Filtered v. Free Speech
In our home, we filter our word choices in front of our kids, but sometimes on a hectic morning a mamma might slip. Since Monster #2’s favorite series of books is “I Survived,” the topics we talk about are unrestricted. Upon occasion they hear not-so-appropriate-words, and are introduced to things that they cannot fully understand, yet.
Four short years ago on December 14th, I vividly remember picking up my monsters and taking them ice skating. We ate ice cream for dinner and hugged each other a little tighter. As the parents of elementary age kids, we chose to shut off the tv, social media, the radio and shield them.
Over time, the filters have fallen away. The monsters spend more time away from us. Their first exposure to information or incidents are not easily manipulated. In our house it started with a simple truths, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy’s real identities revealed by friends. Then, a serious topic raised at summer camp, a recent nightclub shooting, which, like it or not, opened a flood of questions.
Responding when your kids hear and learn things before you talk to them
My husband and I take the path of full (age appropriate) honesty with the monsters. It comes with some responsibility on their part. They know it is not their job to inform their peers. They ask us whatever they want, and we answer, honestly. Yep, sometimes it is REALLY uncomfortable, for all of us!
Our family’s ‘awkward conversation’ approach
In our family, it feels like we do less talking in declarative sentences and more asking of questions. Not just any questions, but the kind of questions that require more then one word answers. One of my favorite lists is from Positive Parenting and covers ways to get them talking and how to keep the conversation going.
Connecting with our kids
My latest purchase, Just Between Us, is a journal for my daughter, Monster #1. It’s a super cute way to connect with her. The creative design is a back and forth, but with no rules and no stress. There are fun fill in the blanks and conversation prompts. So far, so good.
Monster #2 is not as easy to get sharing. He talks when he is good and ready to talk, and then it’s akin to opening floodgates.