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Parenting Page Session Ten
Telling my parents how I feel

This week's goal:
To encourage your children to openly acknowledge their feelings and pain and tell you how they are feeling about everything.

What the experts say:
As a single parent, it is easy to get caught up with just trying to survive. You may not realize your children need you. Sometimes children feel there is a wide distance between their parent and them. They hesitate to tell their parent how they feel, they don't think their feelings are important or they don't want to bother the parent. Sometimes children are afraid to talk because they are afraid the parent will get mad. Even if it's not true, it is the child's perception. It's important to dispel these perceptions and keep the lines of communication open.
One family's story:
One day a teacher noticed that one of the boys in her class was really down. Upon asking what the problem was, the boy told the teacher that every weekend his dad would sit in front of the TV and go to sleep, and it was getting very boring. The teacher told the boy that maybe he should tell his dad what he thought. The child said, "I couldn't do that. He might get mad. Besides, what would I say?" The teacher worked with the child on what to say. They wrote everything down, and the child practiced in front of his mirror every day. The following weekend, he said, "Dad, I need to talk to you. Will you turn off the TV and talk to me?" First thing Monday morning, the teacher got a call from this dad thanking her for working with his son. He said he had no idea his son was upset with him. They ended up making a list of different things to do on Saturdays. They decided to do things like shoot hoops and hang out together.

This week's Scripture focus:
Hebrews 10:24: 
"Let us consider how we may spur one another on 
toward love and good deeds."

Building family strengths:
Notice what TV shows your children are watching. Sit down and watch TV together. Use this as a time to explain why you do or do not agree with the show. This is a good way to teach moral values to your children. Go a step further and decide that one night a week for the next four weeks there will be no TV, movies, computer or computer games. Plan things to do so you can connect with each other. Here are some suggestions: play charades, cook an exotic meal together, invite grandparents over (if grandparents are not available, then adopt an older couple at church and invite them for dinner), let the children cook and serve a meal. Connect with your children now and you will open the doors for better communication when they are teenagers.