Kids say the darnedest things, don’t they? Things like: “The best things about penises is you can aim them”, my 6-year-old daughter’s random observation about the differences between boy and girl (ahem) parts.
What makes these simple observations about the world so wonderfully amazing is the truthfulness in them. Unlike adults who have learned the fine art of filtering, children speak their minds – whether we like it or not.
Children are the ultimate truth speakers. Their truths may not always be earth shattering, but they are usually spot-on. Like when a friend’s son said that the reason adults liked all that disgusting spicy food and strong coffee is because “they are old and their taste buds are all dead.” Probably true.
What happens when their truth speaking is aimed at us? What happens when it calls us out for good reason? What happens when they speak their truth when they say things like: “Why do you work so much? Can you please put away your iPhone? Why are you on the computer all the time?”
Listening to What Your Children Are Saying to You
#1: Listen…Carefully – It’s easy to miss the little gems of truth in all the chatter. If you don’t want to miss hearing the important stuff, listen. I mean really listen to what they are saying.
#2: Leave the Judgment Out – The temptation is to start judging (yourself or your child). Don’t! Leave your judgments out of it and just accept their truth as-is.
#3: Look for the Truth – Of course, children aren’t always accurate in their truths, but chances are they are headed in the right direction. Look for the truth behind what they are saying.
#4: Resist the Temptation to Explain – We both know that we can outmaneuver our kids in the logical reasoning and verbal department (and good for you). Resist the temptation to explain and justify your actions.
#5: Respond Truthfully – Take this opportunity to turn your actions into a teachable moment. Discuss how you can change or work together to come up with a compromise.
The hardest part of hearing the truth when it’s directed at you is the damage that it does to your ego. We always think of ourselves as the teachers of our children, neglecting to see how much they teach us.