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Truthful sharing

November 25, 2011

Do you really want your children to be honest with you?


Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Haim Ginott says, “Unless parents create a climate of trust that encourages their children to share even their disturbing feelings, opinions, complaints, and ideas, children will not be truthful. They will only tell parents what they want to hear.” (p. 199)

In other words …

Children feel the same wide range of emotions that we do as adults: anger, resentment, fear, frustration, and disgust as well as joy, excitement, hopefulness, and pleasure. Yet sometimes as parents, we try to dismiss children’s negative feelings. When our children expresses strong negative emotions such as, “I hate my little brother!” we often scold them and tell them they don’t really feel that way. This teaches our children that we don’t care or want to hear about their negative emotions. Soon they will stop telling us when they are upset about something because they will not trust us to take them seriously.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Encourage your child to share their feelings with you, even the ones that may be uncomfortable to hear. When your child does share with you, listen to what they have to say. Think how you might feel in a similar situation. Even if you don’t agree with your child’s feelings, accept that they are real for him or her.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at, follow us at, or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Ginott’s Between Parent and Child.

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