In my past two posts, I have talked about Communication Killers – 7 Wrong Responses to Avoid, and 7 Keys to Communcation. Family is all about relationships, and keeping a tight bond with the heart of our children. Therefore, not only is good communication vital, but HOW you communicate is also of great importance. Sometimes not only what we say, but the things we do are less than affirming to our kids, or come across to them as a lack of acceptance.
Before I share a few things that I have observed as damaging to relationships, let me just remind you that I am not speaking as one who has never done/said these things! I wish I could say I wasn’t guilty of any of these things, but it’s not true. Those that I am guilty of are what made me aware of how it hurt the child that took the brunt of it. Others on the list are things I’ve observed in watching people and families as they interact. You will probably read something on this list, and think of a time when you did or said that, and start feeling guilty. That is NOT my intent! None of us are perfect parents, and we all say and do things we wish we could take back. The purpose of this post is to remind myself (and you) of the importance of being aware of how we respond to and treat our children. If you want to have or keep a good relationship with your children, these are things that you should try not to do. If/when you do them, be sure to apologize as soon as you realize it, and restore that relationship right away!
7 WAYS TO RUIN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILDREN
1. Embarrass them.
You shouldn’t correct or scold your child publicly, or even in front of their siblings. Take them aside privately and deal with it. Public humiliation will bring anger, and often rebellion.
2. Avoid apologizing when you’ve been harsh, unkind, or unfair, etc.
I have tried to make it a habit every evening to think back over the day, and try to remember if there was a situation where I responded wrong, that I needed to go and make right. Your kids will love you and respect you for being willing to admit when you have responded wrong, and they will accept your apology and offer forgiveness. Failure to do this however, will lead to bitterness, and will gradually cause a separation in your relationship.
3. Always give advice when they share their thoughts, or something that has happened.
Often our kids just want to share things with us; however, they don’t want to get a lecture in return. This goes back to the previous posts on communication. A HUGE part of communication is LISTENING!
4. Never show that you are pleased with them.
This is something I have to work on! Often the kids have done something good, but I wanted a little more, or for it to be done a little differently. Rather than being thankful or encouraging, I respond with “Why didn’t you….?” or “You should have….” This is a great way to discourage your kids, and eventually they will quit trying to please you.
5. Be crabby and irritable.
No one wants to be around someone who always puts a damper on things. I have caught myself mumbling and grumbling at times when I come home from shopping. I’m tired, still need to make dinner, and then I find the kitchen wasn’t cleaned up while I was gone. Who ever happens to be around gets to listen to me complain, and be grumpy. Then I wonder why no one is around the next time I come home! A better response would be to do some training. Later, when you’re not so grumpy(!), explain to the kids how happy it would make you to come home to a clean kitchen after you’ve been out buying groceries. Chances are, they were busy playing and never thought about that! Also, don’t have expectations if you haven’t given instructions before leaving.
6. Act like it’s a big bother when they ask you for help, or need something.
Sometimes, well rather, most of the time, I’m just plain TIRED! Little needs or requests for help can seem like such a BIG thing to me. The thing that has helped me see the importance of responding to requests for help in a cheerful way, is thinking of how I feel when my kids don’t want to cheerfully help me. (Hmm…wonder where they got that from!) It kind of hurts when those who love you grumble when you ask them to help you with something.
7. Scold harshly when something is done in innocence that annoys you, or cause you some inconvenience.
This makes me think of the child visiting our home who spilled milk at breakfast. I calmly got a cloth and wiped it up. The child was apologetic and embarrassed, and I reassured him that it was just an accident, and those things happen. His response: “My mom gets really MAD when I spill my milk at home!” There were times when my kids spilled things, and I was tired, and irritated with the mess I had to clean up. I may not have “yelled” at them, but at the same time I let it be known that I wasn’t happy about it. (More of that grumbling!) This can make a child think we view them as an inconvenience – something I NEVER want my kids to think or feel!
Let’s make it our goal to do all we can to make our children know they are loved! Show affection often, tell them you love them, and affirm then often. Those are great ways to keep the relationship strong!