Should you take your parents’ advice? That depends. Before you answer this question, ask yourself another: How well do you really know your parents?
It’s perfectly natural and healthy to go through a phase of feeling like your father is Superman or your mother is Wonder Woman. You idealize your parents in childhood because you need to. You are almost entirely dependent upon your parents for survival and development until you reach young adulthood. It’s comforting to think of your parents as infallible superheroes. For better or worse, these are the parents you’ve got, so it makes sense to see them in a favorable, reassuring light until you are more self-sufficient.
Many people never fully grow out of this phase, however. Many accomplished adults still think of one or both of their parents as larger than life figures able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. When you continue to idealize your parents long after childhood, your own development as an individual tends to suffer. People adopt a simplified view of their parents as a way of managing their own anxiety. If you tell yourself that your parents have the answers, then it reduces the pressure to find your own answers. Even the most well-meaning of families sometimes encourage outmoded ways of thinking, feeling or doing, long after these deeply ingrained habits no longer serve you.
It’s important to recognize your parents as whole people with admirable strengths and human flaws alike. Maybe your father is great with money, but is he a deeply happy, positive person? Maybe your mother is incredibly caring and nurturing, but does she also worry lot? In other words, take what’s great about your parents and integrate these qualities in your own life. At the same time, intentionally recognize what isn’t so great about your parents. Take what works, but leave behind what doesn’t. Simply recognizing your parents’ shortcomings doesn’t make you disloyal or ungrateful. But it does make you less likely to repeat their mistakes.