Last night in my Winning Kids Over Without Rewards of Punishments class, a dad shared his fear of showing his kids how he just learned that he needed to improve his communications with them . Another dad had also grown up to believe that sharing emotions and weaknesses would cause him to lose control over his kids.
I understood their concern. The belief that kids will take advantage of a parent in a “weak” state is rampant. If you are trying to parent by using control, threats, and domination, then being vulnerable would make you more apt to lose control.
What I propose is a parenting belief system where parents work on building a respectful relationship with their kids. Where parents are more of an ally rather than an adversary. Where parents use connection and influence to develop a cooperative and supportive family environment.
In this environment, telling your kids that you need to change your communication style, would be welcomed and appreciated by the kids. When there isn’t an underlying resentment from prevailing harsh and unkind treatment, kids will show compassion for an honest parent and even be willing to help the parent be successful.
Parents and kids connect through emotions. We come into the world with our limbic system intact. Babies pick up nonverbal clues, emotions, react from gut reactions and determine whether they feel safe or not. All our emotions are stored in our long term memory in the limbic system. We are emotional beings and sharing our emotions is how we truly connect.
So, please don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your kids. You can stay the ultimate authority in the family and also show your need to grow and learn. Your kids will love it.
Do you struggle with showing your vulnerability with your children? Why?
©2013 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 341.0779 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.