As you all know, we basically wing it as parents, however one quote I read a few years ago has stuck with me:
“Listen earnestly to anything (your children) want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
Catherine Wallace: https://goo.gl/images/DFdxaf
Clearly this is not easy to do! You’re busy, they are rabbiting on about not much at all…
However, particularly after reading this quote, I do try to listen.
This is what I’ve found helps.
- Sitting in the front of the car while your child is in the car seat at the back, especially when my daughter was small.
- Talking while she is in the bath.
- Walking to school – it’s twenty minutes for us!
- Going for a long walk at the weekend – my daughter once talked solidly for an hour, I barely said anything!
- Chatting while gardening, cooking or doing something simple.
In my experience, doing something active somehow helps my daughter to talk. I think it’s to do with having a distraction from the conversation. It kind of neutralises any emotion, or at least reduces the chance of me showing a reaction that may be difficult for her to see, and then to continue talking about difficult subjects.
Tricky topics we’ve covered:
- My mental health and what it was like to be ill – see previous post https://wellthoughtthrough.com/2018/05/16/postpartum-psychosis-and-me/.
- How babies are made – inevitably, as she’s obsessed by them.
- How to cope with bullying – see https://wellthoughtthrough.com/2018/04/27/being-big-inside/. Handling friendship problems. Being upset by something an adult has done or said (usually it’s due to her misinterpretation).
- Her dad’s absence from her life.
- Visiting Penrhyn Castle and explaining slavery, historically and now, which is a minefield!
The one I’m dreading, as my daughter’s father is Jewish, is the conversation about the Holocaust.
I hope this is useful (and a bit lighter than my last post!). Let me know if you have any more top tips for communicating with your kids and building a strong relationship for the future.
Love Ruth x