Friday, October 12, 2012

Our Children’s Important Thoughts


Our children’s opinions matter. It’s important to listen to kids, reflect back what they say, and provide feedback, affirmation, and guidance as needed. While giving a child constant, undivided attention fosters self-centeredness, children do need to know that they have a voice, and learn to listen to other people’s voices. A healthy balance teaches humility and self-respect.

Young children can be very frank; they haven’t learned to withhold certain observations, so their opinions can be very instructive. When my children were small, they provided some illuminating insights:

“Mom, your teeth are yellow.”

“Your breath smells. Phew! Please, sit somewhere else.”

“Wow, Mom! You look so much better in that coat!”

Fortunately, they’ve toned down some of their candidness with the passing years! But they can still speak their mind, and I’m thankful for that. The comments of an honest person carry a lot more weight than those of a flatterer. I was happy about my daughter’s comment to a friend the other day:

“My mom could stand to be a little less driven, but I think she’s doing a pretty good job.”

(Yes! She said that!) Of course, we don’t want to parent to please our kids. Sometimes I’ve been equally encouraged by being called a “mean mom” when I’ve insisted on chores and earning screen time. But it’s nice to get a little positive feedback sometimes, especially when you know it’s genuine. I knew she meant it.

And what she thinks matters.



25 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree with that more.
    It's like I say in my talk about my book and parenting, "For too long the voice of children has been suppressed."
    Good for you for not doing that.

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  2. I actually enjoy the frankness of children. Sometimes you just need to hear the truth flat out, even if it comes from the smallest of mouths.

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    1. That is so true! Hearing the truth gives us an opportunity to change.

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  3. Great post! I love it when my children are honest with me. Makes me feel like I'm doing my job :)

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I agree. Even if they have some negative input, I am glad they feel free to speak up. : )

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  4. I agree with your post. I've written similar posts as well. Love the kid comments!

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  5. yes..and I can count on them for feedback I want to hear on my clothes..I do not want to dress like a teen or a senior citizen and they let me know if it is either..

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    1. So do mine! They didn't want to be seen with me in what they called my "disco sunglasses," lol!

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    2. Lisa, my mom had some horrible "Emerald City" glasses, but they worked wel, so I tried not to be too embarrassed :-)
      My daughter with an artist's flair for harmony, keeps me from wearing clashing colors and from looking what we lovingly call "Santa Cruzin," or a bit too mismatched. Accountability is perhaps a good thing.

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    3. So funny! Yes, we can get away with a lot when we call it "Santa Cruzin," lol! (That is an inside joke, if you're reading and not from around here.)

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  6. Yes, children do have a voice, and they must be heard. Well, more than heard- listened to. In doing so, they too learn what it means to really listen and understand what others are trying to tell them.

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  7. I have a rule in my house where if my children do not agree they are allowed to speak up and tell me why. One of two things will happen I will change my mind and see it their way or I won't. Once they have spoken their mind and I have replied though, the conversation is over. I find after that, it really just turns into arguing.(:

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    1. I agree - respect is really important. My kids are allowed to "appeal" my decisions and if their appeal is reasonable I reconsider. Often, they don't know the reasons behind my unpopular decisions. It all helps develop communication and negotiation skills.

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  8. My daughter is 15 and part of her "charm" is that she is often brutally honest. But it's ok, we have that kind of relationship that she can be that way with me, and often, her honesty is helpful. She also asks very pointed questions about why I may respond in a certain way...and those questions are a way for me to have an open dialogue with her. Thanks so much! Lisa

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    1. That is so cool to hear. Many parent/child relationships get strained during the teen years, so open communication is wonderful.

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  9. You can always count on kids for their honest feedback. It's great that your kids can have such a close relationship with you and tell you their true thoughts.

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    1. Yes, I'm very thankful for that. thanks for stopping by!

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  10. There is nothing like the pure honesty of a child is there? What an amazing thing to hear from your child. It must be true. ;)

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  11. Kids can be very blunt. When my daughter was around 4, I had started talking to her about the dangers of cigarette smoking. One day we were in the convenience store behind a HUGE man who was buying cigarettes. My sweet 4-year-old (who is now 22) pointed her finger and said "Oooo, you're gonna die". He swung around, nostrils flaring, but then he looked down at my cute, curly haired 4-year-old and started laughing. Whew!

    Stopping by from VoiceBoks!

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    1. lol, that is hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. It is amazing what we can learn if we just slow down and listen to our children. They have a special wisdom.

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  13. My daughter has only just turned one, so I am yet to hear her little words of wisdom...although I often wonder what is going through her head. Young children especially say what they see and what they think....very innocent and that is what is so special.

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