Parenting that Opens Kids Up

11 03 2009

In consulting with many parents about their kids I often hear parents say that their kids will not talk or open up to them. As they are saying this I see the resignation on their face and hear it in their voice firmly believing this is a by product of their age or gender.

Certainly, it is true that there are some kids that are more verbal then others but I do not believe kids are unwilling to open up to their parents. What I see more often then not is that the parent is not the kind of person a kid wants to open up to. Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to assume that there is a natural avoidance in our kids to shut down around their parents rather then share what is going on in their world? In an attempt to bring some hope and optimism to resigned parents let me approach this challenge with this question:

What would it take from me to increase the chances of my kid opening
up to me?

With this question in mind it begs me to spend a little time on the kind of parenting that tends to shut kids down. This could be a topic for an article in and of itself. Simply stated kids are the least likely to open up to parents that talk too much and express very little curiosity in how and what their kids think. Parents that tend to hunger and need their kid’s conversation tend to over power and tell kids what they should be doing, thinking, and saying rather then to gently probe with well articulated questions grounded in patience to allow the kid to express themselves in their own words.

So what kinds of parents do kids want to talk to? Parents that understand that their kids are on a quest. A quest to own the ups and downs of their life, to enjoy and struggle to find themselves and build confidence through experiencing how their actions either breed positive outcomes or distasteful ones using these points of data as opportunities to make adjustments or stay the same, but either way, they know whatever happened they owned. Therefore, the positive outcomes are attributed to themselves and the negative outcomes bring a reality of where growth is necessary. Parents that use well articulated questions that draw their kids experiences out without demanding they have a right to it allow kids to make the choice to share rather then demand it. When this happens the kid chooses to share with a desire to invite you into their world rather then pushing yourself in whether you are invited or not. None of us respond well to people breaking into our personal space. Kids included.

It has been my experience that kids love to invite parents into their life journey but don’t respond well to parents that try to break in uninvited.

If you are intrigued by this topic and would like more information on some parent coaching, contact Shaun@MentalEdgeNow.com.

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