I had never heard this saying before about a year ago. The explanation is that if you don’t open your mouth and tell people what you want, you can’t expect to get it. You still may not get what you ask if you ask, but you will never know if you don’t ask.
This is something that I am not good at. I have extreme trouble expressing my needs and desires and I am a people pleaser. I would rather visit the dentist than ask someone for help. This can cause all kinds of problems in relationships, so this is something I am attempting to teach my children to do in the right manner.
The longer I parent, the more I realize that it’s ok to let kids voice their feelings as long as they can do it respectfully. Allowing kids to do this is especially important for kids who have experienced trauma. Kids who have felt like they have no control, need to know that that we hear their concerns and desires. I’m not saying to turn your kids into monsters who are always asking for material things, but make your home a safe place where they learn to ask for what they need or want. A lot of times we would be glad to help out others, if we just knew that they needed help. So realize that other people feel the same way about us-they would do something for us if we would just ask.
An example of how opening your mouth can work in real life- Hudson has fallen in love with all things small engine. He has been getting free and inexpensive lawnmowers and fixing them up and selling them. He has learned all kinds of information online, but was wanting to learn more, and neither Keith nor I know anything about engines. I saw that our local state college was offering an Adult Education class on Small Engine Repair. My past self would have said to myself, “There is no way that they would let a child into that class.” I would have talked myself out of even asking. But I am trying to implement this principle of opening my mouth – I sent an email to the instructor telling him a little about Hudson and asking if it would be possible for him to take the class. The entire staff was so nice and went out of their way to make it happen. Hudson is enjoying this class and learning great information. He could have missed this whole experience if I didn’t bother asking because I was anticipating rejection.
We also have to teach them to accept and respect a “No” when they make a request. Two of my kids were wanting to join Toastmasters to help them with their public speaking since we are starting to do more videos. I sent a similar email to our local Toastmaster’s group, but the President responded and said that they could not do it; they need to be twenty-one years old. We accepted that answer and went on to find our next challenge.
Do you struggle with sharing your feelings and needs? How are you teaching your children to ask for what they need?