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Difficult Conversations to Have With Kids

4 Difficult Talks You Need to Have With Your Kid


Not too long ago I wrote about why I had to talk to my kids about sex offenders and how, even though it was a difficult conversation, it was one I should have had with my children a long time ago. The world our children are growing up in is very different than the world we grew up in.

Certainly, there are things kids need to know before they leave home, but there are also things they need to know about now to help protect themselves or not end up in a bad situation. Moms say that in order to help your child, there are some difficult conversations you need to have with them.

Keep reading.

1. Talking About Racism and Diversity

Mom Serena L. says her children are among only a few biracial families in a mostly white neighborhood. At 3 years old, some of the other kids were already refusing to play with her son because of his skin color. Racism is an unfortunate reality of life that your child is going to come across, but that doesn't mean they have to accept it.

Teaching tolerance from the time your child is young can help them learn that you should judge a person by how he acts and what he says, not by what he looks like or by some minority group he is a part of.

Talk to your young child about why people's skin color differs, and point out all the things people have in common. As your child gets older, the conversation will morph into discussion about other types of diversity and how to handle it when people aren't as tolerant of differences.

2. Talking About "Tricky" People

It's a good idea to teach your children about "stranger danger," but it doesn't really cover all the dangers they could face from adults. Considering that most child abductors and abusers are actually not strangers, the conversation you should be having is about what blogger Checklist Mommy refers to as "tricky people."

Mom Kelley P. explains: "A tricky person is anyone who tries to get [your child] to break a family safety rule." If you don't have family safety rules, you should put some in place, but until then, make sure your preschooler knows that a "tricky" person is an adult who asks them to keep a big secret or tells them it's OK to help out or go with them without asking a trusted parent first.

As your child gets older, you can add to the conversation by talking about "tricky" friends — kids who lie, say mean things about other children behind their backs, and try to manipulate your child into doing things they don't want to do.

3. Talking About Sexuality

Talking about sexuality is so much more than talking to your teen about sex. It's about making sure you and your child are comfortable talking about things like masturbation, puberty, and homosexuality. As some moms point out, if you keep homosexuality a secret, then if your child is bisexual or gay, they will be fearful of talking to you about it.

And the more comfortable your child is in their knowledge that they can talk to you about body changes and sexual feelings, the less often they'll get misinformation from friends.

4. Talking About Death

With things like serial shootings in the news and schools practicing lockdown drills, our kids learn about death sooner than we might like. It's a hard thing to explain to kids, especially if you're not sure what your own beliefs about the afterlife are.

This conversation usually starts when a pet or loved one dies, but mom Alisha J. says you can start preparing for it by having an open dialogue with your child about your thoughts about heaven or how to honor someone's memory.

Keep Talking About Tough Stuff

The key to having difficult conversations is to start talking to kids about tough stuff when they're young. Circle of Moms member Gail P. is right when she says there are "teachable moments" every day. Finding teachable moments, using age-appropriate vocabulary, and adding to the conversation as your child gets older will make these discussions easier and a more natural part of your lives.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Source: Shutterstock
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DianaMaurer DianaMaurer 2 years
You never know what life lessons they are going to need and when they are going to need them, but having small, honest talks with them periodically over the years at a level that they can understand helps. Kids remember the most surprising things. My girls are 12 & 10. There are times when they are so much more mature than their ages and I find myself talking to them like little adults. I don't like to sugar coat things but there are age-appropriate ways to say things. I know from personal experience that things come up during your life that you really can't see coming. At some point in the past the subject of suicide came up. I honestly can't remember when or why. It may have been something they heard on TV. I remember telling them that suicide is a very selfish act and that sometimes when people feel that their life is so awful or something horrible happens they feel that the only way the pain and hurt will stop is commit suicide. I remember telling them that what the person does not consider is the effect their death has on their family, friends, and loved ones. Having someone be there one day & then gone the next can horribly traumatic to the ones left behind to pick up the pieces. I remember also telling them that what the person doesn't realize at the time is that everything is temporary and that everything we go through in life is for a reason. It could be to teach us a lesson that we need to learn or because there may be someone that we are supposed to meet, but we don't always know why and sometimes we may never know the reason. Well, last week my younger daughter's best friend and her family died when the girl's father committed suicide by running the car in the garage with the garage door down. The mother and two girls were also overcome by fumes when they tried to enter the garage to rescue him. It was the saddest thing. My daughter was heart-broken (as was the community) the day she found out at school. The thing is though that she remembered the conversations that we had. She came to me and said, "Mommy, I understand that everything happens for a reason, but I'm having a hard time understanding why this would have happened to my friend." My older daughter asked me, "You mean because the dad decided to commit suicide he accidentally took his whole family with him?" It is a sad life lesson, but one that I'm hoping will stick with them as they grow older. To my younger daughter I said that it was true that everything happens for a reason...perhaps one of her parents was very ill and that God may have realized that the thing he needed to do was to bring the entire family home to him because maybe he knew that it would be too hard on them as a whole to lose one member of the family, but we would never know for certain. I told her that of course she was going to be sad and that it was ok. When she is feeling sad she should remember the good memories that she has and to live her life and honor the memory of her friend. Work a little harder but still have fun, help people that you see struggling, be kind when you can because you never know who needs a friend, and pass on the thoughtfulness and caring that your friend showed you to others because those are the most important lessons we learn when bad things happen to good people. To my older daughter I confirmed that the sad thing about it was that the father loved his family very much and because he thought things were so bad that they couldn't be fixed he did accidentally take the ones he loved with him. I told her that is why it is so important to think about the consequences of our actions and not be selfish. But on the other hand it is important for us to be empathetic because we don't always know what people are going through. Sometimes a harsh word said in anger that we don't mean can be last straw for someone who is struggling inside. That doesn't make it our fault because ultimately it is that person's decision, but we need to understand our our actions affect others and this is an extreme example of that. My next "lesson plan" with them is going to be making safe decision as my girls will both be in Middle School next year and there have been quite a few stories in the news recently about underage teens drinking, being taken advantage of, then having pictures of the acts posted all over social media & phones. Ugh, it is awful that it even has to be a subject, but I'd rather have them form their own strong opinion now and maybe keep them a little safer than not to talk about it at all and have them not realize the possible consequences of making just one poor decision.
TraceeFarmer TraceeFarmer 2 years
I would love to know why people only consider racism going one way? My child is at a high school of 1600 students and their might be 200 total of children who are not African American. My child and her non-African American friends are called Crackers and are always having to explain why they don't fight? The school is close to loosing it's accreditation because of the fighting that happens weekly. My child is always having to dive into a classroom to get out of the halls to avoid conflicts. Then the black students laugh at them and call them names because they try to stay away from it or try to stop it from happening at all. I also have discussed sex including homosexuality with my child however we believe in what the Bible says about the above subject. We don't hate anyone but I believe that "tolerance" is a PC way of saying acceptable. Not everyone believes in what "The World" tells us is acceptable behavior.
CoMMember13631189244843 CoMMember13631189244843 2 years
This was a good post. My children are biracial, and my daughter had some very unfortunate things happen to her in secondary school. I didn't talk about sex enough, and your ideas about homosexuality are key. The statistics for teen suicide amongst gay teens far exceed those of teens who are straight. I could not bear my child killing him/herself because of sexuality, not feeling they would be loved and accepted by me no matter what, or, feeling that the family would expect them to magically change. God bless for this post.
Trent14429931 Trent14429931 2 years
Great article, but at what age do you start these conversations? There was mention of teaching a preschooler about strangers, but my preschooler isn't quite ready to comprehend this sort of thing. I don't want one excuse to turn into another and avoid talking about these subjects, so some insight on what age range is typical would be helpful. Thanks!
EmmaAdams85840 EmmaAdams85840 2 years
i found this very helpful as we all have to have talks with our children about difficult subjects even if the children don't fully understand the subject, it's our job as parents to make our children aware of the world that isn't innocent or harmless and that nasty things do happen but if we do talk about difficult subjects with our children from a young age, then when a child does come face to face with that situation, hopefully they will feel comfortable and able to talk to their parent about it. My boys only 3 years old so I know that I've got all these difficult talks to come but its important to introduce these subjects from a young age using appropriate words that they're going to understand. I also believe that certain subjects such as sex education is the parent's job to explain to their children and not left up to the school or authorities as subjects are just told without any feeling so the child just ends up feeling more confused and wanting to learn for themselves.Again its our duty as parents to prepare our children for the unfortunately cruel world that we find ourselves growing up in
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