I said something to one of my daughters. It was only a few lines but those words opened up a new line of conversation for us.
It started with my intuition. I sensed there was something going on behind the shining eyes I see every day. Perhaps a build up of things not spoken about, that needed to be talked out. I said to her as I kissed her goodnight, these words:
Do you know what? You can tell me anything, and I won’t be shocked by ANYTHING you tell me.
It was the second part of the sentence that was the key to opening the door, but I didn’t know it at the time. I’m not sure why I said it that way…I guess I wanted to articulate there was no limits to our conversation topics. It’s true too. Early on in my parenting years, I made a conscience choice to: not act (or be) shocked with anything my kids tell/ask me; not taboo topics; be open.
The door didn’t open right away. A day or so later, she approached me saying she had thought about what I said: that I wouldn’t be shocked with ANYTHING. I affirmed the statement and waited.
From that moment, it was like a new bond of trust formed between us. We’ve talked through many fears, worries, mistakes and other things that had been bothering her over the weeks and months.
I’m amazed and proud at my children’s courage as they grapple with life’s challenges and joys. I learn with them, and through them afresh.
There is something wonderfully terrifying when you earn another measure of trust from your child. What a privilege it is. What a responsibility. Sometimes you just have to find the right key.
This first appeared on the Be A Fun Mum Facebook page and you can read the relevant discussions here.