“𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯.” - 𝘓, 𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝟺
“𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯.” - 𝘓𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘢, 𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝟺
When Leela’s school reopened last July, and we chose not to send her back I had decided that an omission of information may be the kindest way to move forward with the situation. But her school had been using the MarcoPolo app to keep the kids connected and the conversations quickly died down once 10/13 kids returned to class. So, I told her the truth: it’s mommy’s job to keep her safe and I’m not comfortable sending her back to school yet.
Until that moment, Leela had not really questioned my choices for her, she just took them in stride as fact. Not this time. “I don’t agree with your decision,” she said.
I have to admit, I was a bit shocked to hear this from my 4 year old, but I was also really PROUD of her. She had enough faith in our relationship that she could openly share a differing opinion with me through words without lashing out or becoming angry.
So how do we create a relationship with our children where they feel safe enough to speak freely with us from a from young age?
- Be a calm listener. When your child gets worked up and starts to lash out, maintain your calm energy and wait until they have worked through the frustration enough to speak. Then, listen with an open heart.
- Give them the same respect you’d like from them during the conversation. Try not to interrupt and try not to impose your opinion on them.
- Explain your reasoning with honesty and transparency. We sometimes think that young children need a sugar coated version of the truth, but the reality is that they drink up knowledge and the more open we are with them the more they can trust us.
- Hold the boundary you have set, firmly but with kindness. This one is important. It IS our job to make certain choices for our children to keep them safe but we can do so gently and with empathy for their response.
𝘿𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙚 𝙩𝙮𝙥𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙧𝙚𝙣? 𝙎𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙖 𝙢𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪!