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RoseRed135

How about SOLICITED advice?

18 posts in this topic

In the "Cultural differences & inlaw issues" thread, Gigima brought up the topic of "solicited advice." No doubt, this, too, can be a problem in parent/AC (adult child) or PIL (parent-in-law)/CIL (child-in-law) relationships. Many a parent/PIL/GP has been there - your (general you) AC (adult child) or CIL (child-in-law) asks your advice/opinion on this/that and then gets angry if your reply doesn't match their own ideas. What do you think is the best way to handle this situation?

(I know we've talked about this before, but not for a long time and we have new members here)

Edited by RoseRed135
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Thanks RR for starting this topic. Obviously I’m clueless about how to handle this so will be following it closely to see what I can learn. 

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Daughter did approach us when she asked her husband to leave about five years ago.  She insisted that we advise her against my own feelings.  Hubby even went to the lawyer with her and put a phone for her on our contract.  It all blew up in our face because she was to hasty in her decisions while trying to protect her assets.  She found out that in our state, there is an outline that the lawyers follow and it is a community property state.  The day they were to go to court they got back together instead.  Giving it a little time was what I was trying to suggest but was shot down.  After sharing too much private information with her dad, she actually cut him off for awhile because she was embarrassed with how much private information she had shared with him.

DIL calls some times as asked me what I'd suggest.  I usually tell her that I haven't had the access to all the information their doctor has and have no experience in that area.  While I do hope everything works out in the long run, I am confident that she and DS can talk over all the information they do have and come up with a working solution with the professionals help.

IMHO any advice given can come back and bite me if the butt if it doesn't work especially even if my advice has been asked for because the things they have tried are not working either.  They live in the city, there are plenty of professionals available to them.

Edited by SueSTx
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1 hour ago, SueSTx said:

Daughter did approach us when she asked her husband to leave about five years ago.  She insisted that we advise her against my own feelings.  Hubby even went to the lawyer with her and put a phone for her on our contract.  It all blew up in our face because she was to hasty in her decisions while trying to protect her assets.  She found out that in our state, there is an outline that the lawyers follow and it is a community property state.  The day they were to go to court they got back together instead.  Giving it a little time was what I was trying to suggest but was shot down.  After sharing too much private information with her dad, she actually cut him off for awhile because she was embarrassed with how much private information she had shared with him.

DIL calls some times as asked me what I'd suggest.  I usually tell her that I haven't had the access to all the information their doctor has and have no experience in that area.  While I do hope everything works out in the long run, I am confident that she and DS can talk over all the information they do have and come up with a working solution with the professionals help.

IMHO any advice given can come back and bite me if the butt if it doesn't work especially even if my advice has been asked for because the things they have tried are not working either.  They live in the city, there are plenty of professionals available to them.

I think SueStx has the best approach. If the person being asked has any doubts to the responsiveness of the asker they should be very careful. 

Another possible approach is to answer by saying the good and bad qualities of all of the possibilities and then sharing that you are confident that the askee will make the right decision based on their circumstances.

even if you do respond with your opinion i think it is important to add that this is only your opinion and you know that the askee is in different circumstances and will make the decision that is best for them.

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Ive been making an effort to say "At this time" when I begin to offer advice because the way I see things is likely to change- Im doing this to prevent the "But you said" converstions that at times will arise with one of my adult children, the one who needs reminding that nothing is etched in stone- I dont mind being asked for advice, just feel its necessary to be clear that what I offer isnt gospel, just a different perspective to consider- Sometimes the best advice is suggesting the question they come to me with is a good one and  leave it at that-

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I typically use phrases such as "You might like to try" or "You might consider". This way it's not phrased as "You HAVE to do this" but rather intended to get them thinking.

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If I ask someone for their advice/opinion, I genuinely want to hear what they have to say.

BUT, just b/c they were asked, doesn't mean I'm going to follow their advice. Sometimes I do, sometimes for whatever reasons I don't, sometimes it's a blend of their advice and other choices.

As long as nobody gets angry that their advice wasn't followed, it's all good.

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I think in situations like this in which a solicited opinion is turned against you, learn with these people not to bite or take the bait when your opinion is asked in the future.  Instead, ask the question back, "I don't know, what are you leaning towards?" or use affirming words such as "I am confident you will make the right decision or "I've always admired your ability to figure things out."

Also, I don't think it is a good idea to bring your marital problems to your parents, such as what happened in Sue's situation.  You put your parent(s) in an awkward position as they also have a relationship with the DIL or SIL as well as the GK's if kids are involved.  Often times the couple works though their issues, but the parents are left worrying or if they work through the marriage or not, the help or advice they provided may be turned against them by the couple or the DIL/SIL.  DH and I made our share of mistakes but the one thing we never did was go to our parents with our marital issues.  We solved them privately.  If a couple needs help, counselors or clergy are great resources and they both have a duty to keep it confidential. 

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My go to response is "Have you considered....abc, xyz?" Allowing them to take on new info on their own time table. This can lead to a broader conversation, directions for obtaining further information, etc. Sometimes when they are so stressed over an issue they aren't seeing clearly, just need need to vent or really might want your opinion..I still phrase it the same way. I have a knack for research/resourcing and am not intimidated by any topic. My kids know that and use it when they need it...I don't do things for them, but do show them where to get the info they need. 

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Great advice all around. I’m ok with my own children who know to tell me whether they want me to put on my Mum-hat or my psychology-hat when they ask a question and who know I’m ok with whether they follow my advice or not as I’m not someone who gets my knickers in a knot about someone following my advice or not and I don’t do recriminations either, but ILs are more tricky it seems as they seem to be often “testing” you rather than asking a genuine question. 

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13 hours ago, Gigima said:

Great advice all around. I’m ok with my own children who know to tell me whether they want me to put on my Mum-hat or my psychology-hat when they ask a question and who know I’m ok with whether they follow my advice or not as I’m not someone who gets my knickers in a knot about someone following my advice or not and I don’t do recriminations either, but ILs are more tricky it seems as they seem to be often “testing” you rather than asking a genuine question

Or maybe, in some cases, hoping for a specific answer (talk about "expectations!") and so, upset when they don't get it. :(

 

Edited by RoseRed135
punctuation
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21 hours ago, darkprincess said:

Another possible approach is to answer by saying the good and bad qualities of all of the possibilities and then sharing that you are confident that the askee will make the right decision based on their circumstances.

This^^^ was my original approach if YDD asked me a question when she first became a mom. Only problem was, those kinds of answers can get rather lengthy, and she would often cut me off in the middle, visibly annoyed. In her case, I had to learn to make a brief statement or ask a brief question (of the "Have you considered?" variety that Mame mentions). Then if she wanted to discuss whatever it was further, I would go into my overall thinking/pros and cons. If she didn't, well, then, fine, I left it at that.

Edited by RoseRed135
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It's hard to know if my DIL really wants advise or if she wants me to support her in something she is trying to get her DH (my son) to agree with her on. I don't want to ever be a part of that kind of thing. My go to is "have you thought about xyz?". Sometimes they have chosen to follow my advise but usually not. And sometimes I was right but not always. But most things it doesn't really matter in the long run about any particular thing. It's more effective to ask my DIL what she is thinking about doing, and listening as BSW suggests.

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We are likely odd-out (as usual). We have no particular expertise that anyone in my family or our foo care even a tiny bit about. Really, public policy and Engineering are fairly obscure, cut and dried specialties as far as opinions go. Rarely does anybody ask our opinions, and that rarity is typically my brother piggybacking on joint projects.

I have no idea what people ask opinions/advice about because we never did and our kids don't either. There are people in the world who actually know the answers to questions (legal, medical, dental, tax, real estate, etc). I reckon if anyone actually asked us what to do about abc - "you could look at the internet to find a source of information/contacts for abc".

Question: opinions/advice on what sort of topics? An AC can't find a real expert?

ETA: I strongly agree with the notion that parents should not meddle in their AC/ACIL marriage problems. Listen after the divorce is final (abuse excluded, if an AC needs support during).

Edited by JanelleK

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On 12/14/2017 at 8:24 PM, RoseRed135 said:

Or maybe, in some cases, hoping for a specific answer (talk about "expectations!") and so, upset when they don't get it. :(

 

This is why I try and not give opinions even when ask by dil

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On 12/15/2017 at 9:57 PM, JustaGrandma said:

This is why I try and not give opinions even when ask by dil

Don't blame you. Sometimes, I find, even w/ my DDs, that it's better if I say I haven't dealt w/ this/that in a long time (I probably haven't) or don't have much knowledge about this/that (if I don't) and suggest that they check w/ the doctor or whatever professional is appropriate.

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depends on who is asking for the advice.  I have a twin sister and we are very close...she asks for my opinion often and my reply isn't always something she will like, however we are close so if it's something that upsets her we can talk it out.  If my MIL asks for my advice it's usually a trap.  if it's something i genuinely don't agree with her on and i know she wouldn't like my response, I will just tell her upfront "you may not like my suggestion, ok?"  sometimes that works...sometimes it doesn't.  If she does get mad (or if anyone gets mad or doesn't like my suggestion or advice that they asked for) i usually will  validate their thoughts or feelings on it, but i stick to my response

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I usually ask leading questions to get the person to sound it all out....then if I have ideas/solutions I'll phrase it "have you considered x,y,z?". Telling someone else what to do "you should...blah,blah,blah" gets my hackles up...talk to me, don't tell me what to do.

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