I think most of us had some preconceived idea of what type of parents we would be before we had children. After all, we read the parenting books, websites, etc. We were educated and well-versed in child psychology! Our children would always be well-behaved and polite and would never embarrass us. We may even have explained the "right" way to parent to some of our friends.
And then, we actually had these children, who from day one were people in their own right with their own ideas about when they would sleep, what they would eat, and how they would behave. And we were humbled . . . sometimes daily.
I know I now try to refrain from giving parenting advice, unless directly asked, or I think it is REALLY, REALLY important. Because even though I have nearly 11 years of parenting experience under my belt, every child is different and what works with one will not necessarily work with another. Instead, I try to lend a sympathetic ear and reassure the struggling parent that this issue, whatever it may be, will pass. I have to remind myself of that frequently as well.
Erin Franco offers her own take on this subject in this article on Catholic Mom: Confessions of a Former Mommy Know-It-All