words, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” The important thing is to grow and learn from your experiences. When you have good judgment you will always be solving problems, seeing better results, and moving forward.

The parental advice, that I’m sure I have given hundreds of times to my two adult children that has fallen on deaf ears, is as follows:

  1. Drive safely – we all know they are expert drivers even though they have they have had several minor collisions, including reversing into a car parked in our backyard!
  2. Don’t drink too much – Generation Y love to binge drink and then spend the next 3 days sleeping it off.  They also know every drinking game ever invented!  But they always think it was something they ate that gave them that terrible headache the morning after.
  3. Stop burning the candle at both ends – when they say they are tired and run down why don’t they spend a night at home instead of going to every shindig/gathering/party in the State?
  4. You need to eat healthier – unfortunately our years of packing nutritious lunches and cooking healthy meals consisting of all five food groups have not made any impact.  I’m sure they don’t even know what ‘five food groups’ are!
  5. You live in a pig sty!  When you go to visit them at their new abode and you see a month’s worth of dirty plates, mouldy food scraps and unwiped kitchen benches in their kitchen you will understand what I mean!
  6. Don’t wash your whites with your darks – I have never seen so many formerly white items of clothing that are now a lovely shade of pale grey!  “Can’t you just put that in Napisan Mum”?
  7. Get a haircut– you are too old to be a Surfie/Indie/Hipster ‘wanna be’.  You are an adult so get an appropriate hair cut!
  8. Just work for a bit longer before you resign/go overseas/start a new career – working in the same job for more that 12 months is too tough for Generation Y.  They just want to go straight to the top and earn $200,000 a year, drive a company car and have 2 months of holidays every year.
  9. Save some of your money – their response to this is normally “I want to live my life while I’m still young.  There is plenty of time to save money and be boring like you”!
  10. Don’t spend so much time on your iPhone/iPad/Facebook – if one of these devices is lost or damaged it is almost as if they have lost an arm or leg!  They are too over-reliant on these electronic gadgets, but our generation just don’t understand ‘technology’!

But try and tell any of this to Gen Y and you will generally hit a brick wall of defensive replies such as “you don’t need to tell me that, I already know” or the roll of the eyes and the remark “you don’t have to be so condescending – I know what I’m doing”!

I say “knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens”.

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By 50 Shades, March 31, 2014 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 14

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

14 Comments
  • Ginger Kay
    June 8, 2013

    I taught my three children how to do their own laundry. They did fine when they were children. At some point, one forgot how to sort, one forgot how to clean the lint trap, two forgot that overloading the machine can kill it, and all three forget to check pockets. If they weren’t using my machines, I wouldn’t care, but I told the overloader last month that if the washer breaks, a new one is not coming out of my savings account.

    • Kathy
      June 10, 2013

      They get their eventually. Once they have to fork out money of their own to pay for their mistakes they soon take notice!

  • Phoebe
    June 8, 2013

    Oh, so true! It is a challenge to watch them learn the hard way…especially when we’ve tried to pass on our wisdom (probably gained by our own mistakes!).

    • Kathy
      June 10, 2013

      Phoebe, that is exactly right. We are after all trying to save them the pain of our own mistakes. If only they would take notice.

  • Maritza Martinez
    June 8, 2013

    You can probably continue adding to the list! Parenting children under and near 24 is like walking the plank, you’re not sure what to say or when to say it. One word: DEAF. Great post!

    • Kathy
      June 10, 2013

      Thanks Maritza.Yes there are many more ‘pearls of wisdom’ that we like to hand out to our children for them to completely ignore!

  • grownandflown
    June 8, 2013

    So, so true – every last one of these. We tried our best, didn’t we, just like our parents did for us and we turned out ok….eventually learning to sort whites from darks. Great list!

    • Kathy
      June 10, 2013

      We sure did! I remember ignoring every piece of advice that my parents gave me. If only we could have an old head on young shoulders.

  • Pinky Poinker
    March 31, 2014

    Number 4, 8 and 9 are the best of this collection of home truths! Mine spend money like it’s burning a hole in their pocket. What good lookers you’ve got there Kathy! Your daughter is the image of you. As I always say to mine, “The best mistakes to learn from are other people’s (ie; your brother’s).”

    • Kathy
      April 1, 2014

      That is also good advice Pinky. My two seem to take great delight when the other one stuffs up! Sibling rivalry runs fierce in my family. Yes it is hard getting them to save a bit of their money as they want every new electronic gadget or designer brand leather handbag on earth. A lot of people say my daughter and I are alike but I think with her blond hair and blue eyes we are nothing alike.

  • Rae Hilhorst
    March 31, 2014

    I am a firm believer in telling what you know, and then letting them make their own mistakes, but being there to pick them up, brush them of and go again xx

    • Kathy
      April 1, 2014

      That is very good advice Rae. I guess we learn best from our mistakes, but I would prefer it if my kids didn’t! That’s the over-protective parent in me.

  • middleagedmama1
    April 4, 2014

    Yup, I’m guilty of saying many of these things … dunno why though for all the response I get sometimes!!!

    • Kathy
      April 5, 2014

      It is like talking to a brick wall sometimes. I’ve noticed however now our kids are getting a bit older they do call us up to ask for advice on things like buying a new car etc.

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