When we are talking about parenting, and autism there seldom is.
So, say you read something, or hear a friend say something that you know about. You have been in that situation before, or know someone who has. You know what worked, and you want to share that. That's great! Sharing is caring. It's great way to help others.
Let's pull back on the eager words about to jump out of your mind, and into another. Let's think for a minute about what they're going to hear. Let's practice this Theory of Mind thing that so many of you parents try to educate your kids about.
Going through the criteria I outlined above, is it kind, helpful, true, important, and ready to be received? The last one is hard. We sometimes can't know if the other person is venting, wanting solutions, or wanting support, unless they verbalize what their intent is. That doesn't happen all too often. So, we have to assume that we may be offering unwanted advice. We may assume that maybe, just maybe this person's situation is not the same as ours. We have to try to lay down judgment, and proceed with only the intent to help. This is hard for humans to do. We have opinions about what is right, and what is wrong. It's hard to not let that get in the way of interacting with others. Everyone is different. We all have different values. We can never truly know what it's like to be someone else, or to live their life.
Before saying my piece I often try to figure out the intent of the the other person, and try to formulate my response in reference to that. It can look something like this:
When I was in ______ situation I did ________. It helped by _____. I hope your situation improves/you find a solution/feel better, ect...
I also try to throw in some kind of compliment, or words of empathy, or sympathy. Like, telling them what they've done right so far, and offering supportive words, like "I know it's hard." or "I'm sorry that happened."
Do ______________. It works. ( this comes off as a authoritative command)
You should try_______. ( Also comes off like you know more than the person you're advising.)
You need to____________. (This one really sounds authoritative. It's usually followed up by a long story about how great of a parent this person feel they are for making that choice. Again, it implies right, wrong, and judgment.)
Get ______. It truly is what works.
Most of all, I try to not assume that I know better than the person speaking to me what they should do with their own life. I might not agree with the way they are handling the situation, but telling them that in harsh words will not make them make a better decision. It will just make them defensive, and feel worse. Offering support, and trying to understand where they are coming from can't hurt. It never has, as far as I know.