Thursday, May 26, 2011

31 Days Closer to Your Kids: Be Real

Shelly Final

Wondering how on earth I was going to get through a 31 Day series with enough material, I decided to poll my family one evening over dinner. Many of their ideas have been used in these posts, and I certainly could not have done this without them.

(Duh. Without kids, what would I have to write about?!)

As the girls were throwing out ideas (“Go on dates!” “Take kids on trips!” “Listen!”) I said something about wanting to be real with them. To share the hard stuff, when it’s appropriate. What did they think about that?

The girls nodded in agreement and Julia said this: “Yeah, it’s no fun when parents have hard days and don’t tell you why.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

I’ve had a few hard days this spring. The weather has not been my best friend. I’ve had a few disappointments. My grandmother died. I’ve been burdened for friends who are going through difficult times. Life has been busy, but that has only been a prelude of what’s to come this fall.

And sometimes, life just weighs on you for no particular reason.

Guess what. Your kids know it. They can sense it. They feel it. And deep down inside they want to know if there’s anything they can do about it.

The funny thing about kids, though, is that they won’t tread on your sacred bad-moodiness unless they feel you’re open to talking about it. And the only way you can show that you’re over yourself and your cranky bad-moodiness is to bring it up first.

Try these:

“Hey, guys, I’ve had a hard day today and here’s why . . .”

“You know what? A friend said something hurtful to me today. She didn’t mean to, but it’s really bummed me out.”

“Dad has had a reeeaally long day full of meetings today. I’m sorry I’m not very talkative tonight.”

Our kids already know, just by living with us, that not every day is rosy. That’s really O.K. That’s life. It presses in. It feels hard sometimes.

By opening up and letting our kids know WHY we might be having a hard day, we help them know how to react to their own hard days. We show them that having the occasional hard day is normal. We model the importance of leaning on family for support. And most of all, we let them know that our hard day is not their fault.

Sure, our kids may not be equipped, whether because of their age or maturity or emotional ability, to handle everything we’re going through. We should be careful with the information we share with our kids. But a little opening up and sharing what’s not going so well isn’t always a bad thing.

Your kids just want you to be real with them. Sometimes sharing the hard stuff is a way to start.

* * * * * * * * * * *

31 Days Closer to Health, Wellness, and Bathing Suit Season
31 Days Closer to a Cuter You
31 Days Closer to Hearing God's Voice
31 Days Closer to the Life You Always Wanted
31 Days Closer to a New Home



  1. You know, the best part for me is when my kids hear what I'm dealing with, and then pray for me. It is so wonderfully sweet, humbling (cuz I'm a giver - not a taker!) and amazing...amazing to see how God uses this transparency to build their faith as they see Him working in me - at their request.

  2. This is how our kids learn emotional health. This series is so great, Shelly. How many more days do we have left? Can we make it 41?


  3. I am catching up on your blog and savoring every nugget. I have a friend who is going through a really tought time financially. This bright and wonderful couple have 4 nearly-grown children. Their youngest is 15. They have not wanted to talk about the problem and I have felt the pain of knowing the kids feel the problem but because they can't see it are probably even more fearful of what's going on. I think appropriate information and enlisting the help of the whole family to overcome would be healthier. So I said it here. ; ) She hasn't asked for my opinion.