Friday, August 20, 2010

Secret and Confidential

A few months back, I was reminded we are fast approaching the teenage years. Our oldest will be 10 in a month or so. I've heard stories of how some teenagers shut down communication with their parents during those hard hormonal years. I wanted to do everything I could now to prepare for the possibility of trying times. I will say we have a great relationship with our kids. They talk to us about everything...sometimes they talk too much about everything. As a family we share and pray together around the dinner table, during devotion times, not counting all the incidental conversations throughout the day. I just wanted to do something that would make it easier for them to share things that are hard to just come right out and talk about.

So I had this idea, not original I'm sure. Anyway, I found two mini spiral bound notebooks and made labels for the front. "Secret and Confidential". I wrote a note in the front explaining that this book was for anything they felt like sharing with Mommy or Daddy. Then, they place it under our pillow for us to read. After that we respond to what they have written. When they found out they each had a book, we stressed how important it was to respect each other's privacy. (We haven't had any problem with that at all).

I really felt impressed to start this now...to make it a habit before we hit puberty. Maybe knowing they can "talk" to us about anything and having a non-intimidating way to do it will help all of us. We go in spurts...some weeks we receive several notes. Then sometimes we have to go sneak the book and write them a note to spark the dialogue. We write words that praise them for things, affirm their character and always tell them how much we love them.

I believe this individual conversation is especially important in families with more than one child. It lets each one express themselves to their parents and feel like they are being heard. All I know is I want to do everything I can to always make my children feel they are loved and they can talk to us about anything. It's been a great thing for our family already. But let's just keep it between us, though because it is "secret and confidential".


(My children know I am writing this post, but I also reassured them I would never specifically share what they wrote to us...Tera added because that would be breaking a trust. I agree!)

2 comments:

  1. I love this idea!

    A couple of years ago I was talking with a friend about how "for now" my pre-teen was still willing to be a part of the family and how I dreaded the day that he'd retreat to his room alone and "opt out" of family time. She said the most remarkable thing to me. Something like: just because that's the typical teen stereotype doesn't mean that's the way you have to roll.

    It was profound (to me) in that I assumed my son (and later my daughters) would just resort to typical teen behavior. BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. Nor do I have to ALLOW it.

    I'm all about giving them their space and giving them permission to opt out on occasion especially if the respect and the communication are part of our daily interaction. And I think your idea is just another way to enhance all of that.

    Does this make ANY sense?

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  2. That makes total sense...I agree it doesn't have to be that way. I really think we do have to be proactive as parents so we are ready for whatever comes up.

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