What to Do When Our Kids Give Us Feedback

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By Katieann Browning

Lately I’ve been learning a lot about feedback and how important it is for our relationships. Feedback gives us an opportunity to understand how those around us are experiencing us and our actions. It’s crucial to have feedback when establishing a culture of honor. Having the chance to make sure we are sending the message of value and love requires the ability to humble ourselves and hear from others around us.

But what happens when we get feedback from our kids? 

Did My Daughter Just Call Me Out? 

Recently an opportunity arose for me to hear from my oldest daughter about how she was experiencing me. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. 

My husband and I were working on a project around the house. We had gone back and forth between his idea and my idea on how to fix it. Finally, he decided to go with my idea. 

Thinking I would be funny, I simply said sarcastically, “See—if you wouldn’t be so difficult and just do what I said, we would be done by now.” 

Even now, it makes me chuckle because I was simply being silly. My husband even chuckled when I said it! I was in no way being serious. I knew it, and he knew it.  

My daughter Rylee, however, did not see it that way. She responded with, “Mommy, you’re the one being difficult.”

Oh, the look of shock—no, horror—that must have been all over my face! 

Did she just tell me I was being difficult? How in the world does she even know what’s really going on? She’s just sitting there sketching in her art book. Did she just call me out? She can’t call me out! She can’t talk to me like that! Did her dad hear what HIS daughter just said to me? Oh no, she didn’t just say that to me. I’m her mother! That disrespect will NOT be tolerated! She has no clue what she is talking about and she spoke out of turn. Oh, heck no.

Finally, I picked up my jaw off the ground and turned to face her. She looked up from her book and said, “What? It’s true. You are the one being difficult.” 

What? She said it a second time? Has she forgotten who is talking to? I’m the mom and she is the daughter! How dare she continue with disrespect.

Remembering My Goal 

Thankfully, I didn’t say any of those things. Instead, I took a deep breath and quickly reminded myself what my goal with my daughter is. Is it to be powerful—or is to teach her only one us has the power? Will she learn to have a voice—or will she grow into an adult who gets walked on because when she did speak up, she was shut down and told she was being disrespectful?

I can tell you that my goal is to raise my kids in an empowering, punishment-free home. By making that my goal, I now get to choose to humble myself and hear feedback from my own children. 

This is hard as a parent, because most of us have been trained that anything corrective coming out of our kids’ mouths is inherently disrespectful. But I had to admit there wasn’t any disrespect in Rylee’s voice. She wasn’t out of control. She was simply stating how she was experiencing me.  

I sat down next to her and began to apologize for the way I was behaving. I explained that I said it to be funny, but it’s not funny if she thinks that I’m being difficult to her dad. Thanking her for her honesty, I asked her if there was anything else she needed to say to me. She responded that she didn’t. 

Putting Connection Over Pride 

Hearing feedback from your co-workers, friends, and adult family members is one thing.  Hearing feedback from your kids is another. It’s so important that you know what you will do with yourself when your pride gets triggered. Because that is exactly what happened: My pride got offended. Thankfully my desire for a strong heart-to-heart connection overruled my pride. I want my kids to feel safe enough to tell me what they think about things, even if I may not like it.

Do you know how you will handle yourself when your kids give you their honest feedback? Will you take it as disrespect? Or will you fight for connection and understanding even if you are the one being addressed? What will your response be?

My hope is that we raise this next generation to be powerful carriers of honor and unconditional love. It starts with us. It’s starts with the way we respond when our pride and fear get triggered by their words and actions. It starts by living out the fruit of the Spirit in our home, with our children and spouse. It starts when we actively live out the message of the priority of our connection. It’s hard when you are a parent. It seems easier to be “more” right then our kids, but when we do that, we miss the point of our connection.

I pray that you read this, you’ll hear Holy Spirit and allow Him to reveal any areas where there may be pride issues. It’s never too late to pursue connection with your kids!

 
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P.S. Katieann will be joining us for our next LOP Summit in Minneapolis! Join us and get tickets here!