I want to encourage you young moms and dads out there to build a good track record of communication with your kids. I found this was imperative in getting them through their teen years. From the very beginning it was a priority in my mind to have good relationships with my children. I knew not to be their "friend" as they were growing up, Lord knows they needed a mom, not another friend. But I also knew there was going to be a time in their life when I did want to be their friend. That time is now.
They are both living for the Lord, which has everything to do with Jesus and His grace, not with me and Sean. This is the greatest joy of my heart to see them following Him and making decisions based on His Word. And although we are traveling that pathway to friendship, they still need the council of their parents. We are blessed, blessed and blessed that they are comfortable coming to us. I want this for every parent....because there is such joy and contentment when your adult kid comes asking for prayer and your advice.
How do you prepare for this season of your child's life? Here are a couple of things we did in our home to build a foundation of trust and good communication between us and our kids:
- We tried to be good listeners. Our kids knew they had a voice in our home. We wanted them to feel a part of a "team" and that meant they could voice their feelings. We required the voice to be respectful in tone and attitude and in the end they knew we had the final word. But having the respect from us that their voice mattered was important.
- We asked a lot of questions. We were interested in their thoughts, feelings and desires. We talked a lot in our home. Sometimes the conversations were hard, sometimes they were lighthearted, but we talked to one another. It made a difference.
- We prayed with them. Out loud. Every time they had an issue, we prayed. They knew God was the answer. They both are comfortable praying out loud and with others...this makes for a good relationship when you can pray with one another.
- We made sure our kids knew they could come to us with ANYTHING. The good, the bad and the ugly. ANYTHING. Nothing was off limits and we tried very hard not to freak out and lose control when they came, no matter how shocking or disappointed we were. After all....we made some pretty awful mistakes when we were young!
The Lord is our ONLY hope to have a great relationship with our adult kids. It takes, like so many things in this life, great intention. Sometimes you can do everything right and they choose not to be relatable, this is heartbreaking, but God is powerful...keep praying for that relationship to be restored.
If you don't have a good relationship with your kids, start doing things today to change it. If you are a controlling parent, back off. Begin to say your are sorry when you mess up, give your kids permission to have a voice, be kind and use kindness and patience in your tone of voice with them. It will take awhile for them to trust and see your relationship differently, but give it time. God is there to help in a huge way....
Have a great weekend!