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Do you ever worry your children are holding out on you? Or that once they reach the teen years and beyond, they won’t let you in? Are you afraid they won’t want to confide in you?
I fretted a lot as a young mom. Wondering how in the world I would handle adolesence and if all my kids would wear black and scream at me.
(I know, that’s a little drastic, but young mamas tend to be paranoid like that.)
You can build a solid relationship with your children. Let me show you how.
1. Listen and cultivate interest when they confide
Little children do babble. This I know, having reared two tiny motor mouths.
Even then, listen all you can. And as they age, amp up your listening skills.
By the time they are tweens, they will hardly be able to wait to come home and tell you all about their school day.
If you are a good listener and hang with them, they will confide in you when they’re grown.
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2. Don’t interrupt when they confide
Someday little Sally is going to skip into the kitchen after school and start telling you all about how she and her friends formed a little club and they’re not going to let anyone in that doesn’t wear a pink piece of yarn tied round her pinky. (Get it – pink piece for the pinky?)
She’ll be all excited, chattering about her friends and their new club; all the while you’ll be thinking, “How do I tell her this is a cliquish form of behavior?”
You may be tempted to cut her off. Let her go on for a while before you gently sit her down and explain the problem. Help her figure out a positive solution (such as bringing pink pieces for pinkies to school and passing them out to people).
Throwing ice water on a child’s enthusiasm is the quickest way to get her to clam up and cut you out of her inner thoughts and feelings.
Be careful not to douse her spirit. It’s just that important.
Be careful not to douse your child's spirit. It's just that important. Click To Tweet
3. Make eye contact when they confide
I know you’re busy. All moms are. But be sure to look your son in the eye and let him know you’re listening while washing dishes, folding clothes, or taxiing him to soccer practice.
Put down the phone and look at him.
Some days, kids need more attention than others – you’ll know if you need to put your work aside and sit on the bed for a long listen with your child.
If you pay attention.
4. Ask questions when they confide
Good conversation involves interaction. Learn to ask good questions.
How do you feel about that?
Why do you think she said that?
What were your other friends doing while this was taking place?
When did he say this to you?
All the what, when, where, why, and how questions are good, and open ended.
This is also good for those parents who have The Clam-Mouths.
I have one such child, and one on the fence.
These children do not confide freely, so asking such questions as, “How was your day” most likely will end up with a “Fine” answer.
Or, “Regular”. That was my Clam’s classic answer.
These type children need you to be present on the rare occasion they do share.
You won’t want to miss it. Be all ears. Once you find that subject that really lights their fire, ask them all about it whenever you want them to open up. Read about the subject. Be ready with your questions.
5. Be present so they can confide
Mostly, you just need to be available. If your kids know you’re willing to listen whenever, they will feel free to share whenever.
But if you come off as too busy for their chit-chat, you can bet they won’t be chit-chatting with you later on down the road when they’ve moved out and you’re left twiddling your thumbs.
You’ll be wishing for all that chatter then.
Your kid may never be a talker. But if you remain present in his life, he will gain comfort from that, even if it’s just hanging out. And when the time comes when he needs you, he will confide.
Mostly you just need to be available. Kids share more freely when you hang around. Click To Tweet
6. Be supportive with your words
Learn to empathize with your child. Maybe you weren’t a drama queen when you were a teen but she is. Practice compassion, even if it seems trivial that Johnny won’t make eye contact by the water fountain anymore.
Your kid needs to know you validate her feelings. You don’t have to encourage drama – please don’t.
But let them know you’re sorry. Be willing to help them work out a relationship problem.
In her book, The Ministry of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson says this about encouraging words,
We can become the affirming voice of God to our children, just as we become a picture of His redeeming reality in their everyday lives. In this way, we extend the gift of grace.
Build your child up. Praise him when you see him sharing with his brother, completing a chore, or picking up a stray piece of litter.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in the parenting world where correction is our middle name.
Raising your kids to confide in you doesn’t have to be hard. Listen without interrupting. Make eye contact and ask questions. Be present and available any time (even when your teenager arrives home from the prom at 2:00 AM), and ask about their day. Watch your words and your tone (that one was always my tough spot), and if all else fails, just hang out.
Time spent invested in listening to your children develops life long relationships. And that, dear mom, is priceless!
Can’t control your temper?
In Count to Nine, moms discover a Scripturally sound, methodical approach for taming the temper. Ruthie Gray, mother of four and grandparent of two, gently guides frazzled mothers of all ages toward God’s Word, His view on anger, and the nine steps to overcoming wrath.
In this book, you will learn
*The surprising reasons behind your anger
*The mind-blowing truth of God’s view on anger
*One eye-opening tactic for changing your reactions
*How the staggering power of unbelief can keep you from change
*How to triumph through one key attitude adjustment
*How to gain victory over a life-long stronghold
*And much, much more!
The author, Ruthie Gray, transparently shares her own motherhood struggles, instantly connecting with moms through her “been there” approach. Moms will find victory, new hope, and support through this encouraging method of actionable Scripture verses and Scripture prayers.
Dear mom, isn’t it time you Count to Nine?
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I stood amidst suitcases and travelers, waiting my turn to struggle through security, with tears streaming down my face. Sure, people were watching. Sure, I should’ve gone into a bathroom stall until I composed myself. But those security agents are relentless in their pursuit to push you toward giant metal detectors.
Think of it as a sort of a game–a self-improvement activity that will greatly help you in the long run. Each time you say, “NO” to something that you don’t need to do, give yourself a prize or a point. Reward yourself for taking back control of your time and your life.
Here’s a weird thing about me- while I am like any other person and need a break from my “reality” every once and awhile…I usually don’t want to escape. You know what I mean? I rarely like to actually leave my family- I want to be in the vicinity of them…but far enough away that I am not needed. HA! Does that make ANY sense???
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