Yesterday I was painting our living room finally, it’s been a 2 month project at minimum. Once I was almost completed, I thought maybe we should change the furniture around, so I asked my daughter to come help and get her input. Of course, she was more than excited on moving things around and putting in her own style.
Then it hit me… This is why our family works….I actually ask my kids their opinion. I ask them for their input. I do not just make decisions on our lives without getting their input. Over the last 5 years, I have learned to really ask my kids and listen to what they have to say. And I have learned that sometimes they are actually right. They can see things in a different way that I can.
Maybe it’s different for me because I am single and divorced, so I like to get another person’s opinion on home improvements, dinner choices, movie selections, vacations, etc. But I realized that this had made our family so much more enjoyable. My kids have learned that I value what they say and I listen to them.
In the middle of the week, I usually ask them if there is anything they want to do on the weekend. Of course, I will usually run down the list of activities we have scheduled due to sports, but then I will actually ask “what do you guys want to do?”. I love to get their opinions and input. They are now 15. 12. and 9 so there is a lot of discrepancy on what is suggested. Sometimes it’s as easy as all they want to do is go starbucks and target..without asking I would not have known that is all they want to do. And really… I can handle Starbuck’s and target. That is kinda like a dream date. Other times, I get can we go to a waterpark.
I do not just tell them what is going to happen or what we are going to do, I ask them what they would like to do on the weekends, I ask them if they need anything for school the next week, I ask them for dinner ideas, I ask them if there are any movies they want to see….. I think I have realized that by asking them their opinions I have learned so much more from them. I do not just say “no” to say no.
Last year, we started our “ you pick dinner Thursdays’ which means that each week a different kid gets to pick where we eat dinner. Thursdays are our busy sports nights so dinner is always late or rushed, this helps with us still getting to eat together. Don’t get me wrong, there are some complaints from the others usually, but they get over it fast. They are excited about being the one to pick the dinner place and the others are always curious on where they are going to pick.
On Sundays, we normally go to church and I have learned that by asking them the time that they want to go, makes them not complain about going. They actually will get up and go. Sometimes they pick the earlier time because they want to do something fun that day and other days they will want to sleep in and we will go later.
But the end result is the same, we all go to church together. And since I asked them on the time, I think they actually feel that they made the decision.
And in return, they have learned that I actually listen to them. They feel comfortable coming to me and asking to have a sleepover, or how to use a tampon, or go to a dance with a boy, or that they have a boyfriend. They feel that I actually value them and treat them with respect. They have learned that I am not just going to tell them what to do. I make them think about things a little bit. I might say no to what they are asking, but what is most important is that they feel comfortable actually asking me.