My daughter had been begging for new glasses, after years of having issues with contact lenses. I finally caved in and took her to get them. She tried on a variety of styles and was clearly enamored with one pair that I thought looked too big for her face. So I told her so.
She wasn’t happy with my opinion. In fact, she was a bit irritated that I didn’t agree with her. I preferred the style she didn’t like at all, but I supported her decision to get the too-large-for-her-face glasses. She had to wear them and if she liked them, then that’s really all that mattered. She was excited about her new glasses but clearly wished I’d been more enthusiastic.
She knows I won’t ever lie to her.
Both of my teens know I’m always honest. Sometimes it makes for difficult conversations and occasional disappointments, but I always remind them that they can trust they’re getting the truth from me, no matter what. That’s what I think is most important.
I want my kids to know they will always get an honest answer when they come to me with questions about anything. I want them to have confidence that when they need my opinion on something that matters to them, that I will give them a truthful answer. While my commitment to honesty can cause hurt feelings like with my daughter’s glasses, they also know that I’m sincere when I offer my praise and support. They never have to question if I’m simply being nice because they know I always mean what I say. My kids deserve that respect.
When I know the truth will break their heart, I do my best to soothe their hurts with assurances that are honest, but gentle. It can take time for them to understand the truth, and that’s okay. I can take slow and steady steps to help them handle whatever the truth may be.
At this stage of the parenting game, my kids want authenticity, not placating platitudes.
They need me to be real with them so they can be real with me too. Because my kids know I’m always honest, they feel more comfortable being honest with me. I’ll take their true selves over fake facades any day. I want them to feel safe enough to give me their hard truths, even if it hurts, because I’d rather work through the hard stuff with them, than have them face it alone.
After we picked up my daughter’s glasses, I looked at her and smiled. She was beaming with pride and self-confidence. She looked adorable and I told her so. She replied, “Really mom? That makes me so happy!”
What I say matters. I realize this now more than ever with my kids and it reminds me to stay honest with them.
There’s power in honesty, especially when my kids need it most.
They will face so many difficult experiences where they’ll need a healthy dose of support and encouragement, and who better to give it to them than me? By creating a longstanding record of honesty, they will believe me when I tell them they are strong, resilient, and brave. They will believe me when I tell them I believe in them.