If You Can’t Do That, Do This

Maybe someday, you’ll get there. It’ll probably be too late–your teenager will be grown up, the phase will be over, things will have calmed down. You know this things you seem to have strong opinions about…the tone of your kid’s voice. Whether the music they listen to is any good. How they want to style their hair. What they want to major in. Who they marry.

Maybe it’s possible for superhuman parents to not care about this. Maybe some of the ancient Stoics were able to get there as philosophers and as parents.

Maybe it’s possible, but it probably isn’t going to happen for you anytime soon. So you know what you need to do in the interim? It’s actually something much easier: Just keep those opinions to yourself. Just shut up. That’s it.

You can have an opinion, you can think what they want to do is the worst idea in the world. You have the right to think they look ridiculous. You can think that the band they love is the most talentless pile of garbage in the world. You can also choose to decline to verbalize any of this.

Because those opinions don’t really help anyone or anything. They come between your kid and their explorations. They come between your house and peace. They come between you and your kids. So shut up.

Leave it alone. These things are not asking to be judged by you, so if you’re going to judge, keep it to yourself.

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