Communicate with your Kids & Win a $200 Visa Card!

Communicate with your Kids & Win a $200 Visa Card!


And the winner is….


The winner of the $200 Visa Gift Card is DG who answered the question in her blog, The Prestigiator:

How you keep the lines of communication open with your children as they grow older and gain more freedom?

Well, I don’t have kids but I can say from how I was raised: 1. adhere to a regular dinner time because good conversation takes place at the table over delicious meals, 2. don’t be too strict or judgmental because kids will close down -being a good listener is more important! and 3. share a few of your “secrets” (avoid TMI though) as well; show your kid you’re more than just a parent but were once their age and full of wonderment as well.

Thanks to my parents for always knowing how to talk to us without being preachy. I really heard everything you said and have taken it to heart. 🙂

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and left thoughtful answers to the question. Your comments are being republished on my blog, Check out the series on Communicating with your kids.

Thank you also to BlogHer for sponsoring this giveaway.


MOM & teens
This is a compensated review from BlogHer

Post Theme: How you keep the lines of communication open with your children as they grow older and gain more freedom.

There is an old saying about children (well it was more commonly applied to men) being tied to their mother’s apron strings. Basically, it meant that they still need their mother and cannot think independently. Nowadays, that apron string is getting longer or has totally disappeared.

My daughters are in their teens now. The two older ones will be 17 and 18 next year and before you know it, they will be out on their own. The last couple of years they have been stretching the string quite taut. As parents, I think my husband and I have been very protective of them. They never rode the school bus, for instance. Even though it was inconvenient at times, we’d rather drive them to and pick them up from school daily than to trust their safety to strangers. One year, they were in three different schools and it seemed that all my husband and I did was drive them around all day!

When they got to high school their social life picked up a lot. They wanted to hang out with their friends more, they wanted to go to games, and dances and parties. We wanted to keep them home, in sight and safe but we knew that would be impossible. We realized it would be a battle we couldn’t win so instead, we loosened the leash. We thought about how it was when we were their age and how we snuck around behind our parent’s back and still managed to do all the things they forbade us to do. That’s not the kind of relationship we wanted with our daughters. We wanted them to be able to come to us for anything. We didn’t want them to ever feel like they had no one else to turn to. So we changed a few rules around our house. After a lot of talking, discussions and negotiations, we implemented some changes to our household. We slacked off on some of the old ones and either amended or got rid of others. Here’s a few of the things we did to keep the lines of communication with our daughters as they get older:

  1. School Transport – they are so used to use driving them now and have heard so many horror stories about riding the bus that they are perfectly happy to have us drive them to and from school. Besides, the time in the car is always great for talking and catching up. But they are also now of driving age so we are presently discussing getting a car for them to share and use to travel to and from school. We’re still ironing out the ground rules for this.
  2. Dating – We knew this was coming no matter how we tried to deny it. So the next best thing is to accept it. They both have had boyfriends although at the moment they are both ‘single’ according to their facebook profiles. The general rule about boyfriends is that they should be introduced to mom and dad. Boyfriends can come visit them at home and hang out but they can’t go to their boyfriend’s hose. They can go on dates provided mom and dad has their whole itinerary before they go out of the house. No overnight trips with boyfriends.
  3. Sleep Overs – my girls were never allowed to sleep over their friend’s homes when they were younger. It’s only after they got to high school that we finally allowed them to do this once in a while and only in homes of friends that we are familiar with. I drop them off at the home where they will be sleeping over and pick them up.
  4. Hanging out with friends – when they have the opportunity, we allow them to hang out with their friends, either outside the house (mall, restaurant, concert, etc) or in our house even on weekdays. BUT they have to maintain their grades. If their grades start slipping or they start missing homework, then the ‘hang out time’ gets cut out.
  5. Technology – they were not the kids who had cell phones and ipods and game boys in their younger years. They still aren’t now but we did get them cell phones when they started going out with friends and having more after-school activities. We have a standing rule that no matter where they are, no matter what time it is, they can call mom and dad to come and get them. If they want iPods, games or other gadgets, they have to earn the money to pay for them.
  6. Social Networks – while the MySpace horror stories used to scare us into letting them even have anything to do with social networking, we also realize that being online is part of their generation. It is part of their lives. So we jumped right in with them. They know that mom and dad are watching and I don’t hesitate to say something when I see them saying or doing things online that is improper or inapropriate. They also know that wherever they decide to socialize, mom and/or dad has to have access to their accounts. They also know that mom and dad probably won’t be checking much on them unless they have a good reason to. It’s a matter of trust.
  7. Chores – because we feel that cell phones are important for them to have and for us to be able to get in touch with them when we need to, we pay for their services. However, they also have to do more chores around the house. They are now young ladies and they are old enough to contribute to the household. Some of the chores they do: laundry, dish washing, sweeping the floor, cleaning bathrooms, cooking, dusting, and taking out the trash.

The bottom line on keeping the lines of communication open with our kids is, TALK. We talk a lot and often. Most importantly, as parents who tend to be on the overprotective side, TRY NOT TO JUDGE. Sometimes they just want to talk things out. They don’t always need our advice or opinion, they just need us to LISTEN. AND sometimes, even though we may disagree with some of their decisions, we have to trust that they have learned enough to be able to make the right decision for them.

WIN $200 Visa Gift Card

Thanks to our sponsor BlogHer, you can win a $200 Visa Gift Card by following the rules below:

To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me How you keep the lines of communication open with your children as they grow older and gain more freedom – or you may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. The contest will begin at 9:00 a.m. (PST) August 10, 2009 and will end 5:00 p.m. (PST) September 4, 2009. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.


* No duplicate comments.
* You may receive an additional entry by following me on twitter and tweet this contest. Leaving a link to your tweet in the comments. Note: There is also a re-tweet and ‘share this’ button at the end of this post for your convenience.
* You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments. (5 additional entries for answering the question on your blog and linking back to this post)
* This giveaway is open to US-residents, 18 and over
* Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
* You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
* Please see the official rules here: Official Rules

For eight more chances to win a $200 Visa gift card, click on the link below:

Check out how other BlogHer Reviewers keep lines of communication open with their growing kids – you’ve got 8 other chances to win a $200 Visa gift card!

Find more info for keeping in touch with your kids here.

189 thoughts on “Communicate with your Kids & Win a $200 Visa Card!

  1. I keep communication through dinner by inspiring good discussion and not being forceful or demanding of them. It is a relaxing time!

  2. I know it’s coming – dating, mass transit, sleep overs, road trips for team sports and late rehearsals for performing arts. For now, however, we communicate face to face. The girls are only 6 & 9. We eat our dinners together as a family with no TV, telephone or texting to interupt our live conversations. Here we catch up, plan ahead, share our thoughts and sometimes our dreams.

    Is the cell phone in their future. Probably. It’s tough to imagine a teen without one, and in 10 years, they’ll probably be implanted! 😉

  3. My kids are too young for cell phones (though my 9 year old asks for one) but when she wants to walk to her friends house around the corner she takes the walkie talkie radios so she can let me know when she gets there and when she is coming home. She knows she can ask us any questions she has about anything and we will answer her honestly. She also knows that lying is a big no-no and punishments are much larger if they are caught in a lie.

  4. When I am talking with my kids I relly work hard to just LISTEN. I make sure I am really HEARING what they are saying.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  5. I still have a 14 year old son and a 13 year old daughter at home. We make it a point to eat dinner together at least five days a week. We have a family movie night once a week and each one can invite one friend. I love spending time with my childen and it keeps us close plus we can talk to each other about anything.

  6. My kids are 8 & 12. We have a pretty open policy with talking & my husband is great with talking about sensitive topics with our girls. They always feel comfortable going to one of us luckily. We use email, cel phones & then a family notebook to communicate. The family notebook, is just a spiral notebook that anyone can stick a note in. We just keep it till it is full. It is also nice to keep it because it is like a little snapshot of our life at the time.

  7. I wasn’t expecting things to be so difficult between my daughter and I and it seemed she was always upset so I gave her the option to visit a therapist when she was 5 because I didn’t want the cycle to continue. We went as a family and after a few sessions she felt comfortable communicating with us all and isn’t screaming or saying hate anymore. It has been wonderful to have her communicate with me.

  8. My kids are pretty young yet…but for my teenage stepdaughters are main thing is that our door is always open and they are free to call us for any reason. For my younger kids…when they come home from school we try to talk about their day.

  9. My children are quite young, but establishing good communication with them is still very important. I take the time to listen (i.e. stop whatever else I’m doing) to my 5 year old… even if it’s rambling – he usually has a point. Also, we try to have livley discussions at dinner.

  10. Great post! Wonderful ideas on the issue of communication, which many parents struggle with in this day and age. I recently got my kids cell phones over the summer, as I wanted to keep contact etc. I got my two boys (11 and 13) a Motorola W376 from Target for $30 with a $7 a month charge for the minimum contract we need to keep in contact and my boys have been sending texts and photos of whatever they’re getting up to. They love their phones and it puts my mind at ease, as I know I can contact them at any time. The results have been wonderful, the Tracfones facilitated a summer of smiles! I would recommend this deal to any parent

  11. My child is still a toddler so it doesn’t quite apply to us yet, but I have a 17 yr old brother (my mom had him really late) and a younger sister. Growing up with them so much younger than me, I learned a lot of ways to keep communication going. Sometimes they tend to look at me as a second parent. Whenever they would visit when they were younger there were always rules at my house. At home they could get a way with a lot but not with me. One thing I think that helped them keep their respect for me and keep the lines open was that I never immediately judge(d) them. I have always talked things out with them and they know they can come to me when they need to. And thankfully they do. And when I say I talked to them I mean in person.. not over email, not through text. I think spending quality time together is very important. It doesn’t have to feel to them like they’re being forced to hang out with you or lose time with their friends if part of the time you spend together is not always serious. Ie: Game night, visiting museums (education and fun), etc.

    I hope to put these things into practice with my own child once my son is older.

    Great post btw.

  12. My 18 year old daughter just started her second year of college! We have to stay in touch with Lots of texting, emails and cell phone calls! BUT we talk at least once daily on the phone. Texting is fairly new to me, but because of My daughter I had to adapt, get an UNLIMITED plan and ADAPT.. that is how ya have to be!!
    It is about adapting and being open to communicating, however it is!!!!

    Many thanks for the chance to win!!

  13. I have 3 children, a son 30, a daughter 25 and my youngest daughter who is 15. Age difference make all the difference in connecting with her on her level. My two older children are married so my 15 year old has 6 parents that keep her on the right track. Each of us have contributed to her growth as a person with values, morals, hopes and dreams. She also has the fears and anxiety of the teenage years; but, with older siblings guiding her and her being able to talk to them she is able to feel better about this age. I let myself be open to her when she wants to talk; not, when it suits me… even if it’s bedtime and she sits on the edge of my bed and shares her views on religion, her sisters pregnancy, books she has read or just events at her summer job at the community pool.

    My husband has his most important talks with her while in the car running errands, going to work or school. It amazes me at times when my husband and I discuss her talks how grown up she is in her views and opinions and how open she is with us… I think it has helped her being the youngest with older siblings and my husband and I learning from our older ones … to always listen, to always HEAR them, and to let them talk whether its silly or serious because sometimes the most important things can be said at the silliest of times as well as the deep heart to heart talks.

  14. Having kid is precious to us. We always enjoy with our kids and have more fun with them by taking them out, buying their favorite toys and helping them to study and much more

  15. listening and sharing. a good parent and child relationship should be based on give and take in terms of conversation 🙂

  16. My daughter is still a toddler but communication is still key at this age. I communicate through my words and actions through play, discipline, and everything in between

  17. My daughter is going on two years old and communication is very important in terms of boundries and rules. I have to make sure she understand when I tell her its not ok to do something and follow through with it. We love to laugh and have fun too

  18. I try to always take time to really listen to them no matter how busy I am or what I am doing. I make sure they know that I think what they have to say is important.

  19. Like many others have commented, I find my kids are more likely to open up in the car, when it is just me and one of them. Lately this has been harder though, since my oldest is 16 and has her learner’s permit. I find it harder to talk to her when she is driving, since I don’t want to distract her and also I am very nervous when she drives. So we have started going out for coffee once a week while her sister is at dance. She likes having special time just with me, and going out for coffee makes her feel grown up too. She is pretty good at letting me know what is bothering her. We have had lots of good talks lately about college, and her worries about fitting in.

  20. I let my kids kids have just talk time. Where I am just their sounding off board. Sometimes it is hard because I want to give my opinions and advice but I give it when they ask or they really need it. They come to me now because they know I will listen. I have learned so much more about them because of this.

  21. Cellphone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype…so many ways to stay in touch

    And you have to be a good listener, that’s the most important thing 🙂

  22. Staying connected, at this point, is less about seeing them often enough, or spending appropriate amounts of time, and more about paying attention.

    I have quadruplet boys who are only 2 years old, so at this point, the problems with our communications have more to do with undertanding one another than finding gadgets or ways to stay connected.

    Eventually, I am sure it will be more about getting that quality time with the kids, but I think it will always be primarily an issue of making sure I do more listening than talking, and making what I do have to say counts. I hope that if I genuinely listen to them, I can be wiser in how I respond, and make them see that I do care what they say, even if I end up disagreeing and not allowing them to have their way.

    Brad Murray

  23. My daughter is young, but from my childhood, it helps to have general conversations about the family situation, not just kid stuff versus parent stuff

  24. We talk when we are getting ready for dinner. We talk when we are cleaning around the house. Just spending time together.

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