“I noticed my teenage daughter stuffing her face with potato chips and I just remarked that she’s put on a few pounds lately and should lay off the junk food.”
“I just asked my 26-year-old son when he plans to get a “real” job (he’s trying to produce his own film). He never answered my question but went into a tirade about how unsupportive I am.”
“After my daughter introduced me to her new boyfriend and asked me what I thought of him, I just quietly replied, ‘I think you could do better.’ Batten down the hatches! The furor that followed lasted for months! Aren’t I allowed to say what I think?”
Yes, you are allowed to say what you think. But know that nothing a parent says is ever neutral. Though you may think you’re making a helpful observation — or simply expressing your opinion — in your child’s eyes (even with adult children), your critique is likely to be interpreted as an indictment of his or her being.