Your questions are fuel for us for two reasons. First, you are real and desire to live a great story for your kids. Secondly, your courage to ask questions helps everyone listening to the podcast. If you struggle with something, other families struggle with it too.
It’s an honor being in this together with you. These Q & A episodes give all of us encouragement. So thank you!
In this episode, we had a number of questions related to being emotionally safe for our kids and why it’s important. In this week’s episode we discuss:
- Resources for understanding our own story as a parent
- How to connect and talk to our child with grace, especially if he / she is prone to feeling ashamed
- If a parent is away for work, ways he / she can connect with the kids from the road
- How to plan for a difficult conversation with our teenager (and even our kids), especially when there is a rift in the relationship
- Championing our kids in their interests and passions, even if they have no outlets for it in our local area
- The importance of kids recognizing and putting words to their emotions
As a general takeaway for this episode, give yourselves grace. When we walk in grace, it’s easier to pass it onto our kids as well.
Jen: In episode 51 you talk about emotional safety for our kids and attachment. I recognize the only way I can address my own attachment style and my tendencies and my reasons for flying off the handle (or why certain things make me go to that place) is if I do the hard work of understanding my past and who I am. But I don’t know where to start. I have very little long term memory, so I don’t know how to dig in? Do you recommend any resources for helping along with this deep work?
Annie: My oldest is 6, she is extremely independent and smart. I have raised her almost completely by myself because my husband is in the oilfield and physically absent. Over the last year or so she has developed this habit of every time I try and correct her (often my delivery isn’t with grace) she responds by saying, “It’s because I’m stupid, I’m just stupid.” She just seems so frustrated and defeated. I can’t seem to get through to her to try again or that she isn’t dumb/stupid. I know I have done something maybe to contribute to that. But since it’s already been done, what is something I can say to maybe help navigate or reframe her mindset. I also need to say I have NEVER called her that. However, I know she has heard me say things like, “This is so stupid,” talking about lots of different things.
Lindsay: I just found your podcast in a major time of need. I just feel I’m getting it all wrong. I’ve listened to a few of your episodes and know I need to change my parenting style. I have a 16-year-old who previously to this last year was easy to raise. The last year has been a living nightmare and I’m handling it all wrong. I’m disappointing, angry, mean, and just lost. My question is, how do you suggest I start making a change? I know I need to sit down and have a conversation but I don’t know where to start.
Shannon: My daughter is nine years old and she hates sports, exercise and being outdoors. She loves singing and performing and creating movies on her iPad. Unfortunately we live in an area where our school only offers athletics – there is no chorus, show choir, drama, or band. My daughter has a meltdown and wants to quit anytime something is difficult. She is a pleaser, is very sensitive and wants to fit in and be included. So we make her play rec sports because a) she needs the exercise and b) we are worried that if we let her quit now that she will regret it once she gets up to junior high and all of her friends are on teams. She currently complains about leaving the house to go do anything because she just wants to sit in her room on her iPad, but she is athletic and seems to enjoy the sports while she’s there. So how would you handle this in terms of screaming data and letting her be the person that she is and not who we or our community want her to be?
We celebrate her creativity and explain to her that we don’t expect her to be the best at sports but that it is important to get exercise and get away from screens. We are just afraid to let her quit anything until she gets to jr. high and sees what it is like to play on the same team with all of her friends. At that time, we feel like she can decide which sport or sports she wants to continue playing, if any. But is this sending her the message that we don’t love her the way she is and that we need her to be an athlete? How do I find the balance between letting her do what she loves while also making her do things she hates because the things she hates make her healthy and the things she loves do not?
I had the privilege of tuning in to the Parents Summit a few months ago via satellite location. Your session was one of my favorites, yet I had a hard time completely connecting. Here’s a glimpse at my story: my husband and I are the proud parents of a smart, joyful, smiley almost three year old. At birth, he suffered a brain injury which resulted in several life long diagnoses including cerebral palsy, seizures, and vision problems. He is also tube fed and non-verbal.
I’ve listened to several talks about special needs parenting, but I still feel like our situation is a little missed. I want to parent our son to know and love God and to have a healthy emotional life, but I’m at a loss. Because my son can’t talk or walk, it’s SO HARD to understand what he is trying to say and what he is feeling. He’s smart, and we definitely know when he’s happy and sad. When he’s sad, I don’t know how to encourage his emotional health when I don’t truly know what’s going on. Also, on another train of thought, I want to teach him God’s Word, but I’m just stuck. I know that reading is always a good action, but I want more and I don’t know how to go about it. I long for that back and forth connection that we just don’t have at this time. We have hopes that he will use a communication system in the future, but that’s not in the cards right now. Any thoughts on this subject would be such a blessing, not only to me, but I know many other special needs parents out there. Thank you.