Tough Conversations with Kids: Honesty is Key

Why is it important as a mom to be honest with your children, rather than to sugar coat or avoid hard topics?

Our kids are watching us all the time. If they see us avoiding hard topics, or backing away from the things that make us uncomfortable, we teach them to play it safe and stuff their feelings down. It’s our responsibility to teach our children the meaning of emotional honesty and how to work through our challenges with transparency and the willingness to learn from conflict. This is why it’s important to clarify our own values and hone our communication skills—especially when it comes to talking to our kids.

Admittedly, it’s tough to be the initiator of the hard conversations. It requires getting conscious and clear about your own intentions; it also requires figuring out whether or not your child can handle what you are offering them. I have discovered that I need to be very sensitive and respect their individuality and needs. We as moms can’t just push the conversation onto them. We must be creative about how we go about talking to them—because, let’s face it, just as we are usually trained to expect our kids’ respect, they are trained to internally roll their eyes at what we have to say! But in being honest, we give our kids permission to do the same. However, it’s important to go into these conversations without expectations or the desire for positive reinforcement and feedback. We are not here to get our needs met by our children. Regardless of how your kids react, just know that you are setting a foundation for honest discussion that will absolutely have positive long-term effects on them and your future relationship.

How do you think embracing these tough conversations can strengthen a mother’s relationship with her kids?

Embracing tough conversations shows your kids that you will be there for them, no matter what. When no topic is too taboo or off limits, your kids learn that they can trust you unconditionally. You build valuable channels of communication that matter, because they foster true connection and become the foundation for your relationship when things get tough.

So many young people fear disapproval, which can keep them from coming to their parents with challenges and important questions. But when we as moms willingly move toward the tough conversations, our children realize they can trust us. Just remember, communication is a two-way street. And when you show respect for your kids’ unique perspectives, you also end up learning from them. I promise that they will appreciate you for this.

For many parents, we’ve been ingrained with the notion that we have to fix or teach our children, and that they should automatically respect us because we’re the grown-ups. Obviously, this isn’t the best way to promote active and meaningful dialogue. And because hard conversations are already so sensitive, we need to go in with the desire not just to talk, but to listen. This starts with treating our kids as the unique, powerful human beings they are. We can do this by asking them what their needs are and creating the space for them to fully be themselves in the conversation. We can also do it by being discerning about what does and does not merit these kinds of discussions. Sometimes, it’s okay to let it go and trust that our kids will figure things out for themselves.

Should moms be worried about using the right words and saying the right thing or in these kinds of conversations is it better to be raw and vulnerable with your own children? Why?

Obviously, we need to make sure that we maintain appropriate boundaries with our kids, depending on their age and maturity level, and the topic of conversation. However, I always advocate being vulnerable and truthful. Believe me, it is possible to be mindful and respectful without censoring yourself. Tackling the hard conversations means you need to acknowledge your truth, your humanity, and the fact that life is messy—and “messing up” is just a part of all of that. When you are willing to be that real with your kids, and to embrace your own “flaws” without any shame, it shows them that they can trust you even more. So stop trying so hard to be a “good” parent and trying to get it right according to someone else’s standards—and trust yourself! You also don’t need to pretend that you have all the answers. For a parent, there is nothing more vulnerable than admitting that you don’t know, and this can be a powerful bonding moment! Just be honest about it, take this opportunity to be curious and nonjudgmental, and explore some possibilities with your kids.

By Kelly McNelis, founder of Women For One

Jewelry for Every Mom or Daughter

I always have my eyes open for neat jewelry pieces that make a statement. I came across some fabulous, unique jewelry that I HAD to share. My favorite for moms is the Not Just Any Old Day “Datesake” keys on a long chain. I have this necklace with my girls’ birthdays and everyone that sees what it is LOVES it! It is very special and makes the perfect gift for any mother or grandmother. My favorite for girls is the Tiny Hands Scented Jewelry. It is unbelievably adorable with insane detail and the most delicious smells. Adults can certainly wear it, but I think it is too cute for younger girls. This roundup is completed with inspirational pieces from Gracewear and Isabelle Grace to keep spirits lifted and share your faith.

not-just-any-dayNot Just Any Old Day…It’s YOUR Special Day® is unique jewelry that offers a sentimental way to remember, cherish, and celebrate the special occasions in life. Even better, every piece is made from recycled metals, so your gift can be personal, fashionable and green all at the same time! Marked with a Swarovski crystal on the month and day of your choice, Not Just Any Old Day’s® “Datesake” jewelry are a heartfelt gift. Whether celebrating a birth, anniversary, graduation, or a major life accomplishment, the Datesake jewels are a great way to remember those special dates. You will fall in love with the trendy and adorable key shaped design and it is something everyone will notice and ask about! Use an extra long 30″ chain for the perfect, versatile look. www.NotJustAnyOldDay.com

 

scented-birthday-cupcake-ringscented-snow-cone-necklaceTiny Hands Scented Jewelry is an adorable jewelry line that will make your heart melt and your stomach growl. Tantalize your senses with jewelry that looks and smells like the real thing! Tiny Hands serves a drool worthy menu of scented food jewelry from cupcakes, cookies, donuts, waffles, lollipops, even hot dogs and so many more! All of these sweet treats are featured on necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The fragrances are realistic and true to life! As seen on TV – Amy Poehler wore Tiny Hands Scented Jewelry on the hit show “Parks and Rec.” So, skip the calories and enjoy the fun of Tiny Hands Scented Jewelry. www.tinyhandsonline.com

 

gracewear Gracewear Collection is a beautiful jewelry line that offers an amazing way to be stylish and spiritual at the same time!! Gorgeous finds under $50 include many gold and rhodium plated pieces with the signature Shield of Faith design. Put on your full armor of God for His protection, mercy, and grace. Wearing the signature design is a subtle way to wear and share your faith.

Gracewear gives back a significant portion of profits to Women and Children in Crisis ministries. Compassion International, Covenant House Ministries, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes are ministries that Gracewear currently supports. www.GracewearCollection.com

 

isabelle grace faith fearWhatever your taste is, Isabelle Grace Jewelry has just the items to fit your personality. You can create your own one-of-a-kind piece by selecting from their personalized charms, initials, and semiprecious stones to create a piece that tells your story or select a beautiful piece from their INSPIRED line. Whether celebrating a birthday, graduation or any of life’s milestones, their jewelry is more than an accessory, and makes a memorable gift for friends and loved ones.

Isabelle Grace gives back a generous 20% of the proceeds to GirlTalk a student-to-student mentoring program designed to help girls navigate difficult issues, contribute to their community and build leadership skills. www.IsabelleGraceJewelry.com

 

 

Who Can Comfort Your Child?

Written by Cindy Pertzborn, author of How Do We Get To Heaven?

When your kindergartener feels alone on the playground, where can she turn for comfort?  When your 8-year-old is embarrassed because he’s the slowest runner in gym class, who can give him a sense of peace and perseverance?  It’s natural for moms to desire being the one who can solve their children’s problems, to comfort them when they are sad, and to give them a sense of peace when they are nervous.  Are you capable of being the perfect mom and accomplishing all you desire to do for your children?

Fast forward now to the teen years.  By now, your teen is well aware that regardless how hard she tries, she can’t solve all her own problems and that life is unpredictable.  And there’s no doubt she’s also aware you aren’t the source of all her answers either!

Release yourself of the stress of trying to be the perfect mom and hold fast to the truth that God is in control.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

Nothing comforts me more than knowing God loves my children more than I ever could.  As hard as I try, I will never be able to match the protection, guidance, and peace that Christ provides my kids.

My son, Brandon, became extremely sick when he was 8 months old.  After examining him, the pediatrician told me to rush him to the hospital where a surgeon would be prepared for our arrival.  Waiting for an ambulance would waste precious time and I was forced into immediate action.

Panic rose within me as I saw him go limp in his car seat.  Hands clenched to the steering wheel, I sang the song, Jesus Loves Me, aloud but changed the words to “Jesus loves you”.   Unable to hold and comfort Brandon while driving, I sang the song I had been singing to him since he was a newborn.  I was hoping the sound of my voice singing a familiar song would comfort him as he sat alone in the back seat.

Fearing for my baby’s life, I knew Brandon’s only hope was in God.  And in that desperate moment, as I sped to the hospital, I wanted Brandon to feel the peace of God that I was unable to offer.

God answered our prayers that day.  I arrived at the hospital and two hours later, Brandon underwent surgery.  Although Brandon didn’t understand who Jesus was when I was singing to him, he grew to understand and accepted Jesus as his personal Savior in the years to follow.

There will be many times when your child desires comfort and peace.  It’s important to teach her, when she is young, to rely on God for strength because He will never fail.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid of terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

So how do you teach your young child about God?  When showing her a beautiful flower, tell her God made it.  When snuggling with your sweet boy and telling him how much you and daddy love him, remind him Jesus loves him too.   Sing songs about Jesus, attend church to learn age appropriate Bible lessons, and talk about God our Father every day.

We want our children to know it’s okay to make mistakes and that everyone else makes mistakes too.  That’s part of life and being human.  But it’s a tremendous comfort to know there is someone who loves us so much and will never make a mistake; it’s a relief to know God is in control and will offer us His peace.

So how old should your children be when you teach them about Jesus’ love and strength?  Start telling them the day they are born!   Even better, enjoy singing Jesus Loves Me while they’re babies … it won’t be long until those precious children beg you to stop singing!

*New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

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