41. Building a Relationship of Trust With Your Kids

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“Do you feel like you can come to us and share your struggles honestly?”

We sat the girls down last week and asked them this question. I told them that someone had requested we do a podcast episode on building trust and open communication with your kids and we wanted to get their truthful opinion on whether they felt it was a topic we could tackle.

Four years ago, I was deep in the trenches of parenting for my own reputation. When a child was struggling or had made a bad choice, I approached it — unknowingly — from the perspective of, “What will make me look good as a parent?”

It’s hard to admit that out loud, but it’s true. I cared way more what people thought of ME than I cared about my kids’ hearts.

As a result of this, I wasn’t close with my kids. I didn’t truly know their hearts.

There wasn’t a trust relationship built up and they didn’t feel like they could honestly share how they felt — because I would probably snap at them if I felt like they weren’t approaching something maturely enough. (They’ve since told me this was how they felt.)

There was very little grace in my parenting and I carried around a heavy backpack full of guilt… for how I was failing, for the ways my kids weren’t living up to my expectations of them. All of this was rooted in my unhealthy prioritization of what others thought of me.

In turn, I became my kids’ critic, nit-picker, and Holy Spirit. I struggled to see the good because I was constantly frustrated by how they were falling short.

And every day, I was driving a bigger wedge between my kids and me.

This week on the podcast — with the girls’ blessing and lots of their input and suggestions (!) — we share what has changed in the way we approach parenting. We talk about practical ways we’ve fostered trust and good communication with our kids (most of the ideas we share are suggestions the girls gave — and they did not hold back in their thoughts and opinions on this!)

In This Episode: 

[00:57] – Jesse and I recap our travel adventures in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho — including our thoughts on Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Old Faithful.

[19:49] – Believe it or not, Jesse read more than me this past week! He shares the two books he recently finished.

[22:00] – Want your kids to keep reading over the summer? Check out this printable we created!

[23:41] – On this episode, we answer another one of our listener’s questions about establishing a trusting and open relationship with our kids. We talk about the importance of making time for one-on-one conversations, but not trying to force them. {Kathrynne’s advice!}

[29:19] – We also discuss how being willing to apologize and admit when we’re wrong can make such a difference. One thing that has made a big difference is us acknowledging with our kids that feelings are not wrong, but it’s how we act on those feelings.

[31:57] – Ask questions to open the doors of communication and listen rather than preach sermons! Step into your kid’s world and invite them to share in yours. Spend time doing things that your kids like to do!

[40:13] – We share ways we’ve let the kids make their own decisions in their lives, allowing us to build our trust.

Links and Resources:

Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: [email protected]

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