Written by Jana Angeles
Parenting is a tough job and it becomes even more challenging as your children get older. They become curious about the world around them and they start asking the big questions, sometimes ones we can’t answer. With the media reporting about the terrible things happening in our world, it’s sometimes difficult for us to talk about these things with our children because we want to protect them from anything negative.
Although talking about difficult topics with your children isn’t ideal, you can’t avoid them forever. All you can do is explain well and hope that they understand what you are saying in the long run. As parents, you may have a different approach when it comes to discussing difficult topics, however, these tips below may assist you when you find time to sit with your children and talk:
Understand what they know
They may have heard something on the radio or seen an alarming ad on television and the questions they ask may seem out of the blue. When it comes to sensitive topics like sex, health issues, murder stories and terrible current events, your child may want to know more information, trying to understand what they mean. If you acknowledge that, they may have pieces of information they are willing to share with you to learn more. Be there for them and talk about it if you feel comfortable and if it’s the right opportunity. Do your best to simplify complicated terms and encourage them to look at kid-friendly resources, which may help them understand a sensitive topic they want to discuss.
Time it right
Your children may already start to feel curious, however, they haven’t had the initiative to reach out to you. They may feel awkward because they aren’t sure how to approach the situation. It’s fair to say that all parents are different in terms of their styles in raising their children as well as how they react to different things. Just remember your children may be treading carefully and are avoiding talking to you about certain things because they’re not sure how you will respond. Reassure them and make them feel comfortable. Sit them down when you feel like the timing is appropriate to have a further discussion.
Acknowledge their curiosity
When your children are approaching the stage where they are almost finishing primary school, their curiosity tends to expand. With the digital age, it’s normal wanting to learn more information. You can’t blame them for wanting to do that but you also have to be careful and set
some boundaries when digging deeper into a topic. Try and keep things G-rated wherever possible. Also, be prepared to be open to questions if they are exploring a specific topic they want to learn more about. You need to be there to guide them and help them be less confused!
Be in tune with their emotions
The way we consume information is different to what it was ten years ago. Gone are the days where we used to buy newspapers and magazines. Now that everything is digital, it’s easy to search up anything. With social media and video content circulating around, your children may read something on the news about a murder or accidentally watch something graphic. It’s best to try and understand their emotions while also being level-headed when talking to them. They may be angry or extremely upset over something they have seen.
Say something positive
When discussing heavy subject matters, it can often feel exhausting. It’s okay to feel like this sometimes. After your discussions, take the time to be positive and support your children in being curious when it comes to learning things they’re not familiar with and placing themselves outside of their comfort zones.
As much as we want to protect our children from the “bad guys”, the only way for them to be prepared for the future is to guide them through life. You may find yourself in situations where you’ll need to have a proper sit down with your kids and talk about heavy and/or sensitive topics. All you can do is be honest, show empathy and acknowledge that your children are just curious and want to learn more about something.