Sitting on the side of the pool, my youngest speaks in a tone not much louder than a whisper, “I’d really like to tell you something, but I don’t want you to make fun of me…or worry either.” I inch my way closer to my girl, showing interest, yet not wanting her feel as though I’m pouching on this opportunity.
I don’t take this for granted; the fact that my daughter is willing to talk about the tough things in her teen life. I didn’t have this open relationship with my oldest son, so I know it is rare.
So how did we get to a place where my girls feel comfortable talking to me about the touch stuff in their world? Why are they open to the questions I ask about their personal lives?
Here are a couple of pointers I have learned about controversial conversations with my girls:
1) Make no topic off limits.
No matter what it is, friendships, sexual questions or guy/girl relationships, nothing is off limits. In fact, more often than not, it is me who brings up these hard topics. Often, a question in a non-threatening tone cracks open the door.
2) Make sure you listen.
Don’t be so caught up in planning your advice that you don’t hear what they are saying. They can tell if you are really listening or waiting for your time to talk.
3) Make your ears and mouth a safe zone.
Kids need a safe place to unload. My kids know that they can tell me anything and it is safe with me and their dad.
Tough conversations with our kids are so important; giving them a place where they don’t have to rely on peer advice for the hard decisions. Show your child today that you are that safe place.