A Honest Relationship

Interpersonal Relationships are not taught in school. Schools are usually a petri dish of dysfunction and, as the adults, we feel like this is a rite of passage. When our kids experience rejection and the backlash of pettiness with a smothering of cruelty, we remind them that this is a temporary situation and everyone will grow out of it. What we don’t realize is that these formative years are also teaching our kids how to behave in relationships. So what should we be teaching them?

be honest

Honest communication

In high school we are bombarded with messages and ways of being that make us successful in that arena. The meta-message to all this interpersonal education is that honest communication does not work. Being coy or elusive is a better strategy than being honest. A façade will garner more attention while those who are true to themselves are seen as odd. We learn things like mind-reading is a form of love. We learn that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. We learn that bravado is rewarded and emotions are mocked.

As parents, it is our solemn duty to teach our kids the strategies that will work for them and, more importantly, the ways of being that will keep them mentally healthy. Honest communication is the foundation of a relationship. Building a relationship on lies or mystery is the same as building a home on quick sand. One morning you will wake up and he will see that you are not always a super model or you will find that he has emotions and isn’t made of stone. One day you will not be so put-together and they will realize you are not perfect. One day you will take down your guard and reveal the real you but they will not appreciate the deceit up until that point.

Living honestly requires no need to recall what has been said in the past. You are not tethered to lies. When you teach your child honest communication, you have also taught them that they ask for what they want. You have taught them that mind-reading is a cute trick for a lounge act but has no place in a healthy relationship. You have also taught them what they do not want from a partner. This is more than a way of being but also what you expect from people in your life. That’s right! Now your kid will expect everyone to be honest and those who are dishonest do not get to be in their life. Yes, this also means you better practice what you preach.

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