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Raising Kids Who Want to Talk to Us

How do you get your kids to want to talk to you? How do you foster open communication and trust? In this episode, Jesse and I share some lessons we’ve learned the hard way when it comes to building trust with our kids.

Missed previous episodes of The Crystal Paine show? You can listen to them here.

Building Trust With Our Kids

“Do you feel like you can come to us and share your struggles honestly?”

We sat the girls down last week and asked them this question. I told them that someone had requested we do a podcast episode on building trust and open communication with your kids and we wanted to get their truthful opinion on whether they felt it was a topic we could tackle.

Four years ago, I was deep in the trenches of parenting for my own reputation. When a child was struggling or had made a bad choice, I approached it — unknowingly — from the perspective of, “What will make me look good as a parent?”

It’s hard to admit that out loud, but it’s true. I cared way more what people thought of ME than I cared about my kids’ hearts.

As a result of this, I wasn’t close with my kids. I didn’t truly know their hearts.

There wasn’t a trust relationship built up and they didn’t feel like they could honestly share how they felt — because I would probably snap at them if I felt like they weren’t approaching something maturely enough. (They’ve since told me this was how they felt.)

The Guilt I Carried as a Mom

There was very little grace in my parenting and I carried around a heavy backpack full of guilt… for how I was failing, for the ways my kids weren’t living up to my expectations of them. All of this was rooted in my unhealthy prioritization of what others thought of me.

In turn, I became my kids’ critic, nit-picker, and Holy Spirit. I struggled to see the good because I was constantly frustrated by how they were falling short.

And every day, I was driving a bigger wedge between my kids and me.

This week on the podcast — with the girls’ blessing and lots of their input and suggestions (!) — we share what has changed in the way we approach parenting. We talk about practical ways we’ve fostered trust and good communication with our kids (most of the ideas we share are suggestions the girls gave — and they did not hold back in their thoughts and opinions on this!)

In This Episode: 

[00:57] – Jesse and I recap our travel adventures in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho — including our thoughts on Grand Teton National ParkYellowstone National Park, and Old Faithful.

[19:49] – Believe it or not, Jesse read more than me this past week! He shares the two books he recently finished.

[22:00] – Want your kids to keep reading over the summer? Check out this printable we created!

[23:41] – On this episode, we answer another one of our listener’s questions about establishing a trusting and open relationship with our kids. We talk about the importance of making time for one-on-one conversations, but not trying to force them. {Kathrynne’s advice!}

[29:19] – We also discuss how being willing to apologize and admit when we’re wrong can make such a difference. One thing that has made a big difference is us acknowledging with our kids that feelings are not wrong, but it’s how we act on those feelings.

[31:57] – Ask questions to open the doors of communication and listen rather than preach sermons! Step into your kid’s world and invite them to share in yours. Spend time doing things that your kids like to do!

[40:13] – We share ways we’ve let the kids make their own decisions in their lives, allowing us to build our trust.

Links and Resources:

Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

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  • Patty says:

    This episode was so much fun to listen to, mostly because we are drinking home from Grand Tetons and we spent time in Yellowstone last summer. LOVED the Tetons, but I have to argue that you needed more than 1 1/2 hrs there! Such a beautiful part of God’s creation!

  • Lindsey Swinborne says:

    Welcome to our world of no people, no cell service, vast prairie and mountains! Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play…….
    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons, even if it was short. Mid to late June you can see a lot of grizzly bears too. Glad you stayed to watch Old Faithful. That would have been sad for you to miss it!

    I’m a born-and-raised WY gal who loves her state, but I don’t love driving all the time. Everything is so far apart and we drive, drive, drive so much to various things. I’m not a big fan of driving, but my husband is.

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