Two-year-old Sam asked for milk while waiting for breakfast. His mom, Rebekah, was happy to oblige and poured him a small cup. Sam was at a curious, exploratory stage of life. He didn’t want the milk so much for drinking, but for a little science experiment about liquids and gravity. So he poured it all out. Onto himself.
A mom of three kids ages 10 to 14 emailed me this story this week:
A friend once told me she worked to greet her children with enthusiasm, even if they had just come into the kitchen from the living room. I thought that might be a helpful way for me to consciously verbalize my enthusiasm for my kids, and so I began doing that a couple of years ago. “Hi, Sweetie! How’s that homework going?” “Welcome home from school!” “Hi, Hon! I saw you reading your new book in the family room. How is it so far?”
The funny thing is, the kids have all begun to do that with each other, even imitating my tone—and I don’t think they’re aware of it! When one of them leaves the house, the others jump up to hug them and to say, “Have fun! I love you!”
It is yet another reminder to me of the opportunity we have to set the tone for our home and how much it impacts our kids and their relationships, in ways we can’t possibly foresee.
Apply It Now:
- If you could be a fly on the wall watching your interactions with your kids throughout the week, how would you describe the tone in your house? What kind of tone do you want to be setting?
- What are some ways you could take advantage of the opportunity to set the tone for your home by “verbalizing your enthusiasm”? Brainstorm some phrases that you might say. (And feel free to share in the comments!)
Recently someone sent us this video from comedic mom group “The Break Womb” entitled, “What If Moms Talked to Each Other The Way They Talk to Their Kids…” It’s pretty funny, but it’s also a good reminder of how the way we talk to our kids can be subtly condescending or shaming. Take a look!
Apply It Now:
- Did you find yourself wincing a little at anything in this video? What was it, and why did it make you wince?
- Is there anything you’d like to change about the way you talk to your kids? Think about it, then share your goals with a spouse or friend.
- If you feel it’s warranted, consider an apology to your child. Apologizing can be a great way to model flexibility and growth, as well as to start a conversation with your child about what kind of parent you want to be!
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Questions are a simple and powerful tool. Asked well, questions can open hearts -did you know Jesus asked over 300 questions?.
Consider the question, “What happened?” The lilt of voice, the facial expression, the tone and even the sincerity of the question can either open or close the one you’re asking. Just because there is a question mark following a sentence doesn’t mean it is a good question, does it? There is an art to asking good questions!
There are a number of things to keep in mind when asking our kids questions. Here are a few to consider, in the form of — yep — questions!
I’ll never forget the day our firstborn came home in the fall of second grade with his right index finger moving back and forth through the circle he’d made with his left thumb and forefinger. “What’s this mean, daddy? The boys on the bus were laughing about it.”
I couldn’t believe I was already facing this. He was only seven years old! I had given some thought to how I’d discuss the specifics, but never dreamed it would be so soon. But I knew if he didn’t learn the basic facts of life accurately now, he would soon get the warped picture from his peers. So this was the day.
Parents, are you struggling with how to address the recent racial tension that has exploded across the United States? At Connected Families we are on the side of Justice, Grace and Peace, without any judgment about how to legislate those values. We know that getting there requires humility and true curiosity. The following is a process for entering volatile topics that we’ve found extremely helpful for those wishing to increase in wisdom for seeking solutions. We invite you to consider the conversations you’ve had or could have regarding events related to the recent unrest in Ferguson.
We’ve often heard parents say, “I hate to yell, but the kids just won’t listen until I do!”
If the kids aren’t listening to requests, it may be about more than inattentiveness. It could be that the family culture does not exemplify respectful listening. We have seen in many families that often kids who don’t listen well are kids who don’t feel very listened to. Learning to view listening issues as a whole family problem — and not just one disobedient child’s problem — has helped many parents better address the listening issue with their child.
Sometimes it can feel like parents need super powers to survive the day and keep everything together. Kristi, a mom of two young kids, recently sent us this story about her super powers — but they’re not what she thought they were…
In our work coaching hundreds of parents of teens over the years, we’ve hit on six themes that draw the parent-child relationship closer. Read through and let us know in the comments below which of the tips you want to implement in your family.