Why You shouldn't follow your Parents' Advice
Humans by nature are social beings; they need to be with others and form relationships. However, our relationship behaviours do not come naturally, rather they are learned based on the surrounding and parenting styles. (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005, p.77). According to psychologists, the kind of relationships infants have with their parents or primary caregivers becomes the blueprint for their later life behaviours and relationships. Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005).
Behaviours in adult relationships are a direct influence of what they experienced as kids in their early years of development with their parents. The kind of bonds we form while growing up affect the kind of decisions and relationships we develop as adults. (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2011). After observing the interactions between infants and their mothers, developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth and her colleagues identifies three core patterns of attachment namely:
- Secure attachment style, (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005).
The Impact of Parenting on Adult Behaviour
Depending on the particular parenting style one was exposed to and learned from their parents as an infant will demonstrate specific adult behaviour and patterns which involve the dismissing, fearful, preoccupied, and secure-adult parenting styles. (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2005, p.85). From these scientific findings, we can deduce that the interactions we first have with our primary caregivers could shape our behaviours and relationships as adults. Moreover, it’s true that children are first moulded inside their families, and it’s hard to underestimate the importance of the parents’ role in the development of the child and how it can affect them in the future.
Diana Baumrind developed a theory of four unique parenting styles that reflect the two dimensions of parenting; they are demandingness and responsiveness (Arnett, 2010. Demandingness points to the degree to which parents are demanding; have rules and expectations for their kids. It shows the level of controlling and monitoring parents have on the children. Responsiveness, on the other hand, reflects the level which parents are supportive and sensitive to the needs of their children. It shows the amount of affection, love, and warmth parents express towards children. (Arnett, 2010).
Based on these two dimensions, we can deduce the four parenting styles which include:
Parenting has been found to influence and affect adolescents and adults. It also affects the relationships we form with other people in a similar form that attachment styles may have.
In this article, we focus more on mindfulness; it’s about tapping into your subconscious mind to understand yourself truly and therefore make better decisions. When children are born, parents look at them as beautiful gifts, and they fantasise about the life they have brought into this world. Parenting is not a simple task; it’s a challenging full-time job that requires a lot of balancing.
Some parents in their obsession to advice and mould their kids into perfect beings, makes them commit mistakes that can lead to a future of despair, educational, and professional struggles. When parents talk to kids and give them opinions about life, they imagine that’s all the children need to succeed in life.
Counsel is necessary, and the input we get from others is something we ought to appreciate. However, we have a right to sieve what is appropriate for us. We decide what to do with the advice; we can choose to follow it, refute it, or only take a portion of what we feel is helpful to us. When you follow other people’s advice blindly regardless of whether they are your parents or peers, you end up making grave mistakes that haunt us into adulthood.
We even dare to say that the best advice is to not follow any advice you get, if you will.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
Some kids are raised believing that parents don’t make mistakes, and this is a wrong assumption. Even though what others tell you might seem as the gospel truth, when you think about it, it’s only fair to question before you act on the information. Ask yourself whether the advice applies to you and your particular situation before you react. It may be good advice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it applies to you. The advice in itself is funny: sometimes it sounds like the smartest thing, while other times, it can be the worst. In most times, it doesn’t work a hundred percent, yet people still make the mistake of believing every word that comes from their parent’s mouths.
Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you
— Robert Fulghum
Debunking Old Sayings
The trouble of taking advice without critically thinking through it is that it blows right into your face. In the end, you begin to blame the advisor, and this is not wise at all. We must learn to take responsibility for every choice that we make; an old saying goes, you can take a cow to the river, but you cannot force it to take water. We can apply the same thinking when it comes to getting advice: the other person gives their opinion, but they should not in any way force you to act on the counsel. Shifting blame is a way of escaping responsibility. If you don’t give it much thought, you have no one else to blame but yourself.
Depending on the situation you are in, give the matter some thought and see how relevant it is based on your condition. If it worked in one instance, it is not guaranteed that it will work in another. If you choose to follow every word you are told blindly you are likely to make regrettable mistakes. There should be a limit to every advice you get. Remember people; however, shrewd make mistakes and sometimes will give you the wrong information. It is up to you to know where the limit is.
How is the best way of doing that? The secret is nothing out of this world: the more in tuned with yourself you are, the more aware of your values, beliefs and behavioural patterns you are. That only means that if you work on yourself enough, you will be conscious of everything you do, while every decision you make will be based on your intuition. Do you know when you have that weird feeling that something is not going to work, and it doesn’t? Well, that’s you tapping into your own subconscious mind, understanding what’s best for you, and sending a clear message to your thinking brain on how to act on it. That’s what you should use in order to know if you should follow anyone’s advice.
Below are some of the common sayings our parents have told us over and over throughout our lives. They seem harmless, funny even, but you will understand why we can discover an extraordinary world if we kick them out of our adult life.
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Many of us while growing up were told to stay away from strangers. This was meant to instil fear in us, as our parents, understandably, didn’t trust us enough to acknowledge a deceiving behaviour towards us. What happens then? In many ways, this advice breaks the very fabric of socialisation. The beauty of life lies in connecting with other people. Kids who grow up in homes where they are not allowed to socialise with certain people will at one point try to engage with such people in the future — it’s the forbidden fruit principle.
It is the same way kids are rebuked when they play with certain toys that resemble guns or play violent games; they tend to engage in such behaviours as they grow up. They will wait to do so when their parents are not around. If you shield kids from people or strangers, they tend to develop an obsessive attitude towards what has been forbidden in the home and when that happens, they will not tell their parents for fear of rebuke.
Rather than trying to shield children from certain people or relationships, be a parent and teach them to make wise decisions in real life. Teach them how to vet people and choose friends and relationships that are healthy other than instil in them a general fear of strangers. Such an approach will yield much more positive results in the long run.
Don’t Do Anything I Wouldn’t Do
Kids are creative and innovative by nature. As they grow up and their brain develops, they tend to do things that begin to shape their minds and mould their future. However, many parents are guilty of trying to prevent their children from doing certain things by always telling them not to do anything they wouldn’t do. Such actions are entirely authoritarian and selfish, and funny enough, they prevent the one key that leads to innovation: experimentation of the unknown.
Many successful actors or singers confess they discovered their talent at an early age, and that discovery has shaped them into whom they are today. The parents who encourage their kids to try out new things and follow their passion are the ones whose kids are stars in their areas of specialty.
Children who are always thinking about how another person would act to take action are doomed. They have no room to think outside the box and are always afraid of failure. Such cannot try out new things because they will be thinking about how the other person they love and respect would have done the same thing. Kids need to think and discover for themselves and parents only need to guide them along the way. Therefore, learn to think for yourself and have an independent mind or else you’ll live a miserable life where you have to depend on others before you make your life decisions.
Because I Said So, That’s Why!
Kids are curious beings, and as they grow, their level of curiosity increases too, and they ask many questions. They are interested to know why things happen the way they do or simply what an explanation as to why you are forbidding them from doing a particular thing. However, when they age the level of questioning diminishes, and their understanding of things becomes clearer.
Asking why makes us grow our knowledge and imagination of stuff around us. It makes us look for ways of replicating something or even prevent it from doing it again. Therefore, by denying kids correct answers to their why questions, we deny them an opportunity to explore and learn more.
Many parents will tell their kids to do something just because they said so, without giving them any reason to. Don’t do this. How then will they ever understand things and why they happen that way? You need to satisfy their curiosity, and when they grow up, they will have independent minds. And, what’s worse than having them following your advice blindly? They rebelling against it just because you said so!
Bear in mind that it may seem annoying answering all their questions every single time, but kids are an endless source of knowledge too. They have an extremely fresh perspective of the world — are honest and carefree. Take advantage of that and you may end up learning a lot of them.
And in your adulthood, don’t ever stop questioning. That’s when you know why you behave a certain way and uncover the deepest feelings within yourself. You become more conscious through each “why” you ask yourself.
If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Don’t Say Anything at All
Many of us have heard this statement over and over again. Jeez, this must be the most selfish and annoying statements we’ve ever heard. Kids who grew up being fed on this lie by their parents have a hard time socialising with others. They tend to become retracted and afraid to voice their views and opinions. They don’t know how to connect and relate to others because they are scared of saying something they will regret. Then, anxiety arises.
We have a free ticket to make our opinions and just because you have your opinion doesn’t mean mine is in any way less. We must give children an opportunity to speak their minds or else they will live in fear of their opinion being rejected. The majority of parents say that out of fear their kids will prevail over them, they want to control them using such unfortunate statements.
Children need to know that they have a right to speak their mind and that it’s not always that people will buy into their ideas or opinions. They must liberate themselves from the controlling nature of their parents and say whatever is in their hearts without fear of intimidation or rejection.
What Should You Do Instead?
You need to work on yourself and remember to tap into your intuition. Assess every advice you get and make personal judgments before you act. Don’t live for other people, live for yourself instead. As you do this, you’ll become more aware of your surrounding and see a way out of any situation without fear or the need of others’ approval.
As mentioned earlier, it is good to solicit feedback and guidance. Nonetheless, there must be a limit to how good that advice should be. There will be certain situations when it will apply to you and other times it won’t, regardless of how smart the advice seems to be.
People make mistakes and wrong judgments all the time, and your parents are no exception. It’s not that these advices are natively bad, but it’s important to acknowledge their impact into our adult behaviour. But, yeah, they too can give you bad advice and mislead you unintentionally; hence think twice before you act on any information you get.
If you only become a victim of following other people’s opinions blindly without involving your personal feelings, you are inviting trouble into your life. Hence, be mindful: connect to yourself in a deeper level, tap into your intuition, and choose wisely.
Don’t listen to people who tell you what to do. Listen to people who encourage you to do what you know in your heart is right.