One of the things I have always admired about my sister’s relationship with her eldest daughter (who is now a grown adult) is the fact that they are able to talk about anything – genuine, open, honest communication. I’m pretty sure they’ve had their moments but by and large they have always been close and talked about everything.
It’s something I aspire to with Ellie and I do believe we are really close but, at age 8, Ellie has developed two bad habits when it comes to communicating with me.
First – I have caught Ellie telling me little white lies more and more over the last few months. It can be anything from saying she’s brushed her teeth or combed her hair when she hasn’t, to telling me she put something away when she clearly hasn’t. It’s always small things and ridiculously easy things to spot (at least the ones I know!) – often that’s part of my frustration – why lie at all about something so silly! I can’t help but worry that it seems to be setting a horrible pattern for the future.
Second- she is fond of saying ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. This has usually been the line given when I want to discuss what she did wrong or why I sent her to her room, so I haven’t worried too much as I figure that’s pretty normal. The other weekend however, something happened that upset her when she wasn’t with me and whilst the responsible adult she was with told me about it, Ellie tried everything to avoid discussing it.
If I’m really honest – this is the first time I’ve felt truly frightened about how things will be when Ellie is older – I don’t want a teenager, going through all the stuff teenagers do, who doesn’t want or feel able to talk to me. I might of course be overthinking this (it wouldn’t be the first time) but I can’t help but wonder what I can do to make sure she always talks to me.
I’ve already had a conversation with Ellie where I reminded her that she can tell me anything, that I love her always and am always there for her – no matter what. I’ve also reminded her on several occasions that she must always be honest with me and we’ve talked through a version of the cry wolf story several times. So far though, that’s all I’ve got and that doesn’t quite seem enough.
So as ever – any ideas or similar experiences you’re willing to share are most welcome! Please comment below.