30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success: Be Honest With Your Child(ren) 💚 (18/30)

30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success: Be Honest With Your Children💚 (18/30)

In this podcast episode, I encourage you to be an example for your child(ren) in sharing emotions you are experiencing with them.

"Let’s walk through an example. What if your emerging adult is about to head off on a solo trip across the country to meet friends and have a great time - but you catch yourself in a twinge  - to say the least - about all the things that could go wrong."

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 Looking for an episode transcript? You'll find it below! 

Episode Topics & Their Minute Markers

  • 00:43 Skip the intro & jump into today's topic
  • 08:21 Journal Prompt

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"Let’s walk through an example. What if your emerging adult is about to head off on a solo trip across the country to meet friends and have a great time - but you catch yourself in a twinge  - to say the least - about all the things that could go wrong."

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The Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast, Episode 186

30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success: Be Honest With Your Children (18/30)


[level-up music]

Be honest with your child(ren) is our topic for today (Day 18) in the 30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success.   

[upbeat music under intro]

If this is your first time listening,  know we are diving into the challenge content. If you like what you hear, jump back to the episode titled “Getting Started with the 30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success” and then work your way through from the beginning - or visit EmptyNestSuccess.com to sign up for daily or weekly email delivery of this challenge that will lead you to companion videos, additional journal prompts, resources and more! 

Here we go: 

[end music]


Amazing human and beautiful soul, be honest with your children. Oh my gosh, I don't mean pull up all of your deep dark secrets from your childhood and share them with your kids. Although, if you want to go there, you might get some laughs and some memories. 

[birds chirp] Apparently we have a guest today [chirps], Yes, the birds have stopped by and they’re just going to be part of the recording today.

Back to your deep dark secrets, that was not where I was headed with this. Where I am focused is on the societal pressure to - for lack of better wording- hold all of our shit together emotionally - so that everyone around you feels as comfortable as possible.

When your children are going through a rough time and need a safe space, this isn’t the timing I suggest diving into this one, for sure.

But if they have never seen you emote in any way, if they have never seen you process through emotions, label your emotions - maybe you’ve never given yourself permission to do so - for those little heavier emotions in particular such as anger and sadness and other ones and to get to the other side of them. 

What if the next time that you begin to feel strong-er emotions (and they’re not struggling), what if you consider being honest with them on what you are experiencing? 


If we’ve been strong and successful at hiding and not processing through  our emotions, it is likely that our children may not be comfortable expressing their own either, or when they do, it may come out super strong because they’ve been bottling them up. 

If this is a new-er consideration for you, I invite you to the next time that you have a strong emotion and you catch yourself thinking,” Ooo,  I need to hold this back,” consider in that moment bringing it into the physical space through your words. Label it. Be curious about the emotions and share it verbally - what you are experiencing. 

Sometimes simply labeling that emotion releases some of its hold on you.  And, try to expand your emotional vocabulary - everything doesn’t have to be the top three: happy, sad and angry. 


Let’s walk through an example. What if your emerging adult is about to head off on a solo trip across the country to meet friends and have a great time - but you catch yourself in a twinge  - to say the least - about all the things that could go wrong. Maybe those twinges that are making you feel concerned or worried or nervous,  (maybe even envious) or you're going to miss them and what about this thing? Did you think of that? Basically you go to all the what ifs that can go wrong - and those aren’t fun. 

Let’s say you catch that emotion and consider being honest with your child. 

Maybe that looks like telling them something like, 

[upbeat music under thoughts]

“Wow, I’m really excited for this adventure for you, but I have to be honest, there are a lot of emotions coming up for me that I need to work through on my own. There are a lot of thoughts going on through my mind. I need to process through them, look at them, let go of some of them, and take a deeper look at some. I figure, I’ll be honest with you that I have these feelings. It's not, however, your place to solve this for me. These are mine to work though. If you want to talk about them, great, but it's really my work to do.  Oh, and by the way, if you catch me reacting emotionally, I’m okay with you asking me to see if that emotion is one I know I am having in the moment. Sometimes, I just automatically react and don’t think about it. But that doesn’t make it necessary.”

[end music]


Okay, so that’s an example of someone who is really wanting to do the work. Start small.  Maybe, for six months, you’re just noticing the emotions and never mentioning it to them, but one day, it might be nice to share. And not share as if [they’re] your therapist but simply say, “I’m excited for you. I’m a little sad but I’ll be okay.” That’s all you have to do. 

While it may sound like a lot, can you imagine being this vulnerable with your child? Think about the example you’re setting as well: telling them it is okay to be sad or angry. 

We've talked in prior episodes about the thought-box-deliveries that come into your mind. Which means, in our analogy, you know that the happenings causing this are outside of your fence. In this example:  your child heading out on this trip. 

What has your protector done? Well they’ve chosen to put it on high alert, shove some thought-box-deliveries into your house and put a spotlight on them. The alarms are going off, you feel the rumblings of emotions inside the box, but you're not opening them. Which means, you have energy build up within that box and you may be reacting in a not so great way because of all of the rumblings, and you’re allowing them to keep rumbling and not opening the box to check on it. Make sense? 


So what’s the option? 

You could think: “They're going on this adventure. I’m gonna hold the space for them to share about their adventure. I don’t want to be the one to get in the way. They have the funds, they know what they are doing. They are going to have a great time.”

However, I’m going to pay attention to these thoughts that come into my mind.  It might be time in our analogy and imagery - to imagine that we have a meeting with our protector and say “when we see anything come in - thoughts that come in - about this trip, that we’re automatically not going to put any of them on red alert. Our focus is to purely have happy thoughts for our child. We can take a look at these thoughts later - they’re going to be around.  

It’s really good later, then, to think about the thoughts that keep coming up time and time again. Considering where they’re coming from,  who is sending them? Are they being sent from maybe, your parents when you were a child you heard what you are hearing in your mind now. 

Take a look at those thoughts. Open them up. See what emotions come out. And think, “are these worth having?” 


Now, when you come from a loving space,  and you pay attention to your thoughts, you might actually find some of these are definitely worth vocalizing - you know things like, “Hey, have you thought about …. How about… do you have a plan if this thing happens? Can I help you in any way?” 

Here’s a good go to: “You know me, I like to dive in and plan things for everyone, but how about I back off and you let me know if there is something you can use my assistance with?”

Now back to your strong emotions: allow a conversation to come out of them, when you have them, and it works. Help your kids to see that as a human, it's okay to have emotions - even angry ones. It’s what you do with that that matters. 

So, maybe be angry - not at your kid but give it a name and figure out how to process through it. Maybe get the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, put on your sad movie and cry. Let your kids know you’ll feel better after doing that. And bonus - your sinuses are clear!

Ultimately, if you start leaning into your own emotions, and show up differently, you get to set a new example - it’s never too late. Your child - of any age - might first be thrown by the change, but your relationship that you have going forward with your child is one that now has the opportunity to become deeper, stronger, and in some ways, way more fun. 


[level-up music]

Your journal prompt for today is … Describe a time when you shared your emotions with your child. How did it go? What would you change about it, if you could do it over again? And if the answer is you’ve never shared your emotions - can you think of a time when it might have been a not-so-bad idea to have done that?


[level-up music]

As always, I provide content to make you think. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a moment to follow this podcast - it is free after all - AND become this podcast's hero by sharing it with others! You’ll find links to additional resources, time markers and more in the show notes. 

[exit music - upbeat]

Thanks for listening today, pay attention to your emotions, and don’t you dare forget that you are amazing! 

Chat next time!


Your Empty Nest Coach Christine has her arms out wide and looking up to the sky while in nature, text leads to the online home for the 30-Day  Challenge to Empty Nest Success

30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success

It's time to take control of your new reality and turn it into a positive experience. Do the FREE 30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success and get started on your amazing new chapter in life! All are welcome - whether the empty nest is ahead or you've been in it for years and anywhere between.