Hello friends!! Currently, my insides are very disturbed by a statement that my son’s friend shared with him at school. I will spare you the details because it’s very sad that a 5th grader would utter such perversion. Any who, it made me very thankful that my son would share his feelings and not hide them. Normally, kids are embarrassed or scared to open up. But, y’all, the subject in our home consistently is that we have to learn to express feelings, all feelings. We are far from perfect, but cultivating a healthy, safe environment in our home has been Mike and I’s desire since becoming parents. We don’t want our kids to hide their emotions or think that we don’t care about their feelings.
Feelings and emotions are God-given, and there is a need in all of us for those feelings and emotions to be expressed. Most of the time, one just doesn’t feel safe to share them. The most basic need a soul has is to experience unconditional love and acceptance. When this environment is established, sharing feelings such as gratitude, enjoyment, and delight or frustration, fear, insecurity and anger becomes normal and not weird. Kids need this safe place just as much as adults. We have to encourage and show our kids how to openly communicate all emotions. Hurt, disappointment, and jabs are bound to happen. Our response to those emotions can bring about growth or isolation. It’s so important that we know what to do in those moments.
For so long, I protected myself from letting others know my true feelings. Hiding was what I mastered which stunted my growth emotionally and spiritually and blocked me from deepening my relationships. Hiding is not an option. Intimacy, openness and vulnerability is what we are after in our home.
“The healthiest homes aren’t the ones without problems, the healthiest homes are the ones that solidify their love for one other even in the midst of troubles.”
We are huge Dr. James Dobson fans. And, we have read many of his books and listened to his podcast to better learn how to do this parenting thing. We have failed many times, but we are adamant about becoming the parents that reflect the Father rightly. We want to lead by example. So, here are a few tips that we had gleaned from Dr. Dobson’s teachings (you can read his entire post, here):
Do Invite – Their opinions matter, their ideas will be given a fair hearing, and they can do so in an atmosphere of safety, mutual love and respect. There is nothing they should ever be anxious, embarrassed or too afraid to talk with you about.
Do Express – Model your feelings with honesty, genuineness, transparency, and in such a manner that honors Christ. God gave us emotions, even the strong ones, and they are what make us human. Teach your children balance and decency when it comes to self-expression. If they are never allowed to show emotion, they will dry up. If they only show emotion, they will blow up. However, if there is a healthy balance between the two, they will grow up.
Do Affirm – The blessing of affirmation has the power to touch deep into the soul and releases our children with confidence to a future that is more secure.
Do Forgive – The goal is not the avoidance of all conflict, but how to effectively resolve issues and restore relationships that is essential. Helping family members work through a problem, employing Christ-like forgiveness, is better in the long run than simply letting them work their way out of a problem.
Do Empower – When a home is filled with the invitation to be engaged, with consistent expressions of love and affirmation, problems can and will be successfully addressed and resolved, then an environment of trust is created. Children understand and experience what it means to be given a blessing for a hopeful future, to step out in faith and to embrace all that God has for them.
“If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live to love and be loved.”
Hope that this encouraged some parents out there. We don’t have to strive for perfection, but we do want to lead our children as the Father leads us. Thanks for stopping by my blog. As always, you can shop my outfit by clicking the pictures below.
Julie Hoag says
This is a great post! I love how you address commnication. I try to keep a safe environment where my kids can say anything. If kids feel safe, then they will talk, if they don’t, they may clam up. Great post for all to read and I love the part at the end in quotes too. So true.
This was such a good, interesting post. I work in communications but I feel like I totally lack in interpersonal communications and expressing my feelings. It’s one area I want to improve on, especially if I’m going to have kids and want them to have a healthy environments. Your outfit is super cute, that sweater looks so comfy.
elizabeth o says
True… we need to keep the channels of communication open with our kids. If we don’t, they will seek solace elsewhere. That said, I love the brown sweater… gorgeous! 🙂
Shelly Richardson says
I don’t have children but I love reading that there are still parents out there instilling good habits and values in their children. That is our future right there! So many people don’t get that anymore. Plus…adore the sweater! I have it!!! So comfy!
This was such a great post. That’s amazing that you teach your kids communication and they are comfortable telling you their feelings. I also am obsessed with your outfit and how you layered the stripes underneath the sweater.