As your children grow, you will find that they are going to be facing a number of difficult subjects and topics. This may include situations that they may find themselves in but it can also include family situations that need to be addressed.
No matter what the situation is, it can be difficult to talk to your child about these topics. Here are some tips on talking about difficult subjects with kids:
Be Ready to Tackle the Tough Talks
Always be prepared. That means that you should have the facts ready to go. Are you discussing illness? Have basic information and facts that your children can understand.
Are you talking about drugs or abuse? Again, have statistics if you can find them.
Invite Kids to Share Their Feelings
Ask your children what their thoughts and feelings are related to the topic and do not open judgment on them. When you have an open discussion with your children that is exactly what it needs to be. Open! They need to feel safe when being honest with you.
This will foster positive conversations and discussions later in life.
Patience is Key When Talking About Difficult Topics
Try to be patient with your child. He or she may not respond the way that you wanted to them to. That does not mean that their response is incorrect or bad but they need time to adjust to the situation or the information that they were given. Parents should never yell at a child for their response. All children are different and you must be willing to wait and foster their acceptance through your own responses.
Stick to What’s Needed
Never give your child details that they really do not need. Plan your conversation and determine what your child needs to know to understand the situation and what they do not need to do. Keep in mind that you will only be increasing your child’s stress and anxiety about the situation if you are giving them too many details.
Be Ready to Face Your Worst Fears
Finally, always be prepared for the worst. If you are trying to have an open and difficult conversation with your child about something that they may have done, they may tell you something that you do not want to hear. Your response will ultimately determine what they tell you in the future. Plan for the worst and what you might find out. What will your response be?
Many parents will confuse listening with approval. These are two different things. Just because you are willing to listen to what your child says does not mean you agree with it.
You will still be able to discuss your rules, values and expectations. Consequences can be enforced but how you do it will determine your ability to speak with your children about difficult situations for years to come.
If you have talked to your child about a difficult topic and you are worried that they are not handling it well you will want to find them a professional to speak with. Doing so does not mean you are a bad parent. It just means that you are worried about your child and you want them to be well adjusted. Sometimes this is the best thing that you can do for your child.
So, the next time you have to have a tough conversation with your child, keep these tips in mind to help smoothen things out.