Mother/Child Communication

As a young girl I was fortunate enough to have a mother who talked things out with me. Rarely did I get the response “because I said so” when I asked my mother “why?”  She was interested in defining the bigger picture for me so I could understand the reason for things. To this day I am hugely interested in the “why’s” of life.  To that end, I now pass along the same kind of communication with my children. It drives my husband crazy. He comes from the type of family where the iron fists of parents rule and their’s is the last word. Perhaps that is why he is more disciplined than myself, but also (shhhh!) a tad more uptight as well. I digress.

Talking out the issues of life with my two girls has been always been a priority for me. While I’m not naive enough to think I know everything there is to know about my kids, I do feel pretty confident in our ability to speak with each other about many topics. Since my children are girls, currently ages 11 and 15, communication is KEY to making sure I’m doing everything I can to keep them on task and successful in their own way.

Years ago I started a process of journaling with oldest daughter by way of a notebook we passed back and forth to each other. If one of us had something to say, discuss or share, we wrote it down and then gave it to the other to write back. Remember those days of writing notes to your classmates with the signature line of “write back soon!” That’s exactly what we did. Many times those writings took place when my daughter had something to get off her mind – you know like a major crush that Susie has on Billy in the drama of the 6th grade classroom. Other times it was from me just wanting to tell her how proud I feel of her, not to worry about the first day in a new school, or sometimes to express my disappointment. You take the good with the bad and must we willing to talk about all of it without judgement.

It’s been a few years since my now-teenager and I have done this. But recently my younger daughter came to me and said she wanted to start writing back and forth to each other. The first journal entry she wrote to me was how someone was doing something to make her feel badly and how the day in school was not such a fun one. Having this kind of window into my child’s mind is just….FANTASTIC!! Imagine for just a moment how much better of an understanding we’d have of each other if we could share the concerns of our day, our dilemmas, our fears and insecurities, and of course the things that also make us feel good. As an adult, lost in the thought of my own issues, I can easily forget how important something is to my child because I look at her issues as something minor and fleeting. To a child…not so much. This is their current truth…their current reality…their current struggle. And it’s as important to them as my grown-up issues are to me. As a mom, I appreciate knowing what concerns she has and how I can help get her through it all in a way that makes her feel good.

Last night I mentioned to her that she had not written to me in a few days….which leads me to believe that all is pretty well in her world right now. Which also tells me we need to be writing that kind of stuff down so we’re not only focused on the drama, but on the appreciation of good days as well.

Does this process appeal to you? Could you start TODAY in improving the communication with your child through the power of writing?

I offered up a challenge to one of the most creative people I’ve met through the power of Twitter. I told Syda about the blog post I was planning to write and asked if she’d be interested in creating a few journals to pass along to any of my readers. I’m happy to say she took on the challenge with serious gusto and put together some beautiful options for all of us! I invite you to not only start this process of journaling with your child, but show a little love to Syda by purchasing one of her custom journals to start with. It would make me so happy to continue the circle of giving, communicating and sharing. The first three journals in her CafePress shop are covers specifically related to mother/child journaling  and you can find them right here. The second option is an absolutely beautiful handmade journal that can be found here. And…to make things a little sweeter for you, she is offering 10% off through St. Patrick’s day to all my readers. Just use the coupon code “findyourjoy” at checkout to receive your discount.  Sweet!

Should you decide to begin, I would absolutely love it if you’d come back here sometime and report to me how it’s going for you and your child(ren). Any new insights? Discoveries? Hurdles gotten over? Drama squelched? Share it all!

Once again…thank you for reading. You honor me with your time.

Kim

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mosabi on February 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    How cool! Not sure if my boys’d go for it, but I’m sure my daughter would jump all over this! thanks!

    Reply

    • You never know unless you try. Some of our greatest writers in history were once boys first. Imagine if they knew they had this kind of communication with you, their father. I think my life would be waaay different if I’d had this open forum with my own father. So…try before you decide it won’t work. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Posted by Andrea Lockert on February 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    We talked about this and I think this is a awesome idea. Johnna and I will be starting this when we get our journal from Syda. Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    • Yay!! I hope you and Johnna find benefit from it. And thank you for supporting Syda’s creations too Andrea. I’m thrilled she participated in this with me!!

      Reply

  3. My daughter is 26 and pregnant with her 2nd child. Strangely, I always felt like I communicated better with my two sons than with her and I’ve always wanted to find a way to remedy that. This might be just the thing…

    I think the problem with a journal I might have is that, I have such an easier time writing on the computer than free-hand. I go back and rework my thoughts and often what I end up writing is completely different from my original “scribbling.” So, I’m not sure I’ll do this via the traditional journal, but maybe an email-version of a journal… Still, I will look into the journals, perhaps as a way to record my own reflections of the communication between me and people I love.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

    • Yvette…I think anyway you open up the dialogue is perfect. Find what works for you and what you’ll stick with and go with it. For me, the cool thing about the book is it can be left on each other’s pillow. That’s what daughter and I do. 🙂 I scribble…scratch out…rewrite…and it’s all part of the process. Imagine the fun of having these journals around for all of time. 🙂 Thank you so very much for your comment!

      Reply

  4. Fabulous Kim! Thank you for including me and promoting m’ goods! Your challenge was a lot of fun and something that is still floating around my head.

    I pulled out a journal this past week, wrote a note in it for my daughter and left it on her bed. She promptly wrote a note back expressing her excitement about passing a journal back and forth. That evening she came out of her room and said, “Mom. The journal’s not on my bed.” I guess I’m not writing fast enough. LOL.

    Reply

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kim Jenkins, Kim Jenkins. Kim Jenkins said: Mother/Child Communication http://wp.me/pEGnJ-37 […]

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  6. […] post by gratefulkim var addthis_language = 'en'; Filed under Uncategorized ← Greeks now being […]

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  7. I love the Mother/Child journal idea! Not only is it helpful, instructive, encouraging and a great communication builder…it is FUN! Think I should try it with Valerie? I could write 5 pages at a time and she could reply to me with a single, incomplete sentence! HA! My Valerie is a lot of wonderful things, but she is a woman of very few words! The journals are really, really lovely! I need to ponder my possible application for this great idea! Thanks Honey! Love you!

    Reply

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