I remember when my daughter tried to bring up the topic of sex with me. She was so uncomfortable and so hesitant to actually use the word or ask her questions. But you know what? She did it! It was tough, but she felt comfortable enough with me to ask.
In retrospect though, I wish I had brought up the topic for her. Look at the items below and see which ones you need to bring up with your kids. If they’re not ready to talk about it, they’ll let you know. But just by bringing it up, you’ll signal to them that these topics are not off limits. Use our TALK Conversation Starters to get the discussion going.
The biggie. The awkward of awkwards. Here’s some help to tackle this one.
Think back to when you were a kid. This topic is fraught with misinformation. Be proactive. Get information at your next pediatrician’s visit. They usually have pamphlets that give good overall insight into the physical changes of puberty.
Great books on puberty to share with your children, both by Dr. Walt Larimore:
3. Romantic Relationships.
The best tip here is to be low key. No teasing your children about who they like or trying to embarrass them about having a boyfriend or girlfriend. Instead, casually bring up the topic and listen when they do talk.
4. Drinking and Drugs.
We may want to think our kids would never use, but we need to be realistic about the temptations they’ll face. Be factual. Also, studies show that a zero tolerance policy is effective. But, also let your children know that if they do mess up, they need to tell you first before you hear about it from others. Then, discipline with an eye on helping them understand the dangers of drinking and drugs. Tell them that you love them no matter what, but you expect them to follow your rules regarding drinking and drugs.
5. Bad Grades.
Whether it’s bad grades or getting in trouble at school, most children will find it very tough to bring this type of news home to their parents. So lay the foundation before your children run into these problems. Tell them that you want them to try hard at school, but that you love them no matter their grades. If it’s a behavioral issue, come up with consequences to encourage them to do better.