Can Your Children Be Honest?
Parenting Advice: Establishing Open Communication and Trust
Written by Randi Fine
Children go through phases, particularly during their adolescent years, when they see no logical or justifiable reason to communicate with their parents for any reason other than to have their most basic needs or their material desires met. After spending ten or so years as the apple of their child’s eye, parents are suddenly seen as the “lamest” people on the planet.
Adolescence, the period of children’s life when they are most vulnerable to outside influences, is rightfully a scary time for parents. Children of this age become the target of many negative influences while at the same time experiencing hormones that are raging out of control. The only influence that they seemingly become deafened to is that of their parents.
From the moment of birth we begin a gradual process of separation from those we are dependent upon. That is how children emotionally mature into adults. This process becomes starkly obvious and seemingly accelerates during the adolescent years, a time when children are mortified at the thought of being seen in public with their parents and spare no feelings when telling them so. But parents should not be fooled by their children’s rejection and rudeness. Children expect the support, guidance, structure, and influence of their parents to remain constant.
Keeping children as safe as humanly possible, especially during adolescence, requires knowing what they are doing, what they are thinking, and who they are associating with. Communication, though difficult at times, is the key.
Very little is certain when parenting, but one thing is for sure. If we want to have open communication and trust with our children we must monitor our reactions to what they do and say. No matter how shocked or upset we feel we must always present a calm, non-judgmental front.
If your children have done something wrong they need to be accountable. When discipline is required it should be given in a way that is reasonable and fair. Children should always know that you are parenting and disciplining from a place of love, and one that is always in their best interest.
Children best absorb the lessons we wish to teach them when they can relate to us. The most effective parents are ones who are real, who do not profess to be perfect. Do not hesitate to share the mistakes of your past as it relates to issues your children are experiencing.