Many parents find it difficult to converse with their children about particular subject matters. They’re either too uncomfortable to talk about it themselves, or worried about possibly scarring their child for life. So here are a few tips on how to ease the anxiety for both parties when discussing topics ranging from sex to simple inquiries about the child’s life.
Despite the common belief that the concept of planning out when and where a hard conversation with your child will take place, it never benefits to take too long when determining what the perfect moment would be. Especially when, as a parent, your probably nervous as it is. Therefore, it’s important to give some thought as to when might be an ideal time to bring the subject matter up, but not so much thought that the planning becomes more important than the actual conversation. It’s also important to talk to your children the moment you suspect any destructive behavior, such as drug use, hyperactive sexual activity, or any type of physical/mental abuse and depression, as these have the potential to lead somewhere very bad very fast. However, in which environment to do so and with what mannerism may differ.
Believe it or not, the simplest of conversations to have with any child is the “sex talk”. It can be done almost anywhere in one long conversation, or fragmented into ten minute discussions that are revisited every other month over the rest of the child’s life! Make it humorous enough to ease the nerves, but serious enough to get your point across and make it clear that it’s a huge step with consequences. Once you’ve opened up the door, there’s not much to it after that. Also, it’s important to note that if your dealing with considerably young children, give it to them in small bits of information so as not to overwhelm them, maybe tell it to them through a story. The moral of the story is, keep it light but insightful.
Now, there is the matter of more serious topics, like that of physical abuse and any negative influences associated with the child’s peers. These should be handled with delicacy. A strictly one- on- one approach might work better, as opposed to if multiple people were present, often causing the child to clam up and take the defense. Especially when considering that he/she might feel a bit vulnerable and uncomfortable having to address their problems openly with someone else, a parent at that. Any familiar setting will do, and be sure not to approach the subject in a way that could be seen as a judgement or a attack as the child will most likely shut down. The same advice can be given when addressing depression, although here your trying work through an inherent class of emotions rather than simply parent your child.
When trying to confront your child about substance abuse, however, multiple persons could be be beneficial depending on whether you’re simply reminding your child of the dangers, or fully declaring an intervention. Again, don’t judge or attack, but clearly express your concerns. If it’s a standard talk, it’s easier to not create a super serious atmosphere, but one that feels of an equally open relationship. Although age might require a more “PG” approach.