As parents, talking to and being open with our kids can often be the only way to ensure strong, trusting relationships on which they rely on when things get tough. However, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between being open and bogging your children down with adult worries and concerns that they just don’t need to know about at this age.
Honestly, as with many parenting priorities, getting this right most often comes down to your intuition and what you feel right about sharing, but we’re going to help by at least considering three adult conversations that you’re most definitely going to want to save for when the kids (no matter how old) are in bed.
Conversation 1 – Gossip
Often as parents, we make the mistake of gossiping in front of our kids, either assuming that they won’t understand/care, or that they’ll find us funnier for our observations. Here’s the thing – kids talk, and they move in way larger social circles than we’d imagine, meaning there’s every chance that little snippet of nastiness is going to get back to Sandra in the office once your kids get hold of it. Embarrassing circulations aside, showing your catty side also sends a message to your kids that it’s okay to judge or speak badly of others which, we’ll sure you’ll agree, isn’t a great impression to give to those who look up to you.
Conversation 2 – Marriage disputes
Whether you’re having a daily dispute about dishes or are reaching the point of contacting a local divorce lawyer, marriage disputes should also be left off the dinner table chat list. Even if you think it’ll be good for your kids to glimpse an authentic relationship, seeing their parents go at each other, even if that argument is harmless, can contribute towards childhood feelings of insecurity, higher levels of anxiety, and even a fear of adult relationships. So, no matter how annoyed you are in the moment, keep it for hushed whispers once they’re all in bed!
Conversation 3 – Parental concerns
This may come as some surprise considering that, in most instances, we go straight to our kids with any concerns in light of bad reports, misbehavior, etc., but there’s a strong argument to keeping at least early discussions about parental concerns between you and your partner. As well as helping you to formulate fair and calm points, this removed conversation is especially important for avoiding damage to your child’s self-esteem. Certainly, the last thing you want to do is have a conversation about ‘she can’t do that,’ and ‘you really think he’s capable of this?’ in front of children who, even if they don’t seem like it, are guaranteed to take it all in.
An open, trusting family unit is essential, but not at the cost of the happiness and confidence of your children overall. So, before you openly splurge every last conversation, ask yourself – should you really be saying that in front of your children?