Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lines of Communication (and a $200 Visa gift card)

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Sprint.

When BlogHer contacted me to offer one of my readers a $200 Visa gift card, I was tickled pink to be able to offer such a fantastic prize!

It turns out they are dying to know how parents keep the lines of communication open with their kids as they gain more independence and freedom in their teen years.

And it turns out that I am in that situation, right here, right now, because my two oldest, a 14 year old girl and a 12 year old boy have more opportunities than ever before to attend all manner of activities with the youth group at church.

It seems there is an activity for every night of the week, and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with providing those activities, but we choose to be very selective in which activities we allow.

Which brings me to the first way we keep communication flowing at our house:
  1. Spend time together. We eat dinner together, all 9 of us, at our dining room table, with the television OFF most nights without fail. We try not to let anything interfere with this routine and our children know how important this time together is to us.

  2. Spend time together - alone. My golf pro husband takes one of the children (age 9 and up) with him each time he goes out of town to play in a golf tournament. They get to spend 3 days together with no one competing for the attention of the other. I also try to do this on a smaller scale. Whenever I can, I will take only one of the kids with me for something as simple as a bank run, or a special event like a Pampered Chef party or a baby shower .

  3. Listen and share. I like to listen to my kids tell me stories about what happened at church camp or at homeschool co-op or in Bible class. In turn, these stories almost always lead to them asking me if those things ever happened to me when I was a kid. They love to hear about the time I saved my lunch money every day for a week in third grade so I could skip the bus, walk to the candy store, and eat all the candy I could buy before I got home to pretend that I had ridden the bus like a good little girl. Their favorite part is how I got into BIG trouble when my mother got wind of the whole scheme.

And NOW is your chance to win a $200 Visa gift card.

To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me how you keep the lines of communication open with your kids as they grow older and gain more freedom - or you may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. (Check out below how to be entered more than once.)

The contest will begin at 9:00 a.m. (PST) August 10, 2009 and will end 5:00 p.m. (PST) September 4, 2009.. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.

Rules:

* No duplicate comments.
* You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
* You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
* This giveaway is open to US-residents, 18 and over.
* Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
* You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
* Please see the official rules here: Official Rules

Check out how other BlogHer Reviewers keep lines of communication open with their growing kids - you've got 8 other chances to win a $200 Visa gift card!

Find more info for keeping in touch with your kids here.

216 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 216   Newer›   Newest»
Night Owl Mama said...

I have a 19 yr old son and the older he gets the harder it gets. I buy tickets for him and I to go to baseball games together and set lunch dates for him and I. HE has 3 much younger siblings and its hard for me to find time as well as he is always busy with work, school, girlfriend. I used to make it mandatory for him to stay home or be home for dinner but his work and school schedule makes that impossible. SO setting appointments and time together is the best thing we got.

Jamie said...

My oldest is only 4 and hasn't started school yet, so it isn't hard to communicate with her. She talks a lot!

Anne said...

My oldest is almost 4 also, but I plan to try to get involved in his (and my other children's) lives knowing where they spend their time, w/ whom and such! my parents never let me out of the house (so to speak) and that worked!

Jeni said...

I don't have teenagers yet, but I've given this some thought. I think the easiest way to keep the lines of communication open is with practice. I plan to have regular, no-stress "dates" with my kids - just fun stuff, maybe lunch out & some shopping, and some chatting.

Phillips Family said...

I don't have teenagers yet, but a good way to keep communication lines open with older kids it to make a family notebook. Have a plain notebook out that family members can write notes back and forth to each other (not info notes such as "soccer at 3pm" but more affectionate notes). This provides a safe place for tweens and teens to be open without having to do it face to face.

Amber said...

My guys are 13, 15, 16. WE usually talk when we are in the car. I know if something is bothering one of them because he will usually say, Can we go for a walk? just me and you? I know to drop everything and go. The best way is usually their way. They want you to know, they just need to tell you their way. My guys come to me with everything, unless its money! that is their dads speciality….I also utilize myspace and facebook to see how they are feeling and follow up on it.

amber122774@yahoo.com

auntrene said...

I don't have biological children. But I do have a young man who is like a son to me.. His mom unfortunately left when he was 4 and has never been a part of his life. I met his family when he was 13 and his older brother worked with me.
He is now almost 20.. He honestly like a son to me.. calls me mom.
The biggest way I tend to keep in communication with him is I don't wait for him to call me. I call him. He calls,& texts me. We have dinner once a week. He stops to visit me and my mom (grandma) at least once a week usually a lot more.
He taught me to text.. I am trying to convince him to try Twitter.. hehe..
Thanks for the chance
itsjustmerene2003 at yahoo dot com

Laura said...

what a fantastic idea! and great giveaway!!

my kids are still pretty little, but we are trying to set the standards for communication now. i'm not naturally an empathetic person, so i am working very hard to *listen* before i jump in with my opinions/rules/corrections. i figure if they don't feel loved and understood (and therefore safe in sharing & feeling with me) as littles, they definitely won't feel it as they get older. "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (I John 3:18) kyrie24 at gmail dot com

Amanda said...

For now, our line of communication consists of crying, whining, smiling, screatching, and giggling. I have a 7 month old. I do try to remain patient with him when he's trying to communicate he's upset, hoping that will foster a trust between us.

Does that count?

MamaFox said...

I only have a 19 month old right now but my husband and I are already trying to open the lines of communication with him. I tell my son about what the day holds, what is going on, stories from my past, etc. I also talk to him about Jesus and who He is. I believe that if we start talking to him now about different things; he will be able to trust as as he gets older. Then when he is faced with peer pressure or just needs to share his feelings he will be able to trust us.

Noel said...

Hi Smockety, I blogged about this today and linked to your blog. I really appreciate you bringing up this topic as it is a topic close to my heart. Each child's personality causes me to handle each one differently and to communicate with them in a unique way. It's alot of work, but well worth the effort. Our children are so precious - I look forward to seeing the adults they will become :)

Kara said...

What an exciting give away! We spend as much family time together as possible. EVen though mine aren't quite to the teenage years, I'm amazed by how much pressure they already face. I try to have alone time with each one and my husband does too. We do a lot of talking at dinner time about our days and anything that is bothering anyone.

Jerri said...

I don't have teens yet, but my nieces are. I try and communicate with them by just talking to them like the near adults they are. I try not to talk down, I respect their opinion and I try to hear what they mean not just what they say. With my boys I ask questions and encourage them to talk about what has been going on with them. The big thing to me is simply when they speak listen to them.

jlarsonrn said...

My kids are 7, 4, 2, and 14 months so I'm still in the little kid stage. But I'm keeping the lines of communication open NOW so when they're older the lines will stay open. When one of the kids comes to me with a story about what they did on their "silly" video game or what they saw on their favorite TV show I listen. I (try to) stop what I'm doing and look them in the eye and listen.
We also take the kids on outings. I grocery shop on Sunday afternoons usually by myself. Once or twice a month I'll take one of the older kids.

Texas said...

We talk about some of the difficult things (Sex, menstrating) in the car. that way she doesn't have to look at me, and we have distractions to make it less difficult. I always tell her if she has more questions, to ask after she's had time to think about it. And she usually does - in the car!

Shanna said...

I have a standing lunch date with my son every Sunday afternoon. He is learning to drive right now, so we go driving and stop to have lunch. This gives us some time alone, as our 4yo seems to occupy most of my time otherwise. Sundays are basically our swap days, Daddy gets the 4yo, I spend the day with the 16yo. I also poke my head in his room each night before I head to bed and talk with him a few minutes.

Sherilyn said...

My children aren't quite to that age, yet, but it is coming up soon! I really love what my dear mom-in-love did with her three boys through their teen years: she started staying up late, often very late, to be around when they were winding down from their day. Teens often like to keep late hours, and she found that those 1 am chats were some of the best times for open, honest communication.

Becca said...

My children are all grown, the youngest is a junior in college. we have always spent "special alone time" with each of our children. For example: our middle child loves to watch ER when she was in high school. That became our time, the younger children had to go to bed and the oldest could stay out until 10 or be in her room. This helped to build closeness with each of the kids. They still talk about their private time with Mom and Dad.

Mrs. Pear said...

My oldest is 4, so she pretty much just launches out there and tells you whatever is on her mind. Asking her what her name is can result in a 5 minute monologue! (Hey, it's your own fault, you asked!) But I remind myself when she is going non stop that if I want this to be the way it is, I have to listen now too! So I listen to her little stories and what she has to tell me and smile.

Although I do have to say that winning this would be great. It is time to find quilt fabric for Baby's big girl bed so it is ready when she is 2ish - the age her big sister faulted out of her crib and face planted on the floor, so that is what I would use the card for.

Anonymous said...

In the past we have done many things individually with our three children. My husband has always done camping trips with just he and my son or he and the girls as well as taking them individually to do different activities such as movies, pedicures, just one on one outings to the store....things like that. My husband/son enjoy spending time working on projects in the garage, changing the oil in the car...and other activities. However, my 12 year old son has just entered the youth group at church and it has been an incredibly busy summer! As of this time he has only been home for two weeks TOTAL all summer! Between various camps, mission trips and trips with friends it has been challenging to spend time with him. However, this past week he and I spent an amazing week together on our middle school mission trip where we learned all about the power of serving and how serving starts at home and never stops! He (&I) both re-learned how important it is to spend quality time together and not let all the "stuff" interfere! Not that we haven't done that before but now we are doing it with even more "intentionality" than before. He has even made plans for things for our family to do together. He appreciates even more the hard work that is involved in making a family run smoothly and has even asked if it would be "ok" for him to cook one meal every week all by himself! "OK????" "OF COURSE!!!!" was my response! PLEASE feel FREE to cook a meal! It is so easy to let even "good" activities take over so being very intentional about the quality time we spend with our children becomes even more important the older and more active they become.
ellen@thetemplers.com

Anonymous said...

We also have family supper with as many of the family as can be there. When the others come in late (or eat earlier), I sit with them and visit while they eat. Breakfast is also a part of the process but we aren't nearly as faithful with that meal.
Once they leave home, the weekly Sunday evening phone call helps keep us in touch.

Mama Martin
jdkrmar*at*telus.net

ERK said...

My kids are still young (7,5,&1), but I am trying to not do anything that would could hurt our communication early. If I have an errand to run on a Saturday or Sunday, I try to take one child with me and talk to them. I try to always ask them about what they did when they have gone somewhere and if they liked it or did not like it and why. I try to listen when I can tell they are telling me something important.

~Brenda said...

I have a 19, 17, and 13 year old. The two older ones have a phone, and I know where they are at all times. The youngest is usually with me, but he also has a pay as you go phone, in case he heads to the park down the street for a bit. We also call family meetings anytime we feel things are getting out of hand. And we try and have dinner together as often as possible. Not hard with the youngest. Little harder with work schedules conflicting with the odler two.

Great giveaway!! :-))

I will RT you on twitter.

~Brenda

~Brenda said...

And my email addy is Tuppermom77@yahoo.com. That's on my blog, but maybe you wanted me to leave it here too. :-)

~Brenda

amygcb said...

My kids are 4 and 7 but we do a lot of talking to keep on everyday things especially with school starting. My oldest has had 4 years of speech therapy so I've learned a lot of how to change communication skills as he got older and talked more and more clearly. There was a time when our communication was non-verbal. My other child is a daughter and that is a whole other realm of changing communication skills :). I have found that down time after school is a good thing and sometimes it takes several hours for the lines of communication to open up but that it is always important to get them to open up somehow--even if it means switching up parent duty and trying the daddy approach v. the mommy tactics.

KarenW said...

My children are 18, 16 and 11. We have been communicating with them their entire lives. I believe that the lines must be open early and often. Spending LOTS of time together is immensely important too.

KarenW said...

I posted on Twitter http://twitter.com/1KarenW/status/3253236293

Anonymous said...

my daughter is 11 and so far things are good. she knows that she can always come to me about anything. I know as she gets older, communication between use may be harder. I pray. As a mom and homeschool mom, I trust in what
God says.
As a family we sit down at the dinner table every nite and we
talk about our day.It is very important to take time.
I also posted a link on my twitter page http://twitter.com/kerleyfamily

coolteacherof3@yahoo.com

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Well, most of mine are still learning to communicate their potty needs, but... I try to ask the older kids to give me their "happy" for the day. Sometimes I ask for their "sad," too. Car time, even when we're all in the car, is nice because they're strapped down and I control the stereo. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love to spend time engaging in conversation with my 5 year old
( I also have a 4 and 1 year old) about what she is learning in school. It is so great to see the little seeds of knowledge budding and her perspective and perception of the world around her expanding and changing on a daily basis. We also love to do fun projects together and always eat breakfast together as a family. - Ruth
abe7ruth@yahoo.com

The Fifes said...

My son is 2 1/2 and i'm 9 months pregnant. :) I love this stage of learning to communicate because he's so quick to repeat and learn phrases. I love talking with him and telling him stories and checking to make sure he's okay when he's fallen or if he needs help with something. But i love that he's getting old enough that i don't have to be right by his side. I loved talking to my mother growing up, and trusted her completely. I could tell her anything. I want to do the same for my kids.

Skinny Minnie said...

well I have to make sure the my 13 y.o. keeps his phone charged up ! Other than that he stays pretty connected :)

www.icoulduseadeal.blogspot.com
ck out my blog I'm trying to build subscribers :)

jtrophy at aol dot com

Mom of a Maiden said...

I *try* to stop what I am doing and give attention to my child. My dh is excellent at this, I need to work at this more!



the warm fuzzies at att dot net

Anonymous said...

We eat dinner together every night and do a lot of note leaving. It varies child to child and year to year!
cathycomm@aol.com

heather@it'stwinsanity said...

My oldest is only 6 right now, but I am blessed that he talks to me a lot and trusts in me completely. He's getting ready to enter that scary age when talking to mom won't be "cool" but I'm hoping that the foundation we've laid now will get us through. If nothing else, he knows I'll always look to him as the oldest of our crew of 6 kids and that I was the oldest sibling too, so I get it. My other kids are all so little that we are still working on talking and such... Baby steps!

Anne Alagna said...

My two oldest kids, 18 and 16 tend to email and text me more than anything. The 18 yo, understandably because she no longer lives at home. The 16 yo, however, will sit in her room right across the hall from me and either email or text me, prompting me to walk across the hall and ask if she is glued to the floor or if she lost her voice. But at this point, I am just so glad that there is still communication.

--Arnnette said...

Whoo Hoo, We could really use that.Yours mine and ours we have 10 kids. From ages 20, next month, to 4 years old.
I have always been open with my kids. I don't beat around the bush. if I don't know the answer I tell my kids I don't know the answer but I will find out. Kids are smart, they know when your lying or afraid to answer the questions. Therefore if you cannot be straight with your kids, how will they be straight with you? I will say, my boys asked me, what a condom is for and questions on their puberity. Which by the way dad gives limited information, I'm straight and forward and even show them details of the anatomy on medical md website.
We probably have a open relationship because we do things as a family, we try to have family home evening once a week, and most importantly pray together as a family.
Whoa, that was alot.
Ciao for now and thank you.

Suz said...

My son is four and so far is an easy communicator. We always eat dinner together at the table and try to talk about our days and what is coming tomorrow.

I hope to keep that time special even as we get busier with more activities as he grows up!

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

We have been having "dates" with our kids as one-on-one time. Everyone (kids and parents alike) has come to love these times, and it is great time for us to really connect with one another.

heidiannie said...

Wow- you have a lot of comments- so I'm going to make mine short. Openness to whatever they have to say and however they want to say it has always been important for me.
They are grown and out of the house now and they still want to talk- so I must have done something right!
My niece bought me a cell phone and pays for my usage because she wants to keep in touch from wherever she is deployed in the Navy.

Kathy said...

My children are 13, 11, 9, 3 and 1. lately everything has felt like a struggle. We have had several deaths in the family, and drama after drama. We are all tempted to go off on our own and sulk but I keep us together. I am amazed at how much fun we have together and the inside jokes we share. I hope this pattern sticks with us :)

Leah said...

One of the ways I keep open communication with my 14 year old daughter, is a "pass it back notebook". We take turns writing in it and giving it back and forth. It works for us. :)

Susan said...

Bedtime talks! I like to sit on my kids' beds before they go to sleep, as that's the time they seem most likely to talk freely (plus the enjoy the one-on-one attention). Thanks for a wonderful giveaway!

jane said...

My boys are 15 & 11. I find that being available, not over scheduling my life or theirs helps with communication. It gives them opportunity when they need to.
jama@gondtc.com

crys said...

my son is almost 17 and will ALWAYS answer with a text message. he rarely answers his phone to talk. he prefers clothes shopping with me and that really opens up the communication line. i just try to be patient and let him open up to me.

Aubrey said...

We are still learning to communicate without wailing out our needs and frustrations (and by we, I mean my kids AND me!) Since mine are all still very young, they are still willing to share anything with me if I will just listen. I take a few moments out of each day, usually as I tuck them in for nap or bed time, and give each child some special quiet time with Mommy where they tell me all kinds of things. It is a sweet time.

workathomeunited1 said...

I enjoy spending the extra time at bedtime to read a story and/or talk with my kids alone. I always have read to them at bedtime but it wasnt until recently when my older one was not as interested in me reading a story the I learned this is a great time to just chat and have some alone time. Thank you for such a great give away!
Amanda
workathomeunited1@yahoo.com

Mrs. Querido said...

My oldest is only 7 yrs old, but I find that it is easy to get busy around the house and forget that he likes to talk to me. So the advice that I am taking myself...stop, listen and have a conversation with him. Even if it is only about the latest VeggieTales video :), the fact that he knows I love him and value time with him is what is important.

Mindy May said...

My son is 6 and we just discuss everything together and we constantly work together. If I am making dinner he is either helping or setting the table. In the car we sing our favorite songs. We go to church. We are actively involved in each others lives. Right now that works for us but I am sure as he gets older I will have to look for other ways to keep myself involved.

taradon said...

My kids are all still young, but I worry about how I will keep communicating as they get older. I've enjoyed reading the tips on the other comments!

brightleigh said...

I have a 3 year old, and we make it known to him that we can talk about anything and everything. We want him to be comfortable in coming to us to talk.

robandleighbright@suddenlink.net
Leigh

Shari said...

We do not have teens yet, but we do all we can to keep communication lines open. We do special one-on-one date nights with each child, we spend each night together at the dinner table talking and give the kids chances to speak their hearts, we do our devotions as a family and they can speak their hearts then, too. And we encourage them to come to us whenever they want to. I would love to win, but only the Lord knows.

slfunk3763 at hotmail dot com

I am putting a link from my blog to here as well.

Shari said...

Here is the link that shows I blogged about it, too for another entry.

http://sharisphotostories.blogspot.com/2009/08/give-way.html

karen b said...

interesting question, connie; i've enjoyed reading all the comments from moms with kids of all different ages. mine are 14 and 12 (like yours); the 14yo daughter and i spend a lot of time in the car now going to all her activities and that seems to be the place where she's most comfortable talking, probably because it's the only time that it's just the two of us; 12yo son and i usually get caught up with each other right after school while he has a snack at the kitchen table; i work as a substitute teacher at both their schools, so sometimes i can ask them about specific situations i observed at school to get the ball rolling...

bindhiya said...

I have a 3 year old and a 7 month old. She is a good talker and i always encourage her to talk to me.

Nita said...

As my kids have grown up and left home, staying in touch has become harder. They lead busy lives filled with technology. I have had to get a cell phone and learn to text. We also use email and IM to stay in touch.

Jill said...

I have three little girls who talk and talk and talk. They yell "Mommy!" so many times to get my attention, that I have started to yell back, "Stop 'Mommying' me!"

I am not a good listener, but they need to be listened to. So I learned to crochet.

Sound strange? Maybe, but it works. Crocheting makes my hands busy, so I can't do something else that requires me to walk away while my kids are talking. They are interested in my project (because it's usually something for them), and I am more able to be calm and attentive to what they are saying.

There was a review recently in a medical journal that said people who do things with their hands (like crocheting, knitting and sewing) are less likely to be depressed or lose cognitive function (a big fear for me, because several older members of my family suffer from this). Crocheting has a hypnotizing effect for me. It makes me calm, and it improves my ability to listen.

So what if I'm sitting next to the pool covered in sock yarn in the middle of a Georgia August. At least I'm listening.

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

I find that working with my kids allows them to open up to me. We often cook dinner or tackle other projects together. There is something about having your hands busy that gets that mouth going.

We also make the effort to spend some time alone with each of our children, whether it is heading to the grocery store or talking a walk around the neighborhood.

Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

Tweeted! http://twitter.com/RaisingOlives/status/3270559154

Sharon said...

I try to be available to them. My 14yo is starting high school this year and my 11 yo is heading to jr. high. I'm sure they will both be extremely busy, so I'm looking forward to the time we will be together in the car. I do need to do better at really listening and not just hearing.

Dwalline said...

Its really had lately to keep the lines of communication open lately with my step DD and she is only 8. We only get her weekends and one afternoon a week and I work a 12 hour shift on saturdays so I hardly get to see her anymore which fustrates me. I usually try to get her to do crafts when i do see her and we talk about what she has been up to

Dwalline said...

http://twitter.com/dwalline/statuses/3270644465

Cardamom said...

Great topic, and awesome giveaway!

We are together most of the time, so the opportunity is always there as we go through our days. However, with little ones' needs, it can be difficult. So we have a few things that work for us:

My husband and I try, whenever possible, to take just one child with us whenever we go somewhere. We live 20 minutes from most places, so that's at least 40 minutes of talk time while driving.

We also have "their day" where it is scheduled that instead of reading in their beds before bedtime, they hang out with Mom and Dad once a week. Doesn't always work out but we keep trying! Whenever they ask for a chat time we try to set aside a little time as soon as possible.

My husband has found that fishing (with children who already know how to fish!) is another great way to foster some deep communication.

Mom said...

My kids are adults, now, with kids of their own, but we still talk on the phone daily.

Cardamom said...

I tweeted, too, but I can't figure out how to put a direct link to that particular link...

Eos Mom said...

My son is only 4, but I think I've already started on the path to communication (I hope I have!). If there's something on his tv shows I don't like (and that's sometimes the case, even on Noggin), I'll ask what he thinks about the bossy girl or the boy telling a lie and try to communicate our values. And of course with a preschooler it's all about getting his attention and getting down to eye level.

Meagan said...

My oldest is four, but I know from my highschool year that the best wayt o keep up with it all is to make the home atmosphere the home that all the other kids want to come to. Unfortunately that means that we also have to provide all the extra food and drinks among other things but the conversations that are overheard are classic and very insightful for parents.

Heather said...

My 11yo daughter and I have a secret notebook where we keep an ongoing dialogue. We write in it as we can, asking eachother questions, encouraging, and just being open.

Kendra aka The Meanest Momma said...

Great giveaway!

My oldest is only 5, but one of the best times for communicating has been snuggling at bedtime in the dark.

She tells and asks me all kinds of things - we talk about the day.

My other advice is ... pray :)

Marie said...

I don't have children of my own but I keep the lines of communication open with the kids in my life by staying connected through social media and spending time with them whenever possible!

Andrea said...

I always tell my boys that I am open to anything they want to talk about as long as they are honest with me. This keeps the line of communication open.

Wanda said...

I have 3 teens.
My oldest is 19 and about to leave for college in 13 days. My girls are 14 & 16.
We are extremely close as a family. My job as a mom has been centered around training my kids to love, trust and obey God.
When they were small...I stayed home and spent time with them.
I can see how that shaped them into the young people they are today.
We eat meals together....AND TALK! We talk about any subject....nothing is off limits.
They come to my husband and I for advice and just to share what's going on in their life.
We are involved in everything they do.
They have boundaries on their lives...not just by us but of their own.
We openly pray about issues and problems together. They are very mature and understand their decisions affect not just them...but their whole family and God.
Tonight, my husband told me that his boss was on the phone with a local attorney in our town. The two were talking and somehow our son's name came up. The attorney couldn't say enough kind things about Gavin. (our sons are friends)
He was thankful for his son having such a good kid for a friend as our son, Gavin.

I hear sweet things like that very often...and my heart just melts.
Thank you God for sharing them with me.

Xmas Dolly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xmas Dolly said...

I have 4 children all married with children. My oldest daughter & I see each other at least once every other week for lunch followed by shopping. Did I mention she's also Night Owl Mama so I find out what's going on in her life just by reading her blog every day. My oldest son calls me at least once a month to tell me he's breathing (literally). My youngest son calls me when he's in trouble, and my youngest child calls me at least once a week (well, lately) and we talk on IM or email. We now play games on Facebook too. She's out of state. So, I'd say we pretty much have our lines open.

The Crazy Mom said...

I have always talked to my kids. I homeschool, so we've been together a lot. That right there has made all the difference in the world.

I always ask about their day and what's going on. We just hang out. It's never really been an issue. They love to tell me about what is going on with their lives. I pretty much know where they are and what they're doing at all times, so I know what to ask about.

Cat@3KidsandUs said...

we keep the lines of communication open by eating dinner together as a family. It's a time to get to know our children, especially our oldest as he gets more freedom.
cat at 3kidsandus dot com

Andrea said...

Well communication is still pretty easy with my four younger kiddos (8-12). I find communicating with my nearly 17 year old son to be more challenging. Some things that have proven successful...learn to text...it is the way teens communicate now, & oftentimes a text will give me a clue as to what's on his mind so that I can approach an actual conversation about it later.

Also, he knows that I am 100% behind him and pretty much unflappable (in his presence anyway). He has asked me questions, etcetera that HAVE made me uncomfortable, worried, inadequate and the like, but I choose to retain composure and react calmly. I know this has made him feel safer to discuss things with me that many of his friends are unwilling to discuss with their parents.

Which brings me to probably the biggest one...I make our home a safehaven for his friends. Let's face it, at 17 it's all about your friends. Since his friends enjoy being here and feel welcome, I get to spend alot more time with my own son. Of course, this entails knowing when to make myself available to these kids and when to make myself invisible...a fine line. It involves getting to KNOW his friends...not just their names, but who they are and what they are interested in. And of course...it involves food...lots and lots of food.

asfarmer at gmail dot com

momznite said...

Today it was raspberry muffins. Cooking and baking together help keep lines of communication open in my family.

cdmtx said...

we do things together when my kids are in town , be honest with eachother,e-mail and call alot :)

thanks !

Erin said...

me and my oldest who is almost 12...we write to eachother!

krosburn said...

We always make it a priority to eat dinner with eachother every night. Communication comes naturally when at the dining room table.

Abby said...

I love that my teenage son now has an email account. He is gone at practice or some event all the time. If I need to ask him a question I often email it so I dont forget the next time he is home. Love it1






ajcmeyer at go dot com

Elena said...

I think texting is a great way to keep in touch with my 11 year old! It's quick and easy and it works for us! Thanks for the contest!

lsfish said...

We leave comments for each other on Facebook.

Rachel said...

I am trying to do special things with my two oldest( 6 and 8). They often get lost in the shuffle of the younger kids. This week the babies are staying home and the big kids get to go with mom to a waterpark!! I can't wait.

jamielz said...

Stay consistent with routines. We eat dinner together every day with no tv or distractions
jamielz@verizon.net

Pat Connors said...

We always make sure to have a meal together, usually dinner, if not breakfast.

risanjax@metrocast.net

Harmony said...

We have conversations every day, and I always repeat back to her what I hear her saying to make sure I understand her. In other words, if she says "goo", I don't say "ga".

Umm... I can still enter even though Pearl is only 2 months old, right??

New Mom said...

My oldest is 3, but one thing I've learned in working with after school programs is that the minutes following the end of a school day are some of the best times to talk with your child. I plan on making sure that I am available at that time and that I ask open-ended questions to my boys. Also, dinner time is a great chance to talk.

Dawn said...

Every night at dinner I put the focus on my daughter and have her tell me and hubby about her day or anything she is concerned about.

Brenda on the S OR Coast said...

Spending lots of time together and always communicating that we LOVE our children, even when they are being foolish and we tell them so.

Holly said...

Hey Connie - this is awesome. :)

How do we keep the lines of communication open?

We established trust when they were little. There were lots of years of guidance, and hand-holding, and hours spent reading and learning together. As they have grown, and began to spread their wings, it has just been a natural extension of that good relationship that was begun so long ago. We care for them so much, and they respect that. We know where they are, how they spend their time, what things are important to them. They know, and want to know, our thoughts on many things. We work together, we play together when we are able. We talk, alot. We learn from them, too. We are still the parents, but we become more and more their friends as the years pass by.

ali said...

We try not to overschedule, so we have time to be home, together, and then we just talk- over dishes, over lunch, over folding laundry, whatever, when we spend time together the talking happens naturally... when it's working the way it should. When things get more busy, then communication needs to be more intentional- we need to make time and take time to be together and just talk...

KimMikeal said...

As my AMAZING 18 year old son Brandon is about to leave our nest in two weeks for Texas A&M, this is a very precious time for me. I am reminiscing about how God has poured out His grace on us, to give us this gift,our son. He was born with a very sensitive spirit towards God, so every night I would lay in bed with him and read a book, then take turns praying. He would often amaze me with his insight. I set the bar high, and he jumped farther than I could have ever imagined. As he grew older, we would talk about what he was learning, and have "dates" for lunch or dinner. Because I know how vital prayer is in my own life, I have prayed for him daily, beseaching God to grown him into a Godly man. There are smudged spots in my prayer book from my tears. Now that he's about to leave, we still trade and discuss our notes from the sermon on Sunday, and I run to his room to share what I've learned in my Bible Study that week. I am finding that our common demoninator is Christ, and those roots grow far deeper than anything superficial. If I weren't studying God's word and
growing, I wouldn't be able to pour into him. It's all been a gift from God. I know that one of my main purposes in life was to have this beautiful, green eyed boy, and count is as a privilege that God has let me be his mother on this earth. What an exciting thought that we will spend all eternity together, praising God!

KimMikeal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

at the dinner table we play "high/low" each person at the table tells the others what the low point of their day is and then the high part. sometimes one of us may "remind" someone of their high/low. we discuss, the highs/lows. it encourages conversation, different view points, help or advice if needed and allows everyone to have some time to be heard.

another thing i do is play a game or do a chore with one child at a time a couple of times a week. ie mckenna's job is unloading the dishwasher in the morning. she can easily do this by herself, but i make it a point to do it with her a couple of times. she is glad because she doesn't like doing it so much (but does) and we talk. with mclaine, it's making her bed and then brushing her hair. she talk when i brush her hair. (my girls have curly hair and i still have to help mclaine with hers at times) with i.j. it's play a wii game or nintendo 64 game with him. when we are playing, he sits smack-dab next to me.
love it, love it... :o)

p.s. do i really have to leave my email address on here??? it's kinda private... i have a facebook that we are friends on. if you see this and still want my email address, message me and i will give it to you :o)

luvtxess said...

My children are grown and we talk daily. Growing up, I made an effort to be involved in their lives and it never changed.

Anonymous said...

Stop thinking you have to be your kids best friend. Set aside time to be a family--eat at least one meal a day together with tv, computer and cell phones turned off.carolenron@aol.com

elkaye said...

I do my best to let them know that I'm available if they want to share their day or whenever they have a problem. When they are having a bad day, I will fix a favorite meal or dessert. Or I will spend one-on-one time with them outside of the house and do something that they would enjoy. It usually puts them in a better mood to want to talk about any issues they are having.

elkaye[at]gmail[dot]com

elkaye said...

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/Elkaye/status/3306889093


elkaye[at]gmail[dot]com

Anonymous said...

You can't communicate if you're not together --- so --- family dinner is good group time.

Of course, my teens won't open up in front of their sibling, so alone time in the car going to and from events is ideal. The lack of eye contact seems to help them.

Believe it or not, texting is THE current way to write notes to your kid.

We all have Facebook accounts, too, and their close friends are also my friends. I don't comment much, but I can "hide and watch"!

Alice McD

JMom said...

Great point on having 'alone' time with each child being very important. I find that this is when they open up the most, when there is no else listening.

With my daughters, they get really annoyed when their sisters pipe in a comment or opinion when it should be just their issue at the moment :)

mannequin said...

My twelve year old son knows that he we can talk about anything. I think the most important thing I've taught him as far as reasoning is that rarely is anything black and white. He's very anxious to discuss the grey areas!
When you don't discuss things with your child, someone else will.

Daniel and Cerissa said...

We do not have teenagers... yet, but our plan is to just have fun with our kids. We want them to enjoy hanging out with their parents and spending time with their siblings.

Twincere said...

Our 3 oldest girls have cell phones. I'm a long time Sprint subscriber and also have a great corporate discount plan that saves us quite a bit of money on our Family plan. So, naturally we have the extras which includes unlimited texting, Sprint TV,music & picture downloads, etc. I've already felt the financial burn from not being wise enough to have signed up for the plan in the first place, to the tune of making one unhappy teen fork over $75 to cover her text happy faux-pas. We're a very close family that is always connected, especially when it comes to our common interests like techy stuff and travel, and even simple things like watching the Disney Channel together.My kids get a kick out of texting each other, Dear Hubs and I, and of course, their friends. Its funny, our texting capabilities have improved considerably thanks to those text happy girls of ours!

Twincere(at)gmail(dot)com

Twincere said...

I tweeted about this great review & giveaway here:
http://twitter.com/Twincere/status/3314345539

Twincere(at)gmail(dot)com

The Mom Jen said...

We bought our almost 11 year old a cell phone (the pay as you go type) for jr. high and for her competitive dancing. She often heads out of town with her team and It makes us feel a bit more confident when we can talk and text throughout the day.

The Mom Jen said...

Tweet! http://twitter.com/themomjen/status/3314427286

Twincere said...

I blogged about this great review & giveaway on my blog and
included all required linkbacks.
http://twinceretwinkles.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-do-you-stay-connected-to-your-kids.html

Twincere(at)gmail(dot)com

theladya said...

We let our kids know that they can talk to us about anything, any problems, worries, and answer any quesions they might have about life. Abailey_Crace@yahoo.com

bettycd said...

The cell phone has been a wonderful asset in keeping in touch with our kids. Whether going out driving those first times alone or off at college, they can be reached. It's so much easier to stay in contact with our daughter then it was when I went to college.

Emily said...

My oldest isn't 3 yet but we talk all day long. As she ages I pray that our communication and openness grows.

bettycd said...

tweeted
http://twitter.com/bettycd/status/3316403983

Lene said...

We spend time together - but since mine are still little, they still want to tell us everything. It's great!!

OneHappyfamily said...

We have Super Saturday where we take each child out to do something fun they choose. I think it is important to listen to them when they are little, so they know what they have to say matters when they hit the rough teen years.

JeansandTs said...

JeansandTs@hotmail.com
We keep family posted with updates on Facebook and by cell phone.

Mommy Cracked said...

We go on a family date night once every couple of weeks, and we take time daily to talk and just be in the moment with our son. He's only 4, but we're trying to start the open lines of communication early on.

Heather said...

We are just beginning the tween years with our sweet daugther, so we have much to learn. We do make sure our children have one on one time with their daddy and I each week, even if it is just running errands. Now that our daughter is able to sit in the front seat, we find she really opens up while we drive along - so if something is bothering her, and we can't get to the bottom of it at home, we suggest a drive, and it all comes to light. I hope it is always as simple to get to the heart of her struggles, but I suspect as we all grow and learn, we will need to find other ways too.

Tina12312 said...

My son is recently married and I don’t want to intrude on them too much, so we e-mail each other and talk on the phone just often enough to hear what is going on in each other’s lives and we get together every week or so. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway

lace said...

We talk about the day while we cuddle on their beds just before bedtime.

pixie13 said...

My preschooler & I always take the time at some point in the day to ask each other, how was your day? Even if we've been together the whole time, it's pretty exciting for her to go over everything she has done & learned. Hopefully, this is something that will continue well into adolescence. Thanks!

Shel said...

I have four children and the oldest is 26 now. My daughter, the youngest, just turned 13. For years I refused to allow my children cell phones but I've caved; there's no better way to find out where and who they're with at a moment's notice. When my oldest went to college, that cell phone was invaluable for easing his homesickness by daily calls..sometimes 3-4 a day those first months!
I always try to plan some alone time with each of my children. My daughter and I both have Facebook accounts and we're playing Farmville, sending each other gifts and leaving messages on each other's farms. Sometimes I just send my daughter or my sons an "I love you" text so they know I'm thinking about them.

shel704 at aol dot com

Shel said...

Blogged:
http://auntiethesis.blogspot.com/2009/08/keeping-communication-open-giveaways.html

shel704 at aol dot com

Shel said...

Tweeted:
http://twitter.com/auntiethesis/status/3344427122

shel704 at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

We stay connected by email, video conferencing and the plain old telephone. We also like to get together once a month for a girl's only weekend!

Kim
turtles8861(at)gmail(dot)com

Susan said...

I used to pick them up at school and take them out for lunch, rotating between the three of them.
Sometimes, I would pick one of them up after school and take them to the drive-in, just sitting and listening to them.
Each of them got to go on a trip with me alone; they liked that!
Suz in NV

Angie Marion said...

My kids don’t have any cells yet because first, I don’t believe in them having them unless they’re very active, and my kids are always with me unless I’m at work. So… the way I keep the lines of communication open are by listening to them all the time without judgement, and by telling them if they don’t lie to me and treat me the way they want to be treated, we won’t have a problem. it’s working so far!

Nancy said...

Our daughter is away at college a long distance from home. We use cell phones, IMs, e-mail, and an occasional snail mail card to stay in touch!

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Karen said...

I never would have thought I'd be texting with my 12-year-old daughter, but sometimes it's the best way for us to stay in touch. If she knows I'm somewhere that I can't answer my phone, she'll text me to say that she's going to be late getting home or whatever.

Angie Marion said...

I tweeted! http://twitter.com/pricousins/status/3362387461

Annette D said...

I am very lucky to have two wonderful sons, ages 20 and 16. I have always stressed to them that they could tell me anything. Our relationship is based on trust and I have an open door policy. I have found that not over reacting is the key.
jedoggett@embarqmail.com

Annette D said...

tweeted http://twitter.com/annedoggett/statuses/3365031270
jedoggett@embarqmail.com

Annette D said...

blogged http://abdoggett1.blogspot.com/2009/08/win-200-visa-gc-httpsmockityreviews.html
jedoggett@embarqmail.com

Sheila said...

Surprisingly, dog walking has really been a time of talking between my daughters and I. There just isn't much else to do, and they chatter the whole time.

Hula Hooping Mom said...

We are a talking family - and although at this point none of the kids have cell phones - we make a point to sit and talk everyday!

Jodi said...

My toddler is a non-stop jibber jabberer, so we don't have to worry about keeping lines of communication open just yet, but I hope to keep them open by having a relationship of friendship and fellowship as he (and his little brother) get older!

Carolyn G said...

The best way is to make sure that the lines of communication are always open. And that anything that is spoken about is without judgment and will be heard.

Carolyn G said...

tweeted http://twitter.com/carogonza/status/3384696774

Carolyn G said...

blogged http://theartofrandomwillynillyness.blogspot.com/2009/08/another-great-blogher-contest.html

suzi said...

My kids are still young (6 and 3) but I think now is the perfect time to talk to them, get used to hearing me ask questions about their day, learn how to respond to questions that may cause them to think first, etc. Can't hurt!

suzi said...

http://twitter.com/suzi_m/status/3384767206

I just tweeted too!

simone/ thebubbledies said...

Well DS is only a year old, so our main issue is that he isn't really talking that much yet. But we have been teaching him sign language since day 1, so that helps us communicate more than we could otherwise. Thanks! thebubbledies(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda, Greg and Drew said...

I think teaching newborns sign language is a early way to help them communicate with you-I am doing that now w/ my baby!

Linda, Greg and Drew said...

blogged!

http://givemeagiveaway.blogspot.com/2009/08/enter-at-these-sites-to-win-200-visa.html

Shooting Stars Mag said...

You have to be up front about what you expect, but don't push them away if they do wrong. You have to be able to communicate on the same level or they won't want to talk to you b/c it's easier and more comfortable to keep it in or share with others that might not help as much.

lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Sally said...

I feel it is important to set aside one on one time with each child, to talk, and especially to listen to what they say. Let them do most of the talking and don't preach back to them or their ears will close up

Amy said...

My oldest is only 6, but we plan on doing what my parents did with us:

It is important to teach your kids to value family relationships above peer relationships. There are many ways to do this, and on several levels. They include homeschooling, limiting the amount of 'social' activities your time spends time in, being involved with your child in things outside the home, planning (and doing!) fun things together as a family, and showing genuine interest in your child's interests through your time and conversation. The actual ways to do it are many, but the idea is to teach and practice that family comes first!

Nicki said...

My oldest is 12, and these are some things I've already implemented:

Share a journal with your teen. I got this idea from my friend Laurie at 2Moms, and I've already started one with both of my girls. We have a decorated spiral notebook to write letters to each other in. Sometimes it's easier to put things in writing, and it's also easier to receive something in writing.

Limit headphone use. I know this sounds silly, but with the variety of electronic devices available, it's easy for kids to put in the headphones and shut everyone else out. I try to prevent this from happening by limiting the amount of time my daughter can use her headphones, both at home and in the car.

Nicki said...

I forgot! I blogged about this contest at
www.400things.blogspot.com

wigget said...

we talk to the kids in the car, at dinner, and just before bed, keeping communication open. i also try not to avoid answering “tough” questions so that they feel at ease about subjects that could become difficult.

Betty N said...

When we raised our boys, we did not have cell phones but if there was any change in plans from what we had approved, they were to call home and discuss it with us before going, doing, etc. (Now we would use cell phones) We still maintained family dinner together every night and church together every Sunday. I think these things help togetherness in a family.

Betty N said...

tweet here
http://twitter.com/Grandma3710/status/3478863235

Betty N said...

blogged here
http://betty-n.blogspot.com/

*Mirage* said...

Since my kids are 1 and 3 I'll speak from a different POV... the POV of having been a teen and how my mom kept communication open with me, and also of being an oldest child and how I kept communication open with my youngest sibling through times in his life when he wasn't comfortable talking to our parents.

1) LISTEN! If you're so busy talking, telling, or scolding that you don't hear them, they're not gonna come back next time. So before you open your mouth, close it and listen to the child, hear them totally out. When they are finished is the time to put in your 2 cents. While they are talking, make sure you are communicating to them that you are listening with your heart to what they are saying.

2) Start young. If your toddler is babbling at you incoherently and you just distractedly say, "Oh that's nice dear..." and go on about your business, there is a prime starting place for positive change on YOUR part. You need to listen to them when they are babies, listen with your ears and your heart. Give them your full attention. Get down to their level. Really try to understand them. Let them use props like pointing or signing, or taking you to see what it is they are talking about, or acting it out to help you understand them. Listen to your tot even when you can't understand them. Listen to your 9 year old even when she hasn't taken a breath in 12 sentences and you're going cross-eyed trying to keep up. Then when she's 13, 15, 17, she will know that you will listen when she wants to tell you about the boy who broke her heart and the best friend that went over to the Dark Side. And she will be proud to tell you about how she turned down a cigarette behind the bleachers today because she knows instead of jumping on her after the first sentece with dire warnings, you will listen to her whole story and be so proud of her when she gets to the end. Or she will know that if she made a mistake she can count on you to listen to the whole story so that you know where she was coming from when she made the mistake.

3) Tell stories. Kids love to hear about how you were a kid like them once and that even though times have changed, there were pressures on you as a child that can help them relate to pressures they will face. Don't wait for it to happen and then use your story as an object lesson... it's better to preempt it! You know she'll be getting her first cycle soon so when you're together tell her about what happened to you your first cycle so she knows what to expect. Tell it in a timely manner. It won't do any good WAY before the fact. It might not do as much good after the fact. But always be telling your kids stories about you. TRUE stories. They might not always have a HAPPY ending, but they should always have a PURPOSE and a lesson in them. Even if it's just to tell your kids you have been there so when you say don't go there they know you speak from experience.

4) Answer the phone!! This one I learned the hard way with my 21 year old brother. :( Always always always make time for them when they want to talk. Even if they call right when you're about to go take a nap, or want to talk when you're in the middle of cooking supper, it's so very important to take the time for them so they know they are more important to you than a nap or supper. Even if you have to say, "Well I'm in the middle of supper right now so how about afterwards when you're loading the dishwasher I will have your Dad bathe the littler ones tonight and I'll help you with the dishes while we talk? That way we can have some privacy just you and I!" Or if they call from college or their own home when you are busy, make sure you call them back that same day! If you don't call back it hurts them. It hurts them deeply. So please, answer when they need you! If you don't, you will lose their hearts and they will stop talking to you and start talking to their peers instead!

*Mirage* said...

Linked to it from my blog! :D

Insignificon said...

I hope to keep communication open by starting very early with my kids. My oldest is 5, and I feel it is very important to make him understand very early on that he can talk to us, and never, ever lose face with us for being honest. I hope that works. Time will tell.

Insignificon said...

Blogged here: http://spoodles.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/bloghersprint-giveaway/

Open ID isn't working, so I'm using my long-unused google ID, but that is my blog.

Insignificon said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/Spoodles/statuses/3493107380

Mary said...

My children are only 4 & 6, but I keep the lines of communication open by asking them about their day and their feelings, always making sure they feel comfortable coming to me with anything.

mfalcon13 (at) hotmail (dot) com

EllaJac said...

Homeschooling definitely helps, for one. My oldest is nearly 8, and I think the one-on-one time is important. And hard, as we just had our fourth daughter 8 days ago!

JenPB said...

We share our lives, nearly 24 hours a day, as a homeschooling, traveling, adventurous family. When we're on the road, the girls and I depend upon the family's shared cell phone to keep in touch with my husband and other concerned family members. But how do we communicate with the kids? Family dinners are the key! Every night we gather at the table, no technology allowed, and eat and talk and plan.

mom2gabnnat said...

I drive my girls to and from school and we use the car trip to discuss the day. We also eat together as a family to discuss whatever is on anyone's mind. I try to take time every few weeks to take my girls one-on-one even if it is just grocery shopping. We use that time to just hang out and talk too.

Shop with Me Mama said...

We are not quite there yet. But communication starts EARLY! I am ALWAYS honest with my kids, whether they can understand or not. I will always be open with them and give them honest answers. They will find out things anyways, might as well be from me and my hubby! Great contest!

daxkimd@Juno.com

Carlee said...

One way to stay in touch is to be into what they are into. I know one dad who took his daughter and her best friend to punk rock concerts. He did not like the music, but chose to know the bands and the lyrics. When an objectionable song played, they would leave for a few minutes, get some fresh air, and come back inside. Once the daughter and her friend reminded the dad to leave when he didn't notice the song. Most importantly, he said that the conversations they had on the drives about life and about the music were invaluable.

My son loves Mixed Martial Arts. I didn't even know what they were! But now I watch fights, help him perfect his form because I go to his training and watch, and know the terms for all the holds and moves. Taking time to learn about our kids' passions shows them that their thoughts and desires matter and makes them more willing to share their lives with us.

Lori said...

We eat supper together as a family and have share time. We also take the kids out individually if we are going to the store so we can have time to just talk with them.

yarbbenlori@grandecom.net

Leslie M. said...

As my daughter gets older, her second year of college, she is only 18 though, we talk more on the cell phone and email once in a while, and TEXT TEXT TEXT!!!!
I talk to her at least a few times a day by cell phone! It may be just a quickie question she has for me, but she calls me for some answers and that is important!
thanks for a GREAT giveaway!


Leslie
LeslieVeg@msn.com
http://leslielovesveggies.blogspot.com/

Leslie M. said...

LeslieVeg left a tWeet
http://twitter.com/LeslieVeg/status/3544679775

Leslie
LeslieVeg@msn.com
http://leslielovesveggies.blogspot.com/

Nancye said...

I communicate with my kids and they communicate wth me and their dad at the dinner table.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Christian Frugal Mama said...

My daughters are 2 and 2 months. Communication is already hard! Thanks for the giveaway!

Christian Frugal Mama said...

Blogged it! Thanks! http://christianfrugalmama.blogspot.com/2009/08/coupons-freebies-and-giveaways.html

Night Owl Mama said...

http://twitter.com/Nightowlmama/status/3574803134
tweet

Lower Mitten Kitten said...

My children are quite young, but establishing good communication with them is still very important. I take the time to listen (i.e. stop whatever else I'm doing) to my 5 year old... even if it's rambling - he usually has a point. Also, we try to have livley discussions at dinner so they will learn to how to have conversations.

Lower Mitten Kitten said...

Tweet! http://twitter.com/Facetwit17/status/3608395307

Tamara B. said...

I still have a 14 year old son and a 13 year old daughter at home. We make it a point to eat dinner together at least five days a week. We have a family movie night once a week and each one can invite one friend. I love spending time with my childen and it keeps us close plus we can talk to each other about anything.

Anonymous said...

I'll take this question to the basic level. Distance is an issue so we use all forms of e-communication. Cell phone, webcam and email.

Webcams are really wonderful.

sylvieanddudes@yahoo.com

DG said...

good dinner conversation and establishing trust are two things that work

dreamzz12{at}aol{dot}com

DG said...

blogged

http://the-prestigiator.xanga.com/710906563/effective-communication/

dreamzz12{at}aol{dot}com

MiscMayzee said...

Talking while commuting allows for great conversations. Especially if you spend an hour or so a day in the vehicle.

MiscMayzee said...

I posted on twitter.

Anonymous said...

My children are pretty young still, but as a youth minister's wife, I think I still have some input! My suggestion is to communicate with them in a way that they understand. They may clam up when you try to talk face to face so send them an email or a Facebook message. You'll be surprised how much they'll fill you in on!

Ellie W.
fcorin13 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Danielle said...

I try to always listen carefully no matter how busy I may be and also to make sure they know that I think what they have to say is important.
drellis500(at)gmail.com

Danielle said...

tweet http://twitter.com/drellis500/status/3732810883
drellis500(At)gmail.com

Lene said...

I can't remember if I already commented or not. We walk to school in the morning so I have a chance to chat with my 1st grader. On the way home, I talk to the kid in the stroller.

Anne said...

Like many others have commented, I find my kids are more likely to open up in the car, when it is just me and one of them. Lately this has been harder though, since my oldest is 16 and has her learner’s permit. I find it harder to talk to her when she is driving, since I don’t want to distract her and also I am very nervous when she drives. So we have started going out for coffee once a week while her sister is at dance. She likes having special time just with me, and going out for coffee makes her feel grown up too. She is pretty good at letting me know what is bothering her. We have had lots of good talks lately about college, and her worries about fitting in.
ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

Anne said...

I tweeted about the contest.
twitter.com/lunaj1456/statuses/3735600882

ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

Alison said...

Spend time together!! I cannot stress this enough! And DO things together that the kids actually LIKE- things that engage the mind, projects rather than watching a movie or something where no one talks...

dani said...

I let my kids kids have just talk time. Where I am just their sounding off board. Sometimes it is hard because I want to give my opinions and advice but I give it when they ask or they really need it. They come to me now because they know I will listen. I have learned so much more about them because of this.

Michele said...

In our house we have dinner together as a family. I am one of the lucky one's that has a very talkative 17 yr old boy! A lot of our talking is also done in the car to and from events!

Anonymous said...

I try to always be ready to apologize for things I have done that may have been hurtful. Also, just spending time together. Limiting outside activities and enjoying games together.

usborneval@gmail.com

Mrs. Huse Clifton said...

The most simple and efficient way that we keep connected with our kids is to talk to them. We spend time with then all everyday. We know their lives and we know them. We monitor their friends and their friends parents. We participate in their school and their activities. And so very importantly we pray with each of them every night.

ktanjatk said...

Cellphone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype...so many ways to communicate!

But you have to be a good listener, that's the most important thing :-)

ktanjatk(at)gmail(dot)com

ktanjatk said...

tweeted:
http://twitter.com/ktanjatk/status/3739042076

ktanjatk(at)gmail(dot)com

Pink Slippers said...

Early morning couch cuddle time. When everyone else is sleeping the one who needs it usually wakes up before everyone else to spend some special cuddle and talk time with Mommy.
Wendy

Tracysweetangl said...

We talk when we are getting ready for dinner. Are cleaning up around the house. They know they can come to me when they need to talk.

The Murray Crew said...

Staying connected, at this point, is less about seeing them often enough, or spending appropriate amounts of time, and more about paying attention.

I have quadruplet boys who are only 2 years old, so at this point, the problems with our communications have more to do with undertanding one another than finding gadgets or ways to stay connected.

Eventually, I am sure it will be more about getting that quality time with the kids, but I think it will always be primarily an issue of making sure I do more listening than talking, and making what I do have to say counts. I hope that if I genuinely listen to them, I can be wiser in how I respond, and make them see that I do care what they say, even if I end up disagreeing and not allowing them to have their way.

Brad Murray
www.murraycrew.blogspot.com
bradley.g.murray@gmail.com

Sharon said...

My son does all the communicating around here. And he manages it with one word. "NO!" That's a phase, right? Ha! he's only 2.5.

guettel78 said...

Here's a link to my blog entry in which I posted my thoughts about keeping the lines of communication open: http://slavetoacademia.blogspot.com/2009/09/keeping-lines-of-communication-open.html

gkaufmanss@yahoo.com

guettel78 said...

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/guettel78/status/3748726822

gkaufmanss@yahoo.com

guettel78 said...

I blogged about the giveaway: http://slavetoacademia.blogspot.com/2009/09/200-visa-gc-giveaway-at-smockity.html

gkaufmanss@yahoo.com

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