Talking to Your Kids about the Tough Issues

One thing that can certainly be difficult for parents is discussing serious issues with their children. This includes things like drugs, sex, bullying and more. If you approach these issues in the wrong way, you can alienate your kids or reinforce negative behavior. To help, below are five ways to start such a conversation with your children, that will promote open communication.


1. Ask Your Children What They Think

One mistake parents make is not taking the views of their children into consideration. You shouldn’t make them feel belittled. Instead, approach them with respect. Before you give your children advice on a touchy subject, ask them what they think about it first.

They might have a solid understand of the topic already and have their own views and opinions formed. It is important to let them know they have a voice and you value their thoughts.

2. Be Opportunistic
You shouldn’t let convenient timing to broach a serious subject with your children pass by without taking advantage of it. For example, if you are watching a newscast about a cyber bullying, you may want to ask your children if they have ever experienced it.

3. Discuss the Dangers

Sometimes children take risks without knowing the consequences. For example, if you want to warn you children about the dangers of drugs, a good idea would be discussing some of the less savory symptoms of opiate withdrawal. More generic explanations about why drugs are bad will not have this kind of impact.

Explain the glamorization of many of these ideas in the media and how we often don't see the aftermath and havoc it wrecks on peoples lives. That it is in their best interest to learn from the mistakes of others and not let them throw away their bright future because of the peer pressure they feel now.

4. Get into a One on One Situation

You don’t want to be trying to talk to your children about important issues when they’re distracted by other things like homework and chatting with friends. Instead, try taking your child out fishing or to the zoo. Do it without your spouse, so you have some alone time. This will make it easier to spark up a conversation about a serious topic without interference.

5. Start with Small Talk

You should be talking to your child often. This should include things that are important like school as well as things that aren’t so important like music or TV shows. Every parent should have good candor with their child. Without this, talking about tough issues can be far more awkward and difficult.

By building up a solid relationship before hand, you will better be able to understand where your teen is coming from and feeling as well as convey what you need to about certain topics. Also, by bonding and allowing yourself to relate on common and fun topics such as music and interest, you will understand each others taste and your child will understand that you were young once as well. You have gone through all these experiences and you understand what they are thinking.

Overall, the important thing is that you try as a parent. If one approach doesn’t prove successful for communicating your views on sex, drugs and other tough topics to your child, you can always try another approach. However, don’t give up. Showing that you care can go a long way to making a difference in a child’s life even if you don’t always know the exact way to do it.

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