Thank you for joining me today for “In the Know”. We’re talking about the fourth way to create a connection to your child’s heart: being vulnerable. If you are joining us for the first time here are the first three ways:
If you have not yet requested to receive the article in it’s entirety free of charge, just email me at Lynn@Proverbs31.org! I will get it out to you next week as soon as I return from speaking.
By the way, if you have a teen daughter and live in western North Carolina, our “Revolutionary Love” conference will be at Mill Spring Baptist Church in Mill Spring free of charge! I just received the first shipment of my new book “His Revolutionary Love” and we’re going to celebrate! (Keep a look out for our exciting book launch May 2 – 4th; we’re hoping to give away $10,000 in books!). If you don’t live in western North Carolina, consider bringing the “Revolutionary Love” conference to your church. I am booking dates for this fall now.
For the past nine years I have been mentoring teen girls. I actually started doing this when my own children were in elementary school. Pouring into teen girls has been one of the Lord’s greatest gifts to me. It has allowed me to see into the heart of a teen before my own children were in this stage of life and from an angle other than that of a mother.
These girls would often say “I wish I could talk to my mom like I can talk to you.” Or “I wish my mom would tell me things about when she was growing up.” Now, I know that the relationship I had with these girls was different because I wasn’t their mom, but I did learn that as a parent I need to be vulnerable.
It is so important for our children to know that not only were we not perfect when we were growing up, but we are still not perfect today.
I think this really hit me last year my son said to me, “It is so hard to be a Christian when your parents are perfect.” I really wanted to start laughing and I thought, “Who are your parents?” Because the sins and struggles I deal with are more heart and mind issues, that was his perception. I now try to be more open about feelings I struggle with: jealousy, being judgmental, discouragement.
My new book “His Revolutionary Love”, a study on Jesus’ radical love written for teen girls, was rejected 19 times before being accepted by a publisher. Every time I was rejected, I let my kids know. I let them know how I felt. Sometimes it wasn’t pretty! Others times they were able to see how I went to the Lord to have Him comfort and encourage me.
It is important for us to share with our children the struggles we have now as well as the things we struggled with when we were their age. Of course, we need to do so as the Holy Spirit directs us and as it appropriate for their age. Our kids need to hear from us about our struggles, our victories and our falls. The older my kids have become, the more open I am. Just this week, as my sixteen year old cried over her trials, a memory came back to me. Since it was not something I was proud of, I had put it out of my mind for many many years. I believe God brought it to the forefront of my mind so that I could be vulnerable and let me daughter know that confusion is not uncommon when we’re young.
Does your child realize that you too struggle? When your child is struggling have you shared some of your stories with her or are we afraid we will taint the image they have of us? I know this is scary; I struggle here too!
I have had moms share with me that they are afraid if they share their story with their daughter they will loose their child’s respect. Listen to the Holy Spirit. If He is telling you to open up, it may just be that this is the key that your child needs to make the right choice. Being vulnerable may be the missing plank you need to build the bridge to your child’s heart.
Our Stories God's Glory says
Love this post. I am almost out of the teen phase with four daughters ages 33, 22, 21, and 16. Recently my daughter cried in exasperation, "It always seemed like you had no trouble making the right decision." So not true, so much trial and error! But this cry opened up the opportunity to be more vulnerable. And we've had some good discussions since.
It also helped that my journals from my teens and early twenties were recently discovered. When my girls were mere babies I had put them in with our family photo albums. A couple of years ago, my daughters (I believe innocently) came upon these tell-alls that were pretty descriptive. I had completely forgotten about them. Had I remembered I would've put them in the back corner of a very dark closet. However, this incident too inspired many conversations where I had to be more honest than I had planned. I still struggle with how much to tell my girls. And I will follow your advise to pay attention to the Holy Spirit's promptings. He knows best.
On a final note, I have the privilege of working with teens as a college essay coach. I know they tell me things they are not necessarily telling their moms (obviously nothing that would be a detriment to their relationship with their moms or a danger to them, just some struggles that come up in the process). And I think it can be a very good thing that our teens can speak to another trusted adult.
Lynn Cowell says
Wow…I too have had my daughter's find my diaries. Kind of a wierd feeling; so much we want to shield them from even when mine didn't have much in them!
Just last week I encouraged both of my girls to choose an adult other than me that they could share with when they were having a hard time. They both chose the same family friend. It is so important that they have these in place; peer advice is rarely good.
Thanks for your thoughts, Elise!