In the average home, we find a lot of tools to keep those homes safe. We install alarm systems, multiple locks, and cameras in hopes to protect the ones we love. However, are we making our homes safe for our kids to face doubts and fears and ask hard questions? In other words, are you making your home a safe place for hard conversations?
Can your kids come into your house knowing that no matter what they do or say, you will love them? We want our kids to come to us on their best days and their worst. In order to create a safe home, we must create a culture of safety. Here are 5 ways to create a safe home for hard conversations.
1. Be prepared.
It’s one thing to say you want to be safe and it’s another to actually be safe. Prove it by how you interact in the everyday stuff of life and let your kids know they can come to you with anything. The best way to be prepared is to work out scenarios in your head and think about what you will do if… For example, “If my kids come to me with (fill in the blank), I will respond by (fill in the blank).” Thinking through potential scenarios is not being paranoid; it’s being prepared.
2. Use repetition.
When teaching and training our children, we must be good at repetition. If we want to provide a safe place for our kids to come to us for anything, we must practice repetition. When is the last time you told your kids that you want them to know that no matter what, they can talk to you about anything? Don’t just say it once; repeat it over and over. Keeping that bug in their ear tells your kids that you are safe and they can run to you on their worst and best days.
3. Resolve conflicts.Be willing to work through hard situations for healthy resolutions.
Too many adults in our world struggle to express their feelings because they were never allowed to do so growing up. That’s what happens when you’re raised by people who don’t do conflict resolution. So create a home where your kids know conflict is a normal part of relationships and that working through it is actually better than avoiding it. Create a home where the resolution of conflict is a priority. Be willing to work through hard situations for healthy resolutions.
4. Give your kids freedom.
You must have rules and regulations in your home along with consequences. These rules actually make your kids feel safe because it gives them parameters to work within. Freedom doesn’t mean chaos. Freedom means your children must know that they have the freedom to ask mom and dad anything and the freedom to wrestle with hard questions and doubts without being belittled for bringing up the subjects. If you shut down freedom, your kids will not come to you. If you say, “We don’t talk about that in this house,” you have put chains on all other conversations in the future.
5. Love with words and actions.
This is the most important. All parents would say they love their kids. Some are better with their words and actions than others, but we do love them. One of the greatest ways to cultivate safety in your home is for your kids to know that you love them no matter what. So show your love to them without attaching it to performance. Show your love to them without expecting anything in return.
Sound off: What have you done to make your home a safe place for hard conversations?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What things are hardest to talk to me about?”