How to Get Your Child to Open Up

“So Mom, do you want to play this game with me? You go first with the ‘I feel…’ part.”

“Okay…,” said distracted me to my eight-year-old daughter, who had been wanting to play a game. “I feel like eating ice cream.”

“I feel sad when my dad lies to me.”

Whoa. I stopped doing the dishes, while emptying the dishwasher, while making lunch, while cleaning off the counter, while changing the trash bag. We were playing a game, weren’t we?

Seeing the look on my face, my daughter said, ”Want me to read the instructions again?” And she continued without pause: “Talking about feelings hurts no one. If I say,’ I am angry,’ that doesn’t hurt you. If I say,’I am lonely,’ that lets you know me better. The secret is to start by saying, ’I think, I feel, I want.’ Ready Mom?”

I nodded.

But let me back up.

My daughter had gone to my desk in my pseudo-office in our living room. On it, she went to the *stack* of books (er…eight of them now) I am committed to doing reviews on. And she gravitated towards Liking Myself by Pat Palmer.

In case you are new to my single mom world, the summary is that her dad enjoys talking about me constantly when she is over there. It’s been almost seven years since my divorce and guess who was just in court again? Yes, me. This is one tumultuous divorce that keeps on giving.

“Okay mom, I’ll go again – but why don’t you come sit here with me? Ready?”

I nodded. Again.

And my little lovely says,” I want my mom to stop worrying about me.” Umm…okay? I can’t? I know you have it tough over there – so I’ll try not to? I pause for an eternity. [Read more…]