Hear your kids out

If communication seems awkward with your kids, maybe it’s because they feel you’re too judgmental. Try using one of the following phrases when you feel a judgmental comment coming on:

• ”Tell me more about that.” Children who are invited to explain further feel that they are being heard.

• “You’ve sure had a difficult day.” While the two of you might not agree as to whose fault it is that the day was bad, you can find common ground in this statement.

• “I’m sorry you had to go through that.” This covers friendship issues, impossible tests, and missing the bus. It allows you to be sympathetic.

• “Is there any way I can help?” You may be able to think of three things you can do right off the bat, but they may not be the things your child needs.  

by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, winner of the General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association.                    

Take a look at At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home—read a sample issue.   We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out  monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Peace on earth begins at the kitchen table (part two)

Peace in the marriage: If the path to peace in oneself is spending some time in silence each day, the key to peace in a marriage is just the opposite—communication is vital. Spouses who talk well with each other will be effective co-leaders of their family and are more equipped to help the rest of the family communicate peacefully as well. The Handbook for Today’s Catholic Family (Liguori) recommends that married couples spend two hours a week in true dialogue. “My husband and I don’t spend anything close to two hours a week in real dialogue,” says Amy, mother of three school-age children. “But I do notice that when we take even 15 minutes to talk about anything beyond the immediate schedule—our future plans, or our faith, or something else that’s serious—I feel taken care of. And when I feel taken care of, I am better able to take care of our children. The whole family benefits when we talk more.”

 Peace in the family: “Pockets of peace” are most likely to occur when everyone in the family is present to the same event. Arguments are most likely to break out during times of transition—as some members of a family move from one activity to another. Building more small events into family life is one way of making room for peace. “We recently had a fire together on a Friday night,” says Anne, mother of three. “Everyone just enjoyed roasting marshmallows and talking outside. It was so simple—and everyone was so happy—as I was sitting there I wondered why we didn’t do more of this.”

 By Annemarie Scobey, from the archives of At Home with Our Faith newsletter.