Today our kids hear a lot from sources beyond ourselves (as parents). It's time to get comfortable being a resource because when the topic shifts you want to have the influence they need.
-Dr. Brookh Lyons
This week it’s clear that fall has arrived, which means we will be making the short drive up to Door County more often, to enjoy the last days before snow covers the land. I love car rides with my family! That thought led me to something I’d like to offer you, to help you in your own life, because although your kids may be little, they are growing up fast. And today is the day to strengthen your bond.
Creating moments of conversation with our kids has come pretty naturally for me, but lately I’ve had to curb my “teachable moments”, so our teenagers have a chance to figure things out on their own, and gain the confidence they need to succeed. We are consciously loosening the reigns, however, I still want them know they can come to me. So I brought back a technique I used when they were younger, and as a client recently shared, “.. this is changing my life! I can’t believe how much more positive my kids are now, I think they even whine less!”.
And why do you want to start developing conversation with your kids? Because tough situations are coming and it’s going to be so much easier if you have already been talking together, about more than what they had for lunch. (Keep reading for a free gift I want to offer you.)
A few weeks ago in the car (my favorite place to have a captive audience), instead of asking him to put his phone away, I asked my son if there are any women in the video games he was playing.
“Yeah”, he replied
“What are they doing?” I asked.
“They are just there”, he said.
I needed to know more but I usually get a 2 question max, unless the conversation interests him, and we were about to find out…
“What are they doing?” I asked, “Are the girls warriors in the game or what?”
“No”, he looked at me, “they are just standing around screaming.”
I was silent for a moment to process what my next words might be;
“So,” I said, “is that what girls really do in life? Stand and scream?”
“Sometimes”, he replied
“Really? How often?”
“Well, only if you’re cheering us on”, which he hates, so I laughed. (His sister, me, and his female friends are pretty much what he knows about women, so I figured he knew what girls do. Oh wait, there is also the T.V., print, sexy ads, video games, movies, random conversations overheard, music videos, internet videos, friends who are eager to share their ‘great knowledge’ ... and others which reflect negatively on the important role that women play in our families.)
“Are the girls in the game cheering you on?”
He pauses, “No.”
“What do people in the game say to the girls in the game?”
“So they are ignored, but annoying?”
Hmmm. At least he’s still listening.
I hope you can see where I’m going. It has long been my opinion that we must come to our own conclusions, so telling him what to think about this would be superficial, but when we have conversations, sometimes we grasp a bigger picture and deeper meaning.
I really wanted my son to have an awakening about the subconscious lessons his video game and our world are teaching his mind about the value of girls. I’ve learned that when we can talk things out like this, I don’t have to tell my kids what to do. Questions lead to answers because they truly do know right from wrong. This gives them the power to back up their knowledge, and practice how to process and ask their own questions to arrive at their most powerful thoughts and actions.
“Are there games where girls are treated badly?”
“Do you play those games?”
“No, they are ….”
(phew, I thought. That’s one good thing anyway)
So I sat, processing again and then it happened,
“Yes” :-) trying hard not to explode with joy because our conversation won over the game... which is NOT common.
“Why are you talking to me about all of this?” (Eureka!)
“Well, I guess I’m trying to figure out why certain behaviors are becoming okay, horrible behaviors like hurting girls.” I proceeded. “In the news lately, there have been a lot of stories about women being raped by men who either admitted they did it, or were found doing it and there has been no real jail time and little to no punishment. In one case, the judge, who is supposed to protect the victims and our society, said that he didn’t want to give the boy the 2 year jail time because he didn’t want to ruin his life. What do you think about that?”
He’s 13, so I get it, but understanding that our actions reflect our values is important (both the boy and the judge in this case).
The girl who was hurt can heal, but she might not.
I believe that the boy who admitted to hurting the girl, his victim, who he violated knowingly for his own pleasure, is going to need to realize that what he’s done is wrong and change directions. But he might not.
He might even need to stand up and declare to others that hurting women is the most cowardly of acts and help others to re-awaken to the feelings of others. When we are able to cross a line of dignity like that, it will take a concentrated daily effort to keep on the right path.
Overpowering another can feel like power but in the long run, it creates holes in our foundation, holes that we fall into for the rest of our lives. It’s the same case for yelling or hurting our children to make them obey our rules; if something does not give us self-confidence and clarity to be more, it leads us to being less.
What would your family life look like if you freely had conversations of value? It starts when they are young, so think twice next time you ask a 5 year old how many girlfriends or boyfriends they have. Words have meaning.
My son was obviously interested because I got to ask many questions that day. They want our direction, but they don’t want us to tell them what to think, that’s why asking questions is so powerful, at any age.
“How do you think the girl feels about the whole thing?”
“Do you think she’s okay with it?”
“Do you think his actions hurt her?”
“How do you think she feels around boys or in public?”
“She’s probably scared.”
“What about if she’s married, or wants to be one day? Do you think that one boy hurting her even one time, will affect how close she can be with the men who really love her?”
“Yeah, that’s not cool."
Then my son looks up at me and puts the phone down and with that I know we're done.
“So, do you think she thinks it’s okay for him to not serve a jail sentence?”
“No Mom, that’s really not lit (which means that’s really not good).” And he put his hand awkwardly on my shoulder, which meant everything to me. He knows I go a bit long-winded sometimes but kindness, gentleness and love is not just in some of us, it's in all of us.
This is how we raise a hero.
My son had previously not considered the emotional repercussions of rape, and without getting in to details, he now has some footing and no matter how numb the world tries to make him, he has this awakening in his foundation. I believe he is stronger for it and I'm glad that in conversations like these, I get a glimpse of the powerful and kind man he is becoming. Knowledge gives us the power to see what's going on, and when necessary, stop it.
Don’t be scared. Be available to mess up your words, come back to a conversation later if you feel like you said something wrong or forgot to include something important. This teaches our kids so many good life skills. Be sure to talk about the tough stuff so your kids know they don’t have to be perfect, and they can step up.
Are your kids still young? At any age, we can develop this type of conversation and NOW is the time, but not necessarily with topics such as this. You CAN do this, but you don't have to do this alone. I've created a free webinar that will help you and I really want to see you there!
It’s time to build the healthy family of your dreams, and a whole life of your choosing. I am offering you a FREE webinar I’m calling, “Clear Space For Happiness”, so you can get what you need. Included in your registration is a PDF download of my ”8 Confidence Builders To Create Conversation With Your Kids”, which lends perfectly for developing your conversation skills.
There are only TWO more webinars. Sign up now! Space is extremely limited (times are Central).
Holistic Mentor Mom and Family Living Coach
Hi, I’m Dr. Brookh Lyons and I offer high level mentoring and coaching, videos, classes, groups and support, all designed to help you succeed so that you can have a positive impact on your family, and feel more confident in your parenting skills (even if you work or volunteer a lot).
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