"I'm not angry with you; I just want to talk."
I find myself saying this to my son more and more often. I say it when he's gotten a bad report on the bus. I say it when he's yelled at me for reminding him to brush his teeth and he claims I didn't ask him to do that. I say it when I know he is lying to me.
It is my way of reminding my son that I am not going to blow up at him. It is my way of reminding myself to not blow up at my son.
It has taken me a lot to get to this point, but I have found that the reminder that I am not angry helps him to be honest with me. We all want our kids to be honest, but we forget to create the positive connections for them: If you talk to me I will do my best to listen without anger.
As hard as this is now, I try to keep my eye on the prize and think of the positive connections he is making now, hoping that they will carry over to when he is a teenager and has more to confide or conceal from me and the stakes are a little higher.
So, I repeat my phrase for both our benefit. And I hope it works.
How are you valuing honesty in your household? Tell me in the comments.