Parenting is hard, overwhelming, and just plain exhausting. But, there’s nothing more rewarding, especially when we start to see independent little thinkers growing up right before our eyes. Talking to your kids about difficult subjects, whether it’s the monster in their closet or school shootings, is one of the hardest things parents have to do.
Now, though, with 2020 barely behind us, these kinds of conversations are happening at a much more rapid pace. Not only do we have to deal with monsters and playground bullies but also violence on the news, protests for civil rights, and a pandemic. A lot of this is brand new for us as adults, too. I don’t know about you, but my mother certainly never talked to me about pandemics and public health crises.
Talking your kids through the things they see and hear on the TV, at school, or even at home is so important, so here are a few tips to help you and your kids handle those conversations.
The rest of this article will be broken down into ages/developmental stages, but some tips will carry throughout.
Young kids pick up way more than you’d think. It’s easy to believe they’re ignoring something just because they seem distracted or uninterested. That is not the case. Don’t assume your children are blissfully unaware of their surroundings, especially if your kids are attending school away from home.
Once kids learn to read and comprehend that information, it’s time to change how you talk to them. Now, they will have more access to information and a better understanding of it. Kids will still need your reassurances regardless.
By now, your children’s biases are almost fully formed, and that makes conversations with them deeper and more meaningful. More than any other age group, teenagers are more aware of their surroundings and what’s going on in the outside world. Don’t discourage this, even when the outside world seems a dangerous place.
All we want is for our kids to grow up to be happy, healthy, responsible adults. While it may be easier to avoid the hard conversations with your children, it is also the best way to raise your kids into empathetic, critical thinkers.
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