Christmas story read aloud was truly one of the highlights of our year. I collected beautiful, amazing picture books that we read out of each afternoon during story time. Then as the kids got older, I began collecting story “collections” or “anthologies” to read short stories aloud at the dinner table, during unit studies, before bed, and while traveling by car. Still today we read aloud at least one Christmas story on family decorating night and one story on our family Christmas even—with all fifteen of us gathered around. We never tire of the same heart-warming stories year after year (though when the kids were younger and still at home, we did many, many different stories).
When you need to get things done might seem like a strange time to recommend as a talk time, but hear me out on this one.
Not long ago, my twenty-one year old son stopped by as I was cleaning vegetables. He said, “Oh, you’re cleaning veggies. Remember when we used to bring a big tub of fruits and vegetables into the living room and we three boys would gather around them and peel, slice, dice, stem, and “julienne” pounds of produce while you read out loud to us for hours.”
“I’ll never forget,” I replied, getting a little misty-eyed.
“I just don’t feel like I can tell you anything.”
“You judge everything I say.”
“I know you won’t want to listen to this.”
These are all phrases that our preteens, teens, and young adults might say to us—IF we do not open our hearts to them early and often, creating a safe place for them to talk to us.
A pivotal, crucial time to talk to our kids is when they need a safe place to talk.
In my 52 Times to Talk, I have recently been discussing the Recipe for Rebellion—and how you can talk to your kids to avoid those “ingredients” that lead to our children rebelling.
Rules Without Relationship is the final ingredient—and probably the most critical of all of the ingredients to avoid. (Of course, without relationship, we as parents have no desire or motivation to try to explain rules, listen to their appeals, or remain consistent in our parenting.) Relationship must be in place in order to keep our children from rebelling against us.
Quiet Questioning: Let Your Kids Question You Without Being Disrespectful
“Mom, that’s not fair!”
“Why can’t I…..”
“It’s her turn!”
One of the ways that our children begin the disrespect spiral is when we let them “talk back” to us. At first, this can be simply questioning us with a slightly raised voice. But before we know it, it can become full-fledged disrespect. And the more we allow it, the more it happens.
When you want to avoid rules without repetition….you need to repeat and be consistent!
Recipe for Rebellion
Rules Without Reasons
Rules Without Response
Rules Without Repetition
Rules Without Relationship
Our last couple of times to talk have been times in which we avoid the first two ingredients in The Recipe for Rebellion (Rules Without Reasons and Rules Without Response). In other words, they were talking to give reasons and talking (or not talking!) in order to allow a response.