Opening The Door For Communication
After we have dealt with our availability to talk to our child, we need to figure out how to get them to talk. This may or may not be a difficult thing depending on the personality of the child, some you may have more difficulty getting to stop talking. Learning to talk through painful or difficult situations is so important for our children because it teaches them how to work through so many things. For example our children can learn, how to deal with failure, being laughed at, injustice, difficult people, rejection, ridicule, and with bullies. Helping our children process through these situations will help them immeasurably for the future.
So how do we do it? Unlocking your child’s heart takes time. Like we said yesterday it’s listening to the small stuff so you can be trusted with the big stuff. We must carve out ample time with each of our children especially if they are in pain. Take the time to take them out on “dates” individually. Sit on the edge of their bed at night. Take advantage of drive times. Make sure you are fitting time for your children to talk into the busyness of the family schedule.
Listen to today’s podcast for more on this topic.
Am I Available?
There is a quote by Catherine Wallace, which has impacted me as a mom of young children, “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they wont tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff..” There are so many times where it is so easy to get busy with life and brush off things that we don’t deem important but we forget how important the little things may be to our children. We may get tired of answering the “whys” or listening to the middle school “drama” but listening to all the small stuff allows our children to know that they can come to us with the big stuff. When our response is “that’s not a big deal” or “when I was your age” it can make our children feel like we don’t’ understand what they are going through. There may be times that we need to stop what we are doing, sit down and make sure that they know we take them seriously. Whether that is eye contact with your small child when they are asking a question or going for a drive for some “one on one time” with your older child who needs to talk. Make sure to be intentional to communicate that you are always available for them to talk.
Listen to today’s podcast for more on this topic.
Observing Your Child’s Moods
It is easy for us to see if our children don’t feel good physically. They show physical symptoms of sickness, runny nose, fever, coughing; but what about if our child is in emotional pain? Each child may have a different way to tell us they are in pain, due to age and personality differences. Some older children who are outspoken may immediately get into the car after school and be able to verbalize that they got into an argument with their friend and are upset. Another child may get into the car and be quiet and sullen. There may be even another child who suffers more silently and you have to really observer their behavior to see that they are hurting. This is where it is imperative that we become students of our children even from a young age to learn their individual “tells’ that something is bothering them emotionally.
Check back this week as we continue this discussion on noticing your child’s pain.
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How To Appropriately Question Authority
We want to raise critically thinking leaders and not blind followers. A skill that’s necessary to teach our children is how and when to appropriately question authority. First thing we need to instill in our children is to always take things back to God’s word. He is the ultimate authority. So there may be a time where a teacher, youth leader, grandparent or even parent says something that is not correct. We need to give our children the skills to ask a question about it appropriately. This begins at home. There will be a time where our children may not understand or will disagree with a rule. We need to teach them that it is ok to ask questions about it. It is all about the how. Arguing is not appropriate so what it? Politely, coming to the adult and asking, “can we talk about this?” is one way to do it. Our children need to know that their opinion matters but it may not change the rule. There will be times when a parent is in the wrong and we need encourage our children if they bring this up appropriately. Discussion about things is great but arguing is not. Teach your children how to question appropriately and respectfully.
For more on this topic listen to today’s podcast.
Having Fun Within The Boundaries of Respect
One of the things that is amazing about setting up proper respect for authority in your home from early on, is it allows for more fun within the family. There must be a clear line set up but once those boundaries are in place, fun can happen with out the fear of it getting out of control or disrespectful. We have used this metaphor before but if you think of a sports field or court there is always a line drawn that is out of bounds. Everyone knows it the ref, teams playing, and the spectators. So it is very clear when the ball or player crosses that line and is out of bounds. The same thing happens in our homes. We can have fun with in the lines of respect because they are clear-cut, what is permissible and what is not. When someone steps over the line then a warning or consequence is given. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the fun needs to stop if the child heeds the warning. For example our family game nights always got very silly and fun, but this could happen because we knew where the line was. Make sure to have clearly set up boundaries that have been discussed to allow for family fun!
For more on this listen to today’s podcast.