Don’t Talk About Me! (Discussing Our Children With Others)

Don't Talk About Me!It’s amazing how our children cannot hear us when we’re standing right next to them, talking in their ear. But, somehow, through a noisy room, their ears perk up when mom mentions their name. They give us that look, and we know what it means. “Is this good or bad?” Perhaps, it might even be, “Please, don’t talk about me.”

Truth be told, we all have hard days. Whether it be a struggle with parenting or a homeschooling concern we’re dealing with, some days are just plain difficult. Maybe it isn’t just days. It might be weeks or months. When we finally have an opportunity to fellowship with friends, we let it all out. It felt so good to get that off our chest. It felt good to us. But what about those little ears listening across the room?

Understanding the Boundaries of Family – Are there things we’d prefer not be discussed outside the family? Maybe my husband only wants certain issues shared with him, and we can tackle these concerns together. Before I go to the “village”, I need to understand what is permissible to share and what is best left at home.

Understanding My Children’s Boundaries – If we enjoy our privacy, shouldn’t we afford our children a little of their own? I don’t wish to damage the relationship I have with my kids by over-sharing struggles they are currently working through. Openly discussing a learning disability with anyone and everyone might put a damper on that or cause them shame. I want to be selective about when and with whom I share.

Being in Prayer – Am I looking for help or an outlet for my frustration? Before I open my mouth, I need to pray about what’s going to come out of it.

Being Selective – There is such a thing as TMI. I can get help with a learning disability or character development without explaining every detail of my child’s issues. I want to leave them with some dignity. It might be enough to simply explain we’re dealing with lying, and ask for prayer.

On this note… Being a blogger, and having a minor presence on social media, I should also point out our need for being selective online. My kids read my blog – crazy, I know – they see what I post and how I address each issue. Generally, I don’t discuss matters which are personal to them and never that which would cause them shame. This goes for ALL medium.

Being Gentle & Kind – How I speak will determine how people see my children, and my parenting. Will I leave them with the understanding we’re not perfect, but genuinely seeking the Lord’s will, or an angry mama who can’t stand her kids? I might be frustrated now, but ten minutes from now regret the words I spoke. Gentleness will prevent harsh words.

Being Positive – This isn’t an opportunity to trash talk the kids. (Even if you’re positive they’re being ridiculous.) If we need help, I definitely should speak with a councilor or close friend. However, this isn’t time to complain. It’s time to get answers and be honest with where we might need improvement.

May the mediations of my heart be pleasing to the Lord, and the words of my mouth be edifying to the hearer. May I speak from a humble heart and listen with the intent to grow. And may my children learn God’s love towards others by how I love them.

I need to remember little eyes are watching. If I’m not careful, our children will pick up bad habits and begin to repeat my mistakes. And, really, what parent wants to hear their child trash talk them?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
~ Ephesians 4:29

Your Turn!: Here’s a question… Do you feel comfortable sharing photos of your children online?

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This is an A-B Conversation

I think it’s part of our human nature to be aware of our surroundings. We pick up on the sights, the smells, the atmosphere, and, mostly, the sounds. When we hear someone asking a question, we tend to want to answer it. When we notice someone is lost, we want to help. While these are generally good qualities, we also need to gauge when is the right time to speak and when we need to remain silent.

Our kids tend to struggle in this area. They walk into our room, hear us in the middle of a conversation and immediately want to know what we’re talking about. Truthfully, I’m sure their desire is to merely participate in the conversation and we understand this. However, there is still a valuable lesson to be learned. Not every conversation is meant for them to overhear and they do not need to participate in every conversation we have.

As our children mature, we’re trying to teach them the art of conversation. While we stress the ability to listen well, think before speaking, and speaking in the right manner, we also want to impart the wisdom to know when they have no part in the discussion at hand and should quietly walk away (or at least remain silent until the conversation is over).

As adults, we try to model this for our children. Our children observe our behavior when in larger groups, watching how we choose to speak and decide to refrain. They see us patiently wait for someone else’s discussion to finish before beginning our own or are asked to join in another. We train our children by not allowing them to be a part of every conversation we have, helping them understand this is a private discussion which they are not a part of.

While I’m sure this must be slightly frustrating to our children – I can’t think of a single person who likes being cut out of a conversation – I think this is an important lesson for them. Not everyone appreciates their discussions being interrupted, especially when the exchange was meant to be private. Every dialogue is not necessarily meant to include all those standing around. Until you are asked to be involved or it is obvious all are welcome, it is probably best to remain still.

Time to Chime In: (See, I’m asking you to talk! – laughing) Do your children tend to interrupt adult conversation, attempting to participate? What steps have you taken to help your children determine when it is acceptable to join in?

Say, ‘What’?

I was sitting on the couch tucked off the main room. I was relaxing, while nursing my youngest and watching my oldest happily play with whatever toys happened to be at her disposal. That is when it happened, a seemingly insignificant phrase changed my thinking forever.

Up until that moment, I don’t know that I had ever thought much about the word “what”. It is a common word in the English language and, just as commonly, a response to an unheard question. It wasn’t until I happened to overhear a conversation take place between a few of my husband’s aunts that a new idea struck me. Perhaps I had been using this one, simple word incorrectly for a good portion of my youth.

Being of a different generation, I had never thought to analyse the word “what” before. It seemed I might need to spend a few moments thinking this over and organizing my plan of attack.

It seems the great debate lies in how we respond to adults or other people in authority. When someone calls our name, we yell out, “WHAT?!” Ouch! There in lies the rub….

To older generations of people, this response comes across as disrespectful and rude. We are not to respond with a callous shout, but to calmly say, “Yes, mom?” (Or whichever phrase appropriately applies.)

Hmmm… You mean for years I had been disrespecting people and I didn’t know it? (gasp) Now I felt badly. From that moment on, I made a point of putting that phrase behind me and choosing a better one instead.

It isn’t that the word “what” is bad, in and of itself, but if my choice of words comes across as disrespectful, I want to make a point in picking better ones. In this case, that seemed to be the case.

Some might argue that this is completely subjective and they would be correct. This might not be a problem for a vast majority of people. In our family, however, this seems to be a point of contention. Always willing to learn and always wanting to please, I knew this needed to be learned in our home.

So, as our children grow, this is a lesson for them as well. When someone asks them a question, they are supposed to respond with an appropriate answer, not by yelling, “WHAT?” across the house.

Personally, I’m glad I happened to overhear the conversation. It made a change for the better in my own life and in the lives of my children. While I understand this might not be a moral issue, this does further the relationships of those in our family and helps us all understand the importance of being respectful to others.

Do you have a preferred response when you call your children?

“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” – Leviticus 19:32

The Conversation

Faerie NotesIt seems such a lost art these days; letter writing. We text, we email, we IM, and we Facebook; we don’t really take the time to compose a meaningful letter though, do we?

Now that school has begun and we are back to our regular routine, the creative writing project is in full swing! Every few days, I don my alter ego and write a slew of letters to the other characters.

Through our letters to each other, we are learning to be creative and imaginative. We are exploring each other’s worlds and having an adventure on paper.

I have not demanded that my children write at certain intervals, as I was afraid that this might hinder them from wanting to write. I did, however, suggest that at least one note be written per week. Note

What has surprised me the most is that I don’t have to constantly remind them to write their one letter, but rather they are complaining that don’t respond fast enough! I can compose my notes, place them in their mailboxes, and by the next morning another stack of notes awaits me!

Talk about being inspired! My children are constantly hunting up ideas to write on, questions to ask, and thoughtful insights into my character’s problems. They are eager to sit down and respond to whatever thoughts I might have had in return.

Note2This has been the best and most efficient form of encouraging our children to explore creative writing. To see their joyful faces when they have mail and their giggles when they leave it, has brought me much happiness.

Now… I had better go check my box and get busy. I am afraid I have been a little negligent. Who knew this might become a full time job?

Do you like to receive mail? What is the most memorable letter you ever received?