# 98 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: Parent so your kids seek your advice; If your kids ask your opinion, you have been a good parent.
As the father of 7, five girls and two boys, I think I’m qualified to speak on this. My kids range from 34 to 17 as of this writing, all born of the same mother.
Parents reading this don’t have to be told how challenging the job is. There are times you ask yourself, “Am I doing this parenting thing right?” The role lends itself to self-doubt and recriminations. Still, if your child asks your opinion, you can feel pretty certain you’ve done something right.
When your kids are very young they get your opinions regardless of whether they want them. You teach them, train them, and nurture them as their primary source of information, hopefully sharing the task with their other parent, speaking with a single, unified voice. These foundational years are the time to establish trust and confidence.
They age, learn to read, go to school, and become sponges receiving input from many different sources and voices. Teachers, friends, authors, social media, all exert influential pressure on your growing child’s views. You do your best to shepherd this period of growth and change. There’s a tightrope between wanting to protect your child and wanting them to be tough. As the circumference of their world expands, it becomes harder to stay at the center of it.
By their teenage and young adult years, it takes serious effort to stay in their world at any level. As a good parent, you’ll make every effort to insure your child still considers your voice in their decision-making matrix.
At a point much sooner than any parent realizes, your child no longer has to listen to your opinions. Sure, they may still live under your roof and so they cannot escape the sounds you make, but that doesn’t mean they’re listening. But hopefully they are. If you’ve created the kind of relationship in which you’ve been your child’s most ardent cheerleader, providing unconditional support, they’ll know it.
They may not rush to sit at your feet seeking your infallible wisdom. Yours may no longer be the first voice they consider. But you hope yours is one of the voices they seek, one of the opinions they value, as they contemplate options with ever more far-reaching implications.
Sometimes, at this age, their avoidance of your opinion is itself evidence they know your view on the matter — which doesn’t always mean they’ll accept or adopt it.
And if they don’t come to get your input, or if they act contrary to what you’ve taught and modeled for them, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. You may be a fantastic parent with a particularly stubborn or temporarily blinded or disgruntled child.
I empathize with any of you who have gone through this. I know exactly how bad that feels, and how easy it is to label yourself a failure when it happens — which simply isn’t true.
In time, circumstances may be that that your kids neither hear your opinion daily, nor have to ask you for it. The value of your solicited advice increases when they no longer have to abide by it. When you are asked for your opinion, by a child advancing further into adulthood and independence, it feels amazingly validating. In that case, you can be certain you’ve done something right. Pause to smile and pat yourself on the back. You’ve been a good parent.