WISH your grown-up child had followed a different path? It’s never to late to offer subliminal negative guidance with our handy guide: 

Ask leading questions

Not allowed in a court of law, but fine in your lounge once you’ve finished telling them about the trouble Dad’s having with his prostate. For example: ‘Don’t you think it would be nicer to have a boyfriend with fewer tattoos?’ or ‘Wouldn’t you like to have a big house because you run your own pharmacy, like Liz’s eldest?’

Subtly question their appearance

You would never tell your son he’d had gotten fat, but that’s why God gave us euphemisms. Say ‘looks like you’ve been eating well’ and wonder aloud if there are any membership offers at the gym these days. If all else fails, buy him a Fitbit for his birthday.

Continually ask about their successful friends

Thanks to extensive Facebook-stalking, you know Emma from school is a univeristy lecturer married with two kids. No matter how often your pride and joy reminds you they fell out a decade ago, keep asking if they’re in touch in the hope that they’ll realise that they don’t measure up.

Say ‘That’s nice, dear, but’

Sick of hearing how well your 29-year-old’s latest unpaid stand-up appearance went, but don’t want to explicitly tell the man you birthed to shut up? Nothing will hit him harder than an obviously forced ‘That’s nice, dear’. He’ll be a successful lawyer within the week.

Allude to your death

If your adult son or daughter will insist on making it impossible to boast about them at pottery class, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Remind them that you won’t live forever and that you don’t want to go to your grave with a child still unable to afford a nice new car.

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