Although there are some risks in being self-disclosing, the potential benefits are overwhelming--both for yourself and for your relationships with others, especially your children. These benefits include:
Knowing Yourself Better
When you disclose yourself to your children and others, you are, at the same time, talking to yourself, keeping in touch with your own thoughts and feelings, values, and beliefs. You maintain awareness, responsibility, and control of your inner experiences.
Liking Yourself Better
You feel better about yourself as a parent, and as a person, when you are open, honest, and clear with your children; when you express who you are and what you think and believe, you feel strong, responsible, confident.
Being Better Understood By Others
Your self-disclosure leads to a more accurate understanding by others of who you really are. Your children will know the important thoughts, feelings, and values you want them to know. They won't be confused, in the dark, and worried about where you stand on certain issues. Tension and uncertainty will be replaced by a new, secure awareness of who you reall are.
Encouraging Self-Disclosure In Your Child
Your openness, directness, and sincerity will invariably encourage the same from your children and from others around you. Honesty is very contagious in families when it is modeled by the parent, along with the attitude that the home is a "safe place" for everyone to express true thoughts and feelings. Generally, this kind of self-disclosure draws families closer together. Indifference, alienation, and tension recede. Trust and mutual caring take their place.
Conflicts Are Prevented
The other members of your family can better meet your needs when they have a clear picture of what you want. The chances of having conflicts with your children resulting from unknown or uncommunicated needs are thus greatly reduced. Expressing yourself openly and clearly will eliminate unwanted surprise, unpreparedness, and the unexpected from your relationships. In a family where openness and genuineness prevail, tension, resentment, and silent suffering simply have no opportunity to grow.
For more on how to use effective self-disclosure, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out the P.E.T. book.