Thursday, June 21, 2012

Permission to Give Advice

Recently I was in a seminar that focused on relating to our adult children. While I was in a closed adoption for 17 years, my birthdaughter has been in and out of my life since then. I went to the seminar hoping to gain some wisdom on how to do things right now that she’s an adult.

One bit of knowledge I got was to ask permission before giving advice. This is important in all adult relationships, by the way, and not just the one with Katie. But in my life, it seems I would be more inclined to give unsolicited advice to her instead of my other adult friends. Why? Probably because I still see her as a child. I’m working on that, but I’m slow.
Shortly after we reconnected a few years ago, she had an adult situation going on in her life. I’m not really sure if she asked my advice or not, but I sure gave it to her. As a result, I didn’t hear from her for 18 months, an eternity when someone has just come back into your life after a long absence.

The teacher at the seminar encouraged us to see ourselves not as parents, but as mentors, guides and wise friends. That perspective is helping me. I’m obviously not her parent, but I haven’t been sure what I am and where I fit into her life until now. Those handles give me a place to start.

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