Advice – Who Really Wants It?
Imagine you are walking through a shopping centre, casually gazing at the items in the store windows, when you see a mother attempting to calm and placate a wailing two year old child. The child thrashes his legs and arms whilst the mother tries to regain control of the situation. The child then explodes in full tantrum mode reaching ear piercing levels.
What do you and other onlookers say?
In any regular shopping centre, you might hear whispers like:
“Just give him a good smack,” or
“They should control their child!“
“Keep them at home when they are like that!”
Cruel unhelpful judgements and advice.
I feel sure that Mum would love to hear these words,
“Can I help you in any way?”
On another day, you might see a shy child clinging to his mother, refusing to participate in an activity; virtually hiding behind his mother’s skirt.
Friends, family and even educators might comment:
“I would not put up with that,”
“She lets him/her get away with too much,”
“He is spoiling him/her,”
“She’s far too anxious – she needs to get out out from his shell.”
Insignificant damage accumulates.German Proverb
Parents and Carers often try to manage their child’s behaviour using a variety of techniques and a good dose of trial and error. At the same time, most parent would want to encourage their child in participating in social activities.
In the above case of the tantruming or introverted child, a wise elderly lady leaned over from her seat and gave the Mum a helpful suggestion in reference to the judgmental onlookers:-
“Don’t mind them, your child will fly when he is ready.“
Venting those Pent up Emotions
I have heard many pieces of advice in the past, and I have even been guilty of some judgmental comments in my younger years b.c., (i.e. before children). As time passed, it became very apparent if someone wanted advice, they would ask for it.
Many people don’t want any kind of unsolicited advice, particularly with reference to child rearing. They merely want to vent their pent up feelings, be it anger or frustration. It may even be their chosen way to communicate that they would like some assistance, but are too proud to ask for it.
They want someone to listen to them, just for a moment.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All.
In ‘venting,‘ many of us appear to be going through a process of working out what is best for us. A kind of self-evaluation and problem- solving.
One person’s solution might be quite different from the next person.
Because after all, we are all very different from one another. We are all individuals. Thus, every person’s solution will naturally also be very different from the next.
“One size doesn’t fit all.“
In commenting about the tantruming boy up above, the older lady was letting the boy’s Mum know that things will be okay; in time, things will work out:- To Trust in one’s gut instincts.
Her focus was on the outcome for the child, rather than judging the quality of the parenting, or the perceived inaction of the parent or carer.
She appeared to focus her comment, on the outcome for the child, rather than judging the action of the parent, or perceived inaction.”
It so happens that child later turned out to have a diagnosis of autism.
Would the disapproving onlookers have given the same reproachful response, if only they knew that? Wpuld they still be so critical? Or would they shy away from the situation more?
If we offer up advice or suggestions when they are unsolicited, we are only looking through one prism – our eyes.
It may not be the other person’s truth, even if it is yours.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”Unknown
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you wouldn’t give to anyone else?
I invite you to join in on the discussion by leaving a comment.
Something to Ponder About this Sunday.