Become your child’s HR Representative

Gena DiMuro

My Dad always said, “the bigger the kid, the bigger the problem.” He also inadvertently taught me every bad word in one sentence. Ironically, that became my coping mechanism with the bigger kid, bigger problem dilemma, but I digress. 

His advice puzzled me as I held my sleepless newborn while recovering from sore nipples, and healing in places I didn’t know existed. These were big problems derived from a teeny human – how much more difficult could parenting get!  

Imagining my fussy baby achieving independence sounded magical at that point, not problematic. But eventually, my kids grew into tweens, and my Dad’s wise words came to life.  

The more independent my kids became, the larger their circle of influence became. More freedom led to increased exposure to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Loosening my grip on their every move allowed the world to tighten its grip on their innocence.  

Watching your child gain independence IS magical, but it comes with many life lessons. Elanor Roosevelt (the OG of affirmations) once said, “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.”  

We must achieve responsibility before claiming a stake in our independence. Since responsibility is not an innate skill, it’s up to parents to lay the foundation.  

You may wonder… 

How do we teach our children to rise to the occasion yet give them space to fumble and fail?  

How do we let our kids fall while giving them the tools to soar? 

How do we tackle tough topics without completely tearing away their innocence?  

Our answer: Become your child’s HR Representative.  

According to, “Human resources is a department in a workplace that focuses on a company’s most important asset—its employees—to ensure they’re satisfied, engaged, and have all the resources they need to perform as expected.” 

In this case, the most important asset is your child. The workplace is their everyday life. The goal is to provide the resources they need to thrive as strong, responsible human beings. 

We sought answers from the best experts around, moms! These are moms living and breathing the same complicated moments as you. Moms who want better for their kids. The situations are real, and the solutions apply to all ages. Sit back and settle in as we review three methods to getting started as your child’s HR representative.  

Step 1: Create a safe place explains that “Human Resources often acts as a mediator between employees and upper management or fellow employees. When employees face an issue at work, they should feel comfortable going to the human resources department for guidance, advice, or to document concerns.” 

For this to happen, employees must view HR as a safe place to express themselves. With kids, this can start at a very young age. I’ve always told my girls they can tell me anything. I explained it is a mom’s job to create a safe place for her kids to unload their struggles.  

In our house, we envision God as the master chef. We joke about how he sprinkled in different “ingredients” while creating each of us. For example, he mixed in LOTS of happiness while creating our Golden Retriever. When God created moms, I say He added a unique ingredient to help navigate their kids’ struggles. I remind them that our struggles in the late 1900s (yes, that is how our kids refer to the era we grew up in) were no different.  

At three and five years old, my girls’ difficulties included “I’m mad at sissy” or “I don’t like that friend.” I knew bigger and more complicated confessions were on the way.  

Strategies for Creating a safe place

✅ Highs and Lows 

An easy way to encourage your kids to open up is to ask about “highs and lows.” We ask each family member to name a “high” and a “low” for the day during dinner. This sets the tone that there will be good and bad days. It also allows for open discussion about navigating these days.  

✅ Lie with them in bed 

Even though our girls are 10 and 12 years old, we still do this. I’m shocked by the amount of information they share within minutes of their heads hitting the pillow. NOTE: I table the conversation for the next day as neither of us has the energy to dive deep, but at least we have a starting point. 

✅ Be open and honest 

This is the most challenging strategy but the MOST critical strategy. Here is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where all that “you can ask me anything” prepping pays off and makes your stomach drop simultaneously. A student recently told my fourth-grader about foreplay (YIKES). The sex talk did not scare me. Sex had a purpose. I could finally shed light on the miracle of Jesus’ birth. But foreplay?!?! After gulping a few times, I put on my HR hat and reminded myself NOT to overreact. Here is what unfolded next… 

* I asked where she had heard that. I didn’t want to scare her with my inner dialogue, and this question bought me time.  

* I thanked her for coming to me with a heavy topic and confirmed she did the right thing. THIS STEP WAS HUGE as she realized mom was not mad.  

* I shared that the topic was inappropriate to discuss at school or anywhere, for that matter. I explained that people lose their job for talking like this at work. I was also careful not to shame the act of sex.  

* I asked if she had questions. This step is not for the faint of heart, BUT it is where we prove we are a safe place regardless of the topic.  

Her questions ranged from: Is it a real thing? Why would anyone do that? Have you ever done it? Do I have to do it?  

These questions were not easy to answer. But the benefits definitely outweighed the awkward experience. My daughter now had accurate information. I confirmed she could come to me with anything. Our relationship strengthened even more.  

Step 2: Develop a growth plan 

HR will create a growth plan to further develop employees. Our family growth plans consist of  lessons triggered by our failures. 

Failure is the foundation of growth. I’ve trained my girls (and myself) to seek the lesson in all failures. NOTE: We give ourselves time to feel all the feels associated with failure before learning the lesson. Whether it’s anger, sadness, or disappointment, sit in it a moment. Studies prove that suppressing your feelings intensifies your emotions while increasing stress and weakening your immune system.   

Strategies for a Growth Plan 

Theater is my daughter’s passion. Like all theater kids, her goal is to get the lead role. She felt she nailed every aspect during her last audition but did not land a lead role. And more painfully, her two best friends landed lead roles. This lesson hurt not just for her but also for my husband and me. We all grieved and felt every emotion possible. I couldn’t even muster up a lesson.  

After allowing time to work its magic, the fog lifted, and we were able to reflect on the lesson. My daughter admitted she didn’t understand the director’s decision. We encouraged her to do the following.  

✅ Ask questions. We told my daughter to email the director and ask for her reasoning. This could come off as needy and abrasive if not correctly worded. I gave my daughter some guidance (thank the directors, explain you want to grow, etc.) but ultimately let her write the email. What she wrote blew me away and was more professional than most work emails I’ve seen.  

The result? A VERY impressed director invited her to discuss her decision face to face. I could not have scripted a better lesson if I had tried. She learned when you don’t understand a decision, ask for details in a polite, professional manner.  

✅ Be open to feedback. My daughter heeded the director’s advice. After her performance, she received the “Bound for Broadway” award due to her determination, drive, and professionalism. She was humbled by this experience and now approaches auditions through a different lens.  

Step three: Teach Self-advocacy 

Encouraging our kids to self-advocate has a ripple effect on generations to come. I did not learn this skill until my 30s and after having babies. I always acknowledge that this is a difficult task but an important one. When teaching our kids about self-advocacy, our family’s go-to phrase is to be “firm but kind.” You can use powerful words and a firm tone, but you don’t have to be sassy or rude.  

Strategies for Self-advocacy 

✅ Role-play -Provide verbiage for your kids and then role-play using that verbiage. I like to overexaggerate the difficult personality as a bit of humor goes a long way. 

✅ Reality Check -Ask your child if they can visualize themselves doing saying that. If the answer is no, come up with different verbiage.  

✅ Let them lead- Always encourage your child to send the text, write the email, or make the call. This is where self-advocacy takes place. Learning how to set boundaries is an important skill they will use throughout their life.  

We hope these HR strategies help set a solid foundation for your sons and daughters to become responsible, boundary-setting, kind human beings. Now “ Mama on” and help make the world a bit brighter.  


Related Posts
5 Things Kids Need From Parents
Raising Kids Who Know Who They Are