Sharing how we are growing and changing can put us in a vulnerable position. But this growth and change is part of who we are, and it is really important that we keep our kids in the know on how we are changing.
Sometimes we mistakenly think that our children have figured out how we have changed. Even in big changes, parents often don’t bring their children in to show them how they have changed or what their current thinking is.
It think it’s important that as parents we communicate very openly with our children, even when it means sharing the uncomfortable times when we have to bring them in on where we were wrong.
It reveals that we don’t know everything
One of the best things you can give your children is the knowledge that you are still learning. That you are a growing, changing person. A person who sometimes makes good and wise decisions, and sometimes not. This realness is something that, ironically, we can have a more difficult time expressing to our children than anybody else.
It’s easy to mistakenly believe that if we let our children in on our failures and mistakes they will trust us less, but the opposite is true. When we share that we made a wrong decision or God has given us wisdom and we have changed in a specific area, it actually increases their trust, not the other way around.
And even when it is just a simple change of mind (not necessarily a poor decision that we are now fixing), explaining that to our children is really important. It’s okay to change our minds, but clue your kids in, okay? Nothing is more frustrating to a child than thinking something has changed because there are some obvious results of the change, but not being quite sure if it really has. Or not being free to talk about the change because you haven’t brought it up.
Whether the change is big or small, be open and talk about the things that are age appropriate. Children need to see that we don’t know everything and that we can change our minds. They also need to be first-hand witnesses that God is changing and molding us into new creatures. If you never share that change, they won’t know.
It models decision-making
One of the best ways to teach your children about how to make good decisions is to bring them in on some of your decision-making. This is true for little stuff and big stuff. When I’m in the grocery store, I often talk to my kids about the choices I am making. It’s just chatting, but of course it is modeling that actually there is thought put into what things go in my grocery cart.
On bigger things it is also important to talk through things with your children if they are old enough. Don’t just let them “overhear” conversations. Actually talk with them about what you are thinking. There is no better way for them to learn how to go about making decisions than to be included in some of your conversations and discussions.
It reminds them they change
I’m a people-pleaser so I sometimes have trouble telling people where I’m at especially if it is in an area that I know I am still processing and making decisions in. This, most recently, has come up in the area of education. I’ve been asked a lot lately which philosophy I am more closely leaning toward. I kind of hate that question, because I feel like my thoughts and philosophy are growing and changing constantly.
When it is appropriate, letting your children know of how your thinking isn’t nailed down in certain areas can be very comforting. Especially as they grow older and are trying to figure out their own thoughts it can be scary to think that you have to know everything about everything.
It also shows them that while some things change, there are a few things that are rock solid. God is God. The Bible is Truth.
Knowing that Mom and Dad are growing and changing people is a gift to children.
Obviously, you have to use discernment and wisdom when talking with your children. Don’t stress them out with information that is neither important for them to know, or that is too young for them. They don’t need to worry about life changes when they are 3. They just trust mom and dad to do the right thing.
You don’t want your children to worry that you are never on solid ground in life. That is the other extreme. But sharing with them that you have changes and questions in your mind in the midst of a home life that is secure and safe is a gift.
As they get older we need to discuss openly with our children. I’ve heard some adults say that they didn’t really know what their parents thought about certain things. Or, worse, they knew, but they have never known their parents to change about anything. If you are a growing Christian, you are changing. It may not be huge things (but no doubt there will be a few big things), but you should be changing.
Your children need to hear you talk about how you are changing and growing. Don’t let them miss out on this important part of yourself. You are not only withholding a little about yourself, but you are losing a golden opportunity to model life. Living means letting God grow and change us. Our children need to be firsthand witnesses.
Do you find it difficult to be open with changes with our children, or does it come easily?