You’re going to get a lot of tough questions and topics from your kids as they develop through life, and their curiosity grows. Their minds are forming, they’re growing, and they want to know more. That is totally normal!
So, how do we start those conversations for the really tough topics? Topics like sexual relationships, divorce, arguments, family estrangement, menstruation, different sexualities, adoption, difficult emotions, etc.
Here are a few tips.
- Listen first – hear what your child has to say and what they want to know, and offer a listening ear without accidentally lecturing them. Remember, you don’t want to seem like you’re punishing them for their honesty and curiosity.
- Stay calm – honesty it’s not as bad as it seems. The more understanding the child has, the easier it will be to adapt.
- Always remind them how loved they are. When it comes to unstable environments, such as during a divorce, children need the stability of knowing that both their parents love them very much and will always be around.
- Don’t be afraid to ask them questions – what else they’d like to know, how it makes them feel. Open conversation around these topics is healthy.
- Prepare – if you need to have a difficult chat, take time to prepare and compose yourself, that way you’re not flying blind in the moment.
- Adopt a positive mentality – expect a positive outcome. It may not always be realistic to expect, but kids can pick up on the vibes that we’re giving off. Stay positive, and hopefully they will too!
- Set some ground rules first – this is an open discussion. Rules such as no yelling or interrupting can be a huge help.
- Examine your assumptions – as humans, we can be quick to react. Take a breath, take a step back, and try to clarify in your mind what they are saying before you react. When in doubt, ask for more clarity.
- Wrap it up – use a summary to go over what was discussed so there is clarity on both ends.
WAYS offers free counselling services for young people and their families. If you would like to talk to someone, please call us on 9365 2500.