Monday, February 10, 2014

10 Things NOT to Do To Your Grown Kids

Your mother did it.  You hated it.  How hard is it to not do it yourself?

1. Rearrange the dishes in the dishwasher.  Yes, yes, I know there’s a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ way to do it and yes, I know we’re doing it ‘wrong’ and yes, your way really is better.  But CUT IT OUT!  You hated it when your mom did it to you.  That’s the rule: if you hated it when your mom did it, DON’T DO IT!

2. Rearranging anything, for that matter . . . food in the cupboards, clothes in the closet, flowers in the garden, silverware in the drawer . . . is off limits.  Got it?

3. Call to ask why you haven’t called.  Or worse, have another family call to tell you to call.  Seriously?  Who does that?  You know who you are.

4. When you have an opposite-handed child (you’re a rightie and she’s a leftie), do take the time to put things the way they were when you got there.  You inhabit opposite worlds.  Deal with it and be considerate – it’s easy, really: if it goes the way that’s comfortable for you, reverse it.

5. Don’t complain that everything is wrong because it’s wrong, awkward for or simply different from how you do it.  You heard me: DON’T.

6. Putting it in the form of a question does NOT help.  See how easy a declarative sentence is?  So, do not ask, “wouldn’t that be better if . . .”  If your daughter thought it would be better that way, she would have done it that way.  Putting it in the form of a question is just being passive aggressive in trying to get your way.  CUT IT OUT.  Still don’t believe me?  Well, since you’re fond of questions, ask yourself this one: can you name a single time when, in response to one of your suggestion questions, your daughter responded, “why yes, mother, that would be better.  Thanks for suggesting it.”?  I thought not.

7. If you really can do it better, chances are your daughter already knows that.  Keep it to yourself.  Nobody likes a show-off and living up to you and your superior meat loaf really is not her job.

8. Insist on being the last one out of the house when it’s your kid’s house.  It’s okay to be the last one out, doing all the checking, light turning, door locking rechecks, but it is not okay at someone else’s house and that includes your kids.  If they’ve left the toaster plugged in and on stuffed with burning bread, that really is their problem.  LET IT GO.  I know, I know, it’s really self-preservation on your part – you really don’t want them to come live with you after the house burns down, but get over it.  THAT’S your job.

9. And here’s the big one – do NOT, do NOT, do NOT offer unsolicited (or even solicited in most cases) advice on child rearing.  Short of abusive behavior, everybody’s doing the best they can.  It’s a hard job.  And it DOESN’T HELP (so stop already with the “I was only trying to help” defense).  Say what you really mean: “I’m worried”; “Are you okay?”;  “Boy it’s hard to raise kids”; “Is there anything I need to know?”.  Leave the advice at the door.  Cos here’s the thing – the advice usually comes in some form of vague critique: “you should do something about . . .”  or my own favorite, “in my day, we didn’t allow . . .”  Well, yes you did.  You’ve just forgotten.  I was there.  Remember?  And if I did it, you let it.  And why do you think we’re not doing something about it?  And exactly what is it that you’d like done that isn’t being done?  Of course you were the superior parent – that goes without saying – so don’t say it.  Your kid already believes it, so what good does it do for both of you to be in agreement that your kid is a failure?  And really, if that’s so, what does that make you?  Hurts, doesn’t it?  Might think about that before jumping into that particular pool.

10. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES come at your child who is now an adult with spittle.  YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  And it still counts if you’ve wet a handkerchief or tissue or paper towel with your tongue to wipe something off them.  DO NOT DO IT.  Unless, that is, you really do want your adult child to be a slobbering, dependent mess who requires your assistance in their grooming, in which case, still DON’T DO IT and get help.  Seriously – like right now – get some help.

A DISCLAIMER: Mostly, I am writing about myself as a parent, so do not take this as being about my own mother – well, except for the dishwasher thing . . . and the meat loaf . . . and the leaving the house last – really, Mom, I’m not burning the house down – I promise.  That is all.


  1. #7 is priceless!! I just love all of it! Every last bit!!! God help us...and the children we burden with our superior loving! LOL Thanks for this!! ;-)

    1. Hey Miss Jones! I've been chuckling all morning. Love the phrase, "superior loving" - what a good reminder for me to get humble about my superior self. Hugs

  2. Eeeeyew... I recognize myself in so many of these. It's a little comfort to realize I'm not the only mother or mother-in-law guilty of these transgressions. (I said a "little" comfort.) My "meat loaf" is chocolate chip cookies!

    Thanks for enlightening me, Beth. I'll work on myself!

    1. Marilyn, as mothers who have been daughters, it's funny how our patterns get so ingrained. And I for one would LOVE some of your chocolate-chipped flavored meat loaf :-)