Sometimes I struggle with telling my kids the truth about themselves. Not so much the good…but the bad and the ugly. I know it’s my job to help them grow.

I want to be their cheerleader.

I want to believe they can do anything.

I want them to go for their dreams.

But then I watch the American Idol tryouts and I think to myself, “that child’s mama should be shot!” She knew his voice caused cats to fight in the back ally. Why didn’t she tell him?

She didn’t have the heart.

She couldn’t find a way to redirect his passion.

She didn’t want to crush his dreams.

So how do you balance a belief that your child can do anything with the reality that he will never pitch in the major leagues?

When should you fuel his dreams?

Nobody wants to be a dream crusher. Especially when it comes to their kids.

Here’s what I try to do:

1.  Mostly encourage.

I want to make sure that for most of their lives I’ve communicated in a way that encourages my kids to try new things and to pursue their dreams. Negative feedback is a withdrawal. It can hurt. I want them to be so filled up with encouragement that they can listen to and grow from the negatives that will come their way.

2. Tell the truth.

This is the tough one. But if you can learn to tell your kids the truth in a way that doesn’t wound them, they will learn to trust your advice.

NOT: Your singing makes my ears bleed.

MAYBE: Not everyone can be a great singer, but I love to watch you on the ball field.

3. Always believe in THEM.

Even if I don’t think that my children will be Olympic swimmers, I do believe that there are valuable lessons to be learned in the training process. I believe in them. I am for their growth. I want them to glean everything they can from a given opportunity.

4. Leave room for possibilities.

I don’t know what the future holds for my kids. I believe that God has a plan for their lives. I believe that my kids will accomplish things in their life that are far beyond what I currently imagine. I want them to grow up OPEN to the possibilities that God has for them.

Giving your kids honest critical feedback is tough. But I think to myself…if not your mama…then who?

I would love your advice.

What do you do when you need to give difficult feedback to your kids?