I read the most fabulous post the other morning from the Mommy Man. He talks about the little bully’s. Those kids on the playground who get off on pushing around the other kids. His method for handling these situations is spot on, and he tells it much better than I could 🙂 There’s only one thing I’d like to add…
Sticking up for your kids, caring about their feelings, and not yelling “So hit ’em back!!” let’s them know you are on their side.
It seems like it would be a given; you’re mom/dad. Of course you’re on their side. Haha! As a mother of teenage girls I can tell you one thing. 1) They do NOT believe that all the time. When you’re making them change or take off make-up. When you tell them “I don’t like that boy”. When they get chaperoned to the park by their little brothers 🙂
They don’t react too badly to it, but it’s all in the approach. For if they feel like you’re out to get them, the communication goes down the toilet and so does your grasp of what they’re up to.
Through trial and error; one girl who will go no further than small talk and one kid who will confide in me 99% of the time, I have come with a pretty darn good recipe to keep your kids believing that you are on their side. And it’s just 3 simple things…
Be their voice: Sometimes there are situations where your kid just won’t know what to do. Or maybe he/she isn’t old enough to know what to do. It’s your job to be their advocate. Seeing you come to their rescue when they genuinely need it will build mountains of trust. And seeing you do it calmly will teach them good lessons, as well. Need a how to? Check out the link at the bottom. Aside from bully’s you may have to be their voice to teachers, coaches, and doctors. But do not be afraid. The only people who will be scared are the ones on the receiving end. There’s something eerie about a dead calm pissed off parent.
Be Compassionate: Your kids will come to you with things that you’re going to think “Ok. And…???”. Don’t react that way. When they tell you something don’t say “So what?”. It’s better to ask them why they’re telling you this. It gets them talking. And you might find out something cool. Or something they didn’t want to come right out and tell you. Then just put yourself in their shoes…”I can see how it must have been hard to…”. They will feel like you understand.
Be Available: Whether it’s 3 in the afternoon or 10 at night, if they want to talk to you, listen. Even if all you can do is answer and say “I gotta call you back”, make sure you do. If you absolutely can’t take the call(work meeting, seminar, class) call them back as soon as you can. If you tell them later, tomorrow, give me an hour, they will just quit bothering you. ‘Cause they’re kids and that’s how they see it.
Be…Tactful: Yes, I can count. And this would make it 4 simple things. But it’s not applicable to all ages of kids. This one comes into play between 11 and 13ish. When the pant’s don’t fit yet they wear ’em anyways, don’t say nice muffin top. If their make-up is bad, help them fix it, don’t say gawd you look awful. And when you’re daughter breaks up with her first boyfriend, don’t look at her and say “Oh now you don’t even know what love is”. Her friends dad said that to Boo and I thought she was gonna slug him.
Doing these 3 things with my kids , and the 4th one with Boo has really impacted our communication. Boo comes to me with friend problems, boy issues and questions. We talk and work through things. There is a bond between us that’s unshakable. All of them can even come to me when they’re mad at me and say “Mom, I’m mad at you because…”. And that’s huge. I always have told them that if I don’t know, I can’t fix it. I guess they do listen 🙂
How do you build that bond with your kids? Let us know!
*Read Mommy Man! You really should. He’s awesome and inspiring.