Every parent wants their kid to come to us on their best day and their worst day. On their worst day, we want our kids to confess instead of conceal what is happening in their lives. This is easier said than done, but here are three keys to foster confession over concealment in your home.
1. Make Everything Discussable
In our home, we have several rules and boundaries. One of the rules we tell our kids often is that everything is discussable and nothing is off limits. We tell them, “If you want to talk about something, just ask us.” Doing this has led to some great conversations in our home. We also have a key phrase that we use when our kids want to talk but are unsure of how to start the conversation. Our key phrase is “pots and pans,” and when they come up and use the phrase, we ask when they want to talk. Making everything discussable can be scary, but worth every second to foster confession over concealment.
2. Model Vulnerability
My oldest son was really struggling with school last year and we were not sure he was going to move on to the next grade. In talking about working hard, I was reminded of a time in seventh grade when I was failing math. I shared with him how I felt so dumb and how my teacher made me feel small because I couldn’t figure it out. After sharing this with him, he told me that’s exactly how his teacher made him feel. Because I was vulnerable, he opened up and talked even more.
3. Build a Safe Home With Your Words
Your words create worlds for your children and what we say and how we say it matters deeply. If you consistently respond negatively when your kids mess up, you create a home where failure is not allowed. If your words are passive-aggressive towards conflict, then your children may begin to avoid conversations with you. To build a safe home with our words, we must take an inventory and evaluate how words foster a safe place for open conversation. A starting place is to ask yourself: Do your words connect more than they correct?
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Remind your family that God wants all His children to come to Him with an honest heart and that includes parents. Confession is a response to God’s incredible love for all of us and He is faithful when we turn to Him.
- Rate yourself: Do your words Connect more than they Correct?
- In what ways could you connect more with your (child)ren in order to create a safe space for confession?
- Do you model vulnerability and confession to your family?
- Is there a keyword or phrase you can adopt as a safe word to help promote conversation about a hard topic or confession?
Visit empoweredhomes.org for more great tips on healthy parenting.