Maintaining open lines of communication with your kids once they’re out of the house.
Despite the ups and downs of being a Mom, and all the times I’ve heard “Mom you’re so annoying!” — the closeness that my kids and I share is priceless. I am so proud of our open lines of communication.
From all the relationship issues to work related issues, and all the personal and public things in between, I would have never expected for my kids to tell me so much about their stuff.
Nowadays, whenever I have a date with my son, I jokingly tell people, “Shhhhh! Don’t tell Larry I’m out with another man!” We laugh, it’s our fun joke that always ends with a picture of our dinner date.
How have I created this closeness?
Here are a few personal tips that I’ve gathered from over the years:
Unconditional Love. My kids know that no matter, regardless of how old they are, I will never never stop worrying about them. I use the term “concerned” now, so it sounds less childish. Even though they know that with me it’s still worrying.
Humor. I kid around with my children a lot, and often use humor to disguise serious advice or my personal concerns. It helps them feel less attacked, and more like it’s not such a big deal (even though deep down it still is for me!)
Non-Judgement. My son talks to me about things I would have never expected him to feel comfortable sharing with me. He opened up to me the other day, and I said to myself, “OMG, I can’t believe he just told me that.” I acted cool and calm, trying to not make him feel embarrassed. I think that’s a huge part of earning that trust, listening and remaining judgement free!
Friendship. While I’m my kids’ mother and parent first, I still make sure to also be their friend second. My daughter and I are like best friends half the time, which is a blessing I don’t take for granted. I often find myself telling her things I would have never imagined sharing with my own child, it’s really so special. We even have a special code F.U.G.O., which stands for FOR US GIRLS ONLY! Cute, right?
Never give up on being annoying. I’ve come to realize that my “annoyingness” actually comes across a lot like “love” after all. My kids somehow internalized all my worry as true care. So maybe what I thought was annoying was actually what helped them realize how much I loved them.
Vulnerability. I was and still am very honest with my children, so they feel comfortable being the same way back. It’s funny to see how my daughter now worries about me more than ever. If she’s out and the weather is bad, or if she hears about an accident in the neighborhood, or sees something on the news, she automatically calls me to make sure that I’m OK! Funny how roles shift and change.
With all the times I have heard “MYSA” or “STOP! Enough already!” I have to say that my kids and I have really great open lines of communication! Communication is key, especially as our lives and situations change. The most important foundation for a relationship with your children is open communication. It’s not always easy, but in the end it’s a sign of true love.