How Does Your Transparency Help Your Kids?
When we expose the hard parts of our life to those who love us a richness grows in that relationship. Too bad it’s so hard to get to that point. Seth tells us how it is so valuable for us…especially as we interact with kids!
“Clothe yourselves, all of you with humility toward one another.” 1 Peter 5:5
It’s a cool experience when a wall is broken down in a relationship. Each summer at camp we see this happen both with campers and staff. My favorite person to watch break down a person’s barrier is my wife. She simply excels at question asking.
I have seen some of the most closed off kids and adults open up after a consistent and deliberate barrage of questions have broken down barriers and opened transparency.
But what are the questions that lead to transparency? And how can we make our homes places where authentic relationships thrive?
- We must model and practice humility by being transparent first if we desire our children to be transparent. We MUST be willing to answer ANY questions we ask. Too often we want vulnerability and transparency to happen, but we are unwilling to humble ourselves and actually participate in humility. It won’t take long for a child to stop answering questions, if they believe we are unwilling to answer completely and truthfully (obviously there are some exceptions to this, but we need to be cautious of how much we use these exceptions).
- Start by asking questions they want to answer. People generally like talking about what they like, so ask questions accordingly (especially in the beginning of growing or repairing a relationship). I still remember with fondness the time as a teen when my mother asked me about what my favorite band was and why I liked them so much. It still stands out as a time that as a hormonal teen I felt like my mom wanted to know me. Some of our favorite intro questions we ask are as follows: *If you could be great at any instrument, what would it be? *If you could be a pro at any sport, what would it be? *If you could be a character in any animated movie, who would you be? Why? These questions may seem silly, but they begin stretching the muscle of vulnerability other questions build on.
- Don’t be afraid of awkward questions, ask them. Our culture tends to train us to avoid taboo subjects. The reality is that these taboo questions are asked. Do we want them asked by us or by other people? We need to be willing to ask questions and build a culture where hard and awkward questions are asked. Sometimes building transparency includes allowing our children to defer answering a question or not answering a question, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ask them.
Transparency in a relationship must be grown, and as parents we can foster an environment where vulnerability happens and thrives.
Vulnerability is something that is important. What does it mean to be vulnerable with someone? Who is someone you can be vulnerable with?