Last year, when my family was gathered for the holidays, my (then) twenty-one-year-old daughter noticed the book “Doing Life with Your Adult Children,” sitting on our coffee table. Looking at the subtitle alone she said, with a little too much force for my liking, “I hope you are reading this book, because you need to!” (For context, the subtitle reads: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out). A little offended, I tried to smile in such a way to hide my discomfort with her comment’s insinuation.
My pride may have been hurt but she was right. I, like most parents of adult kids, can benefit from this work by Jim Burns. I could point you to many takeaways but instead, I’ll leave one that proved to be meaningful for me. Burns teaches that “unsolicited advice feels like condemnation so wait to be asked before you give any advice to your adult child.” Honestly, my daughter was grateful that I was actively trying to find ways to connect with her newfound life-situation where she is establishing her career, soon buying her first home, and struggling to find confidence in herself and her decisions. If you’re like me, this book may help you avoid the next adult-child blow up where you said all the wrong things at the exact wrong moment.