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Tales Parents Tell

Many parents share their workplace success stories with their children as a way to encourage them to do their best.

However, some child experts believe that sharing some of your challenges might be a better way to instill your children with your values, and to help teach them what it really takes to succeed.

Susan Ungaro, the editor-in-chief at "Family Circle" magazine, visits The Early Show to offer tips on how parents can share their tales of work.

The following are Ungaro's tips on how to talk to your children about your experiences at work.

Talk About Your Job

Often times, we ask our children how their day went and they generally shrug and give you a mumbled response. Ungaro says it's important for you to start mentioning your work day when the family is together for meals, so that your child doesn't feel he/she is the only one being interrogated. It creates a nice two-way conversation.

You may say, "You won't believe what happened today…" Or have your spouse ask, "What was your day like honey?" Do it enough and eventually your children will ask you on their own, Ungaro says.

Use Classic Story-telling Techniques

  • Always have a beginning, middle, and an end. Or have a conflict, triumphant, and resolution.
  • For younger children make sure you have a good guy and a bad guy.
  • Try to make your story balanced. "Too often we only tell our children the positive aspects or the negative aspects of our jobs. We should make our stories more balanced so that they see that work is complicated and not so black/white," Ungaro says.

Make It Relatable:

This is very important, she says. Emphasize that work is very similar to school: there is a hierarchy, cliques, peer pressure, etc.

  • Include dialogue and talk about emotions because children can relate to feelings of anxiety, fear or sadness. Mention how you felt when you messed up on project, for example, or how you feel when someone else in your office messes up and you have to deal with cleaning up the project. These are emotions your child understands now and easily can relate to, Ungaro says.
  • Using characteristics of people: bullies, the shy one, or the lazy person - these are types of people you encounter at work, and your children also interact with people with these characteristics.

Telling your children stories about your ups and down helps them understand you better as a person. Ungaro says it will also teach coping and character building skills. It's OK for your child to know that you're not perfect, to know that everyone hits a wall at any age. So start sharing stories.
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