4 Big Assumptions We Make About Our Children.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Lets be honest, life gets busy, and life is hectic. Between balancing careers, friendships, our marriages, and our hobbies, we're stretched pretty thin. Often times, though, our children get caught in the whirlwind of our on-the-go life, and we assume they understand why we're not paying attention. We may be missing something bigger!

My son had been talking for an hour, at least. He wanted to know why clouds were shaped like cotton balls, why dogs like to lick your face, if the sun really had a pointy crown around its face like the one in his book, and if dragons were real. I was driving and thinking. Not about what he was saying, though. There was a scrolling list running through my mind and I was trying my best to keep up.

  • Job duties.
  • Finances.
  • Home to-do list
  • Deadline.
  • Emails.
  • Meeting agenda.
  • Repeat….repeat…repeat…

Pretty soon his questions tapered off and he fell asleep as the car hummed along on the expressway. I hadn’t even noticed that he wasn’t talking anymore. It wasn’t until I glanced up to the rearview mirror that I noticed. And that’s when it hit me- while I could really do nothing to avoid the mechanics of my job, I could pay attention to my 7 -year old more.

Our Misunderstanding.

I wonder- how often do we all do this to our children? How often do we blow past them and assume they understand? Sure, we have to work for a living. That’s a given. Is it getting out of hand though? Is our lack of connection to our children due to working, or doing, too much, or not using our time wisely? Have we overloaded ourselves to the point of crumbling?

I don’t know about you, but instead of making some personal changes, I tend to justify my busyness. Honestly, I think this is something we all do. We assume that our families, particularly our children, get why we are so distracted and absent. If we look closer, however, we may see some assumptions we’ve made about our children that really aren’t true, or a bit inaccurate…

4 Big Assumptions We Make About Our Children:

  1. “They’re resilient.” We get into this mode of thinking that our children can take it, that they’re strong, and they know their mom and dad have lots of work to finish. We convince ourselves that they understand why we can’t play catch or a game of cards right now. Wrong. While they may understand that we have to work for a living, they do not understand why we are constantly distracted, running late for their baseball game, or grouchy after a long day. Their little minds cannot see past one small pixel of the bigger picture of life. Don’t assume they can see the whole thing. Your adult problems are a galaxy away from their childish problems. When you and I are absent a lot, distracted often, and constantly too busy for them, it weakens their self-confidence and dampens their spirit.
  2. “They know how much I love them.” Love is shared through words, but it’s brought to life by action. Keep that at the forefront of your thinking. I’m saying that for me as well as anyone else reading. For years I thought my kids knew I loved them. And, they did, because their hearts were tuned to me as their father. But they needed to experience my love for them in action, and not just in word. When we get busy, we start throwing the “I love you’s” out a lot. But the amount of love-in-action decreases significantly and our children notice that because they are wired to love.
  3. “They understand how busy I am.” Much like #1, we justify our busy schedules and our decrease in involvement  in their lives by the busyness factor. “Well, I’m just in a busy season right now. That will change soon. I just need to get through ________, and I’ll spend time with my kids!” The problem with a statement like this (and you can fill in the blank), is that once we get through that particular “I just need to,” there’s another “I just need to,” and another after that. It never ends. And it won’t. That’s life. We have to be intentional here with our children. It requires us to intentionally stop and spend time with them, on a regular, consistent basis. Waiting until the “I just need to” ends won’t cut it.
  4. “They’re waiting for quality time with me.” Have you ever said this statement to yourself when you’re busy at work- “I just need to work really hard until vacation and then I’ll spend quality time with my family!”? I have. In fact, as I’ve been preparing to launch a new book and video series I’ve been extremely busy. So much so that I have looked at our family vacation in a few weeks and said that statement to myself. The problem with thinking this way, or circling a date in the future to “make it to,” is that we are neglecting the smaller, seemingly less-significant times with our children in the meantime. Instead of pinpointing a big vacation date down the road, or a holiday weekend, as your time to spend quality time with your children, take the opportunity you have in the in-between to spend time with them. These times are smaller but more frequent. If you do this in quantity, it could become quality. Fact is, your children aren’t eagerly awaiting the big family vacation to the beach in a month, as the time they get to spend with you, as much as they’re wondering where you are every evening before bedtime.

Now that your breath has been knocked out and you’re feeling like a failure, let me encourage you with this:

While your children may not be as resilient as you thought they were, and need you more than you realized, they are very forgiving. In fact, just the other night, I made a mistake with my youngest son and I apologized (almost in tears) to him. He said, in his little mouse voice, “It’s okay daddy…I forgive you!” He meant it too. The next morning he came down from his room and climbed up into my lap like he always does.

Your children are just as forgiving. They will forgive you for being absent and not paying attention to them, But, because they are so forgiving, that means you and I have to work at putting them first. It starts today! Are you ready to make some big changes?

Have you struggled with the busyness factor lately? How are you working through it?

Get our brand new resource, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox, today! We’ve packed 13 years of adoption insight and knowledge from our own experience, and the perspectives of hundreds of others, into an eBook and video series. Access to this in-depth and comprehensive series gives you over $200 in bonus features. Click here for full access!

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.