Knowing When to Give Advice

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”Unruly Grandchildren, What’s a Grandma to Do?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

My son and daughter-in-law have two children. My son is the disciplinarian but his wife caters to the kids. To get their way, the kids side with mom against dad. My son has tried to talk to his wife about her parenting, but no change. The kids are getting obnoxious and unruly. I’d like to talk to my daughter-in-law about this. Would that be too nosy?


Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Grandmother:

Generally speaking I believe that parents should stay out of their adult children’s parenting issues. That being said, I am aware of situations where a parent has taken an adult son or daughter aside after noticing how disruptive the grandchildren were, and effectively shared their parenting ideas. As one grandmother bluntly told her son, “If you don’t have the backbone to stand up to your wife and insist on some consistency in parenting, then it is not likely that you are going to make the cartilage any stiffer.”

”Friendly Advice, What’s a Colleague to Do?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

The other day just as my colleague “Judy” and I were leaving her office to go to lunch, Judy’s secretary asked her a question. Judy responded impatiently and not only did she not answer the question, but the secretary seemed offended and hurt.

I had to bite my tongue all through lunch so I wouldn’t say anything about this because I know it’s none of my business. Then yesterday I read a great article on Employer/Employee communication skills that I think is perfect for this situation. I’d like to share it with Judy but I don’t know if that would offend her. Any thoughts?

Caring Friend

Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Friend:

I agree with those schools of thought which teach that one person is not responsible for another’s poor behavior, and that people who inappropriately try to force change on everyone they know are out of line. This would most likely apply to unsolicited advice as well.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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