Parenting can be confusing. Frightening, really. When your children are young, it seems like they are almost bent on self destruction…shoving things up their noses, choking on nearly everything, and all the daredevil moves they make like a trapeze artist out of their cribs or high chairs.
And then they grow up. And the dangers…the potential for lifelong hurt…increases exponentially. Especially as they grow, what is the most important thing you can do?
Assure them constantly (from an early age…tweens) that YOU are a safe place. You are trustworthy. You will listen. You prove yourself by listening carefully to friends and letting the children hear you lovingly advise or give counsel. You explain real life situations you know or read about and show empathy and grace (ages 14-17). You train your children to listen carefully to one another and see things from each other’s viewpoint. As they grow through adolescence, you listen carefully to their friends or acquaintances. You be the parents those kids know they can turn to. And as they age, and see that you do listen, you do understand, you are empathetic…they will trust you with their hearts.
Make no mistake, I’m a tough mama. We expect a lot and my kiddos know I’m a fighter. But they have seen David and I be empathetic, especially towards young’uns not raised like we have done family. They have heard us say to other kiddos, “There’s nothing you can tell us that we haven not heard or experienced before…wasn’t so long ago we were 15,17, 22 years old. No condemnation here…and if you’re in trouble we can help.” And in turn, our children then know…it’s alright. We are here. We love. Come to us…
So moms and dads, this week, remember to train your children up to know instinctively (and because you remind them frequently!) the first place they can go to for help is you. The world is way to willing to step in and give help that IS NOT HELPFUL. Teach them that you are trustworthy with their hearts.