Open Communication with Kids

I remember those long days. Sanitizing bottles. Changing diapers. Mastitis. NO SLEEP. Depression diagnosis.

That stage was brutal.

Now, my kids are in elementary school; I have different challenges as a mom. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is:

There is this small window between kindergarten and middle school where our kids still think we’re cool. They value our opinion. They listen. They emulate us. And, they’re learning to function in the world.

These years give us an opportunity to lay the foundation for open communication with our kids.

If it’s common practice for our kids to talk with us in elementary school, it will be their gut reaction to seek our opinion when they’re older.

So, we have to be available at any moment for any question.

Here are some of the most important conversations we’ve covered:

  • “Not everything you hear is true.”
    My concern was misinformation from other children. We tell our kids if they hear new words and don’t know the meaning, ask us. We promise to be honest. On a side note, when you hear them say that cuss word or ask that sex question, don’t freak out! Be their safe place to ask anything, without embarrassment or shame. They’re looking for a calm explanation.
  • “Do not search the Internet for answers.”
    It’s a good thing my daughter has not googled some of the things she’s asked because the pictures would be traumatic. We have a rule in our house that a parent has to be in the room when googling. God tells us to guard our minds, and we want to keep out negative images. “More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, CEB)
  • “The Bible is our moral compass to determine right and wrong.”
    My daughter came home from school one day and immediately looked up “lying” in the Bible. One of her friends asked her to lie about a secret. My daughter wanted to know what God said about it. Another way to communicate this — the popular choice may not always be the right choice. What does God say?
  • “Respect Everyone.”
    I love that my kids are learning about different religions, theologies, etc. because I think it’s important for them to understand what and why we believe. They are discovering differences in opinion. Equally important in this conversation, we are to “respect everyone” as instructed in 1 Peter 2:17.
  • “Sex is a gift to enjoy when you’re married.”
    As for talking specifically about sex, it’s an ongoing discussion. I write about it here: Talking to my Kids about Sex

What other conversations would you include?