Tackling Tough TopicsIN CHILDREN'S HEALTH
Having a conversation with your child about topics such as puberty or dealing with peer pressure can be tough, even for the most confident parents. Don’t wait until it’s too late—learn how to effectively and comfortably talk about tough issues with your preadolescent.
Breaking the Ice
Establish healthy communication between you and your preteen before you start talking about difficult topics. Discuss everyday things alongside more sensitive issues to show your child those topics are a normal part of life. Talk about important issues often—the more you share your thoughts, the more comfortable it will become.
During conversations about peer pressure, listen as much as—if not more than—you talk. Avoid judgments or warnings such as, “I hope you aren’t giving in to peer pressure.” Instead, pose questions such as, “Do kids at your school talk about alcohol or drugs?” By initiating with a question, you are making your child feel like the expert, and he or she will be more likely to open up.
Sharing your values about drug and alcohol use is especially important. Be clear and straightforward with your opinions, but also offer reasons for your opinions and listen respectfully to your son or daughter’s views. Most importantly, remind your child that he or she can always come to you for advice.
You may have experienced some unfruitful conversations with teachers at your child’s school. While you and a teacher may not see eye to eye when it comes to your child’s education, don’t let roadblocks keep you from resolving important issues. Before attending a meeting with a teacher, keep three things in mind:
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Sources: childrennow.org, pbs.org, kidshealth.org, goodhousekeeping.com, thenationalcampaign.com