You know that your kids are watching you, right? They are watching and learning from you how to communicate from the time they are little and well past the teen years into young adulthood.
Last week we finished up the series Knowing Your Strengths. We spent four episodes talking about what strengths are, how to discover your strengths, understanding your strengths, and how to use your strengths. You can listen to that conversation in episodes 71, 73, 73, and 74. That series then made me think a little more about how strengths tie into my life now and a recent situation. I needed to talk with one of my daughters and we needed to be able to speak face to face, eye to eye. So I sent a text to set up the meeting.
Your Kids Are Watching You
Before I tell you the whole story, you need to know that your kids are watching you. Maybe your child is two years old and pointing at everything while listening to you play the label game. As they get older they are watching how you handle the difficult situations and how you treat people. They pick up on even the little inconsistencies in your life. Your teens then think that what you allow for yourself is also ok for them.
The key observation here is that the words you choose are critical. How are your words going into the ears of the listener? Knowing your strengths helps you figure out how to navigate these circumstances. They are tools that give you the ability to communicate better.
See, I know my daughter and how she is best communicated with. I sent a text asking to get together to do something active and have a talk. I needed to have this conversation with my daughter. It was a hard conversation about heart issues. My heart issues!
Say It Like It Is… Or Not?
Maybe you think: I just say it like it is. In the mind, out the mouth. Well, that’s not always wise. We need to have some filters on our mouths. Some people need to warm up to what we have to say. Some people like to get right to the heart of the matter without all the chit chat. You need to know which kind of person you’re talking to.
Would my words draw conversation out of her or put up a wall? Inflection, tone, and directness all play into how the conversation could go. In the end, the conversation with my daughter was great, but that was because I was aware of the words I was using.
Shore Up the Relationship with Your Teen
If you have a teen, now is the perfect time to shore up your relationship with them. The dynamics and influence you have will change as they grow up and move out into the world. Set the foundation now! Your kids are watching how you respond to the daily challenges of your life. How do you handle conflict? How do you handle disruptions? Will your teen choose to model what they see in you? Will they invite you into their lives as young adults?
In our conversation, my daughter made the observation that I always need to be productive. That’s one of the strengths that I have in the striving domain. I am very productive. I don’t sit well and do nothing. She said to me that sometimes she just needed me to sit and be present with her. That hit me hard. She was watching. She picked up on a place in my life that I still wrestle with.
Productive But Present
A few things to ponder:
- It’s ok to be productive, but you have to be present.
- It’s ok to be out leading a group or a business, but you have to make sure you’re present for your kids.
- Make sure that you’re spending time in your purpose. Is this thing you’re doing the purpose to which God has called you?
- Be mindful.
- Watch your body language.
- Are you responding with kindness, love, and unconditionality?
- Are you encouraging others?
Every day brings new challenges and opportunities. As your children grow, so do you. Things are always changing and you may feel like you’re running out of time. My conversation with my daughter showed me the fruit of all of the all work and prayers I put in over the years.
In your productivity, stay present and actively engaged. Take time to speak in a way that your spouse, your kids, your coworkers, and others can hear.
- Knowing Your Strengths Part 1 – ETB #71
- Knowing Your Strengths Part 2 – ETB #72
- Knowing Your Strengths Part 3 – ETB #73
- Knowing Your Strengths Part 4 – ETB #74
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- Learn more about Connie’s book Parenting Beyond the Rules
- Learn more about the Equipped To Be podcast
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