I’ve been pondering this question for a while now. Will my children always feel free to talk to me? I suspect that, as my kids get older, they might not always want to tell me what’s on their hearts. Even now, while they are still very young, the news they share about their day at school or time they spent playing with friends is becoming vaguer. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m nagging, and that bugs them, or maybe it’s just an age thing and part of them growing up and becoming more independent, and this means they share a little less.
Whatever the reason… it bothers me!
There was one incident in particular that stands out; I went to fetch my daughter from school. I was a little early, so I decided to hang back and just watch her play. As I stood near the play area I saw her running around with her friends.
They knelt down near a tree and the next second there was wailing, I could hear my little one repeating ‘I promise I didn’t hurt her”, “I promise I didn’t hurt her”
Now you can imagine the scene. I knew I shouldn’t interfere, the teacher handling it, but my maternal instincts were screaming, that’s your child INTERFERE :) I saw the girls giggle and run off again, so I knew it had been handled well by the teacher.
We climbed into the car and I began to ask about her day, making sure I poked and prodded about the incident I just saw. Eventually, she looked at me and said “Enough mommy, I don’t want to talk about it”
There you have it… My daughter just shut me out. (She’s almost 4)
Turns out the girls were playing Frozen and were throwing sand in the air as snow and sand got into the other little one’s eyes. Totally innocent!
I must admit that even though I know it is going to happen, I don’t like the idea of my kids not always feeling like they can talk to me. Like any parent I want them to know that they can trust me and my judgment. So it got me thinking. How do I encourage my kids to know that I am always willing to listen?
Here are my thoughts.
- Make time for conversation
- Be willing to really LISTEN – not always talk – be quiet – it’s not about you
- Let them just talk – don’t interrupt
- Be Mindful about what you hear (show respect and understanding)
- Don’t show judgment (even if you feel it)
- Always be encouraging
- Be positive -smile -nod
- Make them feel like their topic of conversation is the most important topic right now
- Talk about and work through different solutions/emotions
- Check-in a few days later :)
I might not always get this right, I’m probably going to fail at this many times over. However, I’m hoping that I will remember these tips when in conversation with my children, whatever their age. I don’t want them to ever feel as if I am too busy. Because, in reality, it only takes a second to put down my phone, or stop washing the dishes, etc. and that second can have an impact that lasts forever!
What tips do you have in creating conversations with your children?
I can imagine what you feel. I think this is the natural course of things. But like you said, we can try in our own ways. My daughter is just 1 so I have time. I’ll be sure to keep these suggestions from you in mind. I cannot imagine her not wanting to share things with me. Every day she grows a little more, finds something more interesting and I already fear her slipping away from me.
I love your list. My eldest is 10 and I love our conversations and frequently find myself wondering when he will stop confiding in me. sometimes he does not want to talk andI make that okay. As he has got older I have told him that i will always explain anything to him no matter what it is or if he thinks it is rude or bad. At the moment this means he comes to me with a lot of things he hears at school and we discuss it. Long may it last. Great post. I will be sharing. #mg
Loved this to the core. Its something every Parent dread about. But I think only listening not reacting would work. Not sure because I am still a mother to a 2yo. #MG
You’ve written some great tips here. That is also my fear, as my kids are so quickly getting older and more mature. I’ve noticed a difference between my son and daughter in the way they communicate with me – my daughter tells me everything, as for my son – I have to drag everything out of him;). But I listen and nod and smile and not judge, try to be positive about it and try to find a solution with them. But it seems that what they need sometimes is just knowing I am there when they need it and not pressure them to tell me everything everytime:) #anythingoes
Oh bless her. It’s a natural part of growing up, but it doesn’t make it any easier for you. She may start to talk to her siblings more too. My younger brother (he is 12) has slowly stopped telling mum things but he usually has a good chat to my sister (who, of course, reports back to mum!) #GlobalBlogging
I think this is so important. My son is nearly 11 and as a single parent, we’re very close but I still worry that he’ll start shutting me out when he gets to high school. I always try and make time to talk at night and ask him if everything is ok in his life. I think listening without judgement is a big one as they have to feel they can trust you. x #mg
Some days I am a great listener to their ramblings – other days I swear my ears are bleeding.
I nodded along to those tips. As mum to kids aged 12-24, you could say I’m at the difficult stage of conversation. The 24 year old boy is far better at conversation now, but went through the grunting phase. My 21 year old step daughter has just matured with her conversation, having been in full time work since September. Conversation definitely gets less as they get older. They are far more into their friends and Snapchat etc so it is easy as a parent to actually feel left out. You have to accept that it’s normal and be prepared to take a step back and not hassle them all the time, or they’ll just withdraw further. Keep following your tips and you’ll be fine. Alison x #AnythingGoes
Since now Junior keeps on telling me everything which touches him during his day at school (he is 11-years-old). I don’t know if there is any difference between boys and girls! I think during the adolescence it could cut off a little, but this is a natural thing!
Your tips are very helpful and the most important thing is, to let them speak without interrupting!
Thank you for this great post!
This is a great post with some fab tips. I do worry sometimes that because I have a son, he might not open up to me in the same way I did with my Mum. But I’m determined that these will just be fears and not a reality. #globalblogging
I have a 5 yo and have the same fears. I have seen that if I give her a bit of space to process her day and then when she is ready, she comes to talk . As long as they know you are always there for them #globalblogging
Dreading the day my daughter doesn’t want to talk about her day!! I try to remember how I felt when my own parents would quiz me! Thanks for the tips #GlobalBlogging
This is something I am struggling with right now, I want my kids to come t me with problems and fears and so i need to be more open to them even if I think they are being ridiculous! #GlobalBlogging
That must be hard. My youngest often says that talking about things she doesn’t want to takes a lot of words. I know I clam up when things upset me. Often a processing time is required before being able to talk about things. As long as you always allow her to approach you with subjects and never belittle her she will always talk to you, just perhaps not when you are ready to talk.
This is so important. My eldest is 12 and he still tells me everything, even when he is worried that he would be in trouble for it or a friend has sworn his to secrecy. I hope that he continues to talk to me, I dread the day when he feels that he can’t . #mg
I think that purposefully making time as they get older is very important. As they get more independent its easy to start getting more caught up in our own stuff, thinking that they don’t require as much attention from us. I think thats a bit of a trap. #anythinggoes
Great advice. It’s something I worry about with my four year as she gets older #globalblogging
I must remember these tips for when my little one gets bigger and no longer wants to share with me. its already breaking my heart thinking about it :) . I think the hardest one will be trying not to be judgemental and just listen. #GlobalBlogging
Be willing to really listen… yes. So often I’m half listening with ‘aha’ answers. It’s really important to make to the time to actually sit and chat together. #GlobalBlogging
I feel your concern and while I’m mulling this over …..thank you for sharing your tips ❤
I’m sure as a parent it must be very hard when you get to the stage that your children might not want to share all their thoughts anymore. Your tips are great and hopefully your children will feel comfortable enough to keep talking! #globalblogging
As a mum of two under two I’m surprised that she didn’t divulge at 4 years old. I’ve a lot to learn hey?! #GlobalBlogging
Good ideas – that last one is the most important. remember to go back to it at a time which may suit them more x #GlobalBlogging
Aww your little one is just a cutie! I wish me and my mum had a good bond, I could never talk to her but always wished I could.
Keep doing what you’re doing and I am sure she’ll come knocking wanting to talk boys and bitchy friends xx
I guess they won’t always want to talk to us, but I think the most important thing is that they know they can if they want to. I know when I was younger, I knew I might get told off sometimes (all the time) but my Mum was always my go-to when I was worried about anything. #globalblogging
Ooo yes you have given some very good advice about mindful listening – which is actually such a hard thing to do!!! #globalblogging x
I don’t like the idea of my son not talking to me, I mean he doesn’t talk YET but when he finally does I don’t want him to stop! #globalblogging
This is such a great post! That must have been really hard not to interfere haha it would’ve taken all my strength to do this! It’s such an interesting thought though, what are we going to do when they stop talking to us? So you’re right we need to make time for when they DO want to talk to us : ). Amazing tips! #GlobalBlogging
My four year old is impossible to get stuff out of. Especially if questioned! But I have found that if I don’t ask too much, then at bathtime he usually ours out the days news quite freely. Some brilliant tips here – especially remembering that its about them and not you! #eatsleepblogrt
great tips, including checking back in as it shows that we think about them and what happens to them is important enough for us to remember. My eldest is 12 and we still have great chats, I find having one on one time helps and also I make time to lay with each of my 3 at night at bed time and have a little chat, they tend to open up in the silent moments.
Thank you for linking up xx #mg
I am so afraid of the day when my girls will hide things from me :( I have also done this ( I guess everybody has?) but now I understand how much it must hurt. I just hope it will be small, innocent things and that they will trust me and talk to me when they need advice #globalblogging
Great tips here! Thanks.
Ive always maintained that its in these young stages that we set the stage for open convos, so when those teen years come, the ground work and channels of comms have been set. And all we can do is then is be ready and hope they use it.
What we do is something that my fam did at dinner table, which ia to encourage general conversation, giving opinions and being very ok to share with the family. Its mostly fun based so that theres comfort associated with being able to share.
Also, to pick my timing of pokimg and prodding well. My kids dont respond well when they are tired or hungry. So normally there are snacks on car for after school pickup and I check out their vibe. If sharing is a green light, I ask away. But if the blood sugar levels are still low or there yawns coming from the back, I bacj off till the energies are back up at home or after dinner.
This is a great list. I think it’s important when your child is talking to you to remember not to judge them and to not use the talk as a way of berating them. If they trust you enough to talk to you, then trust them enough to really hear them
Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes :)
It’s not possible for anyone to share every minute of every day with another person and there will be things that our little ones don’t feel like telling us for whatever reason. I don’t think this is a bad thing. What is important is that they feel that they can come to us with the important things.
I think your list is a good one. The only thing I would add is that maybe you should open up to your little one sometimes too. I know this seems counterintuitive since talking is the opposite of listening. I remember being small and my mother was always nagging me to tell her about my day. Maybe if she started out by telling me a little bit of what happened during her day, I would feel like we were having a conversation instead of feeling like I’m being questioned all the time. #GlobalBlogging
Love this list! <3 From a child's perspective – no matter how old we get – we appreciate all of it. :-)
Oops, I forgot! #GlobalBlogging :-)
I really hope that my son will speak to me about almost everything.
Very good advices #bloggerclubuk
No tips for you but I figure of you can give time then your going in one step the right way. Parenting was probably eAsier when they couldn’t speak!! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun
Ah I think the shame. I’d love nothing more than for my children to keep talking to me when they’re older and I certainly believe in listening to the seemingly little things now as they are not little to them. Thanks so much for linking at #familyfun x
Popping back for #familyfun