How Parents Can Talk About Anything With Their Toddlers or Teens

Dealing with difficult topics and having delicate discussions is a part of life. However, when it comes to children, addressing these issues can be challenging. However, if you know how to approach and explain these difficult topics so they can understand them in a thoughtful, age-appropriate way, discussions will be less stressful and the outcome better for everyone involved.

If you’re a parent, take the time to review this set of general guidelines, as well as more specific suggestions for handling certain topics, to arm yourself for those challenging discussions that are sure to come.

General guidelines for explaining difficult topics

No matter what the subject, there are certain principles that can be applied. Knowing what they are will give you a good foundation for talking with your young children or teens.

Don’t overwhelm them with details. Let your child be the guide and follow his lead in how much information to give.

Remember to be age appropriate with the amount and type of information you share. Details that a teenager could handle would not be assimilated in the same way by a younger child.

Disaggregate the data in a way that benefits or addresses the concerns of the child in question.

Let the children ask their own questions and answer honestly. Encourage openness.

Incorporate your family values ​​into difficult discussions. If you are not sure how you feel about a certain topic or conversation your child needs to have, be honest, share your mixed feelings with your children. It’s okay to let them know that you don’t have all the answers, but that you can research the topic and will try to find the answers they need.

If you want to talk with your child, plan an activity together and have the necessary conversation while both of you are busy at work or playing.

While some themes may come out of nowhere, some are predictable. So plan to talk to your child earlier than necessary about topics that are sure to come up. That way you will beat your peers on the subject!

Listen carefully to what your child says about whatever topic is being discussed. You will get clues as to how much you should tell them or what they really want and need to hear, what their concerns really are. Be patient with yourself and with your child, talk as long as your child needs.

talking about divorce

If a child is worried that his or her parents might get divorced but their relationship is healthy, he or she needs reassurance. They also need to know that some arguments between adults are normal. The child simply needs reassurance that her family unit is stable and intact.

But if divorce is looming on the horizon, the conversation will be very different. However, you should always start and end calmly. Tell them that they will always be loved and that will never change. Children should be reminded that no part of the decision to divorce is a reflection on them.

He always approached the general topic of divorce objectively with an explanation that it is a reality for many families.

Talking about the concept of being gay

Whether the topic comes up as a generality or if a child asks about a friend’s or neighbor’s same-sex parent, the topic of being gay is another discussion some parents are concerned about or unprepared to have. This is an area where your values ​​can come into play, so you may want to approach it from a factual standpoint.

You can explain to your child that some people love another person who happens to be the same sex. For a young child, this should be enough. For a teenager, the discussion of sexual orientation can be more complicated and full of legal and moral questions. No matter how you choose to handle this, be open and encourage your children to treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Remind them that whether or not a person is gay has no impact on their humanity.

Talk about the death of a parent or loved one

Death is one of the most difficult topics to deal with children or adolescents. However, when confronted with him, there is no need to shy away from him. Effective communication on the subject can go a long way in helping young people deal with loss.

Discuss the physical aspects of death, such as an illness that cannot be cured; injury that could not be repaired; and how bodies just stop working at one point. When it comes to the spiritual realm of death, values ​​and religion reign. He shares what his family believes. Comfort your children with the idea that death does not change love. Allow your child to openly express her feelings, be sure to provide a safe and nonjudgmental environment for her to do so.

Speaking of strip clubs

When your child notices the strip club on the road on the way to school or church, chances are they’re in for another awkward conversation. Fortunately, this discussion doesn’t touch too closely, so it can be covered in general terms as you look at the choices some people make. Make sure to turn it into a life lesson. You can also explain that just as children have playgrounds, like amusement parks that are just for them, so do adults. Just tell the kids that a strip club is a place where some adults go to party.

Talking about sex, pregnancy and where babies come from

Talking to your kids about sex, pregnancy, and where babies come from is one of those unavoidable discussions every parent should have. One of the most important things to remember is to be timely with that discussion. If possible, bring it up before your child finds out about it from her friends or classmates. Therefore, you would like to start early on this topic. As soon as questions arise, answer them honestly, with young children, being brief and simplistic is very important, not divulging more information than is absolutely necessary.

Keep in mind that before you decide to introduce any difficult topics with your toddlers or teens, have a game plan. Know how much information you want to share. Plan to be receptive to their input. And when topics unexpectedly come up, staying calm and being honest will save the day. Share appropriately to create a well-balanced child who knows that they can also come to or seek help from their family to understand the difficult things in life.

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