When you first decide to have kids, all you can think about is all the good times you are going to have together and the memories you will make. However, now that you are a parent, the reality of this job will not be lost on you, and while all the wonderful memories will still be made, there are not as fun aspects that need to be seen to as well. Talking to your child about a difficult subject can feel awkward and clunky because you don’t know what to say, but these conversations are the things your child will thank you for in the future and help them to stay safe and happy, knowing they can turn to you if they are in trouble. This article will take you through three subjects you should talk about with your little ones and give you some ideas of how to do it in a way that works which is still age appropriate.
Addiction and trying to get back to sober living is something that no one is immune to, and a huge number of factors can contribute to a person using a substance and putting themselves in danger. While you might feel as though this is not a conversation you need to be having until your child is a teenager, they are never too young to be educated on the basics so that they don’t know what to do if they ever find themselves in a situation.
- Let them know a definition of addiction- it is when you can’t stop yourself from doing/ taking something
- Let them know the kinds of things that are addictive- alcohol and drugs are the most important, but making them aware of caffeine and sugar can help them recognize smaller risks in their own young lives
- Let them know how people can get back to sober living and, if they ever need help in the future, what they can do
This is a topic many parents shy away from, especially when a child is young because they don’t know how to talk about it or feel it isn’t right to speak to their child about sex. However, understanding consent doesn’t have to mean you talk about sex in order to have them learn valuable lessons:
- Encourage your children to always ask permission before any physical interaction
- Encourage your children to say no to, for example, being hugged by certain people if it makes them feel uncomfortable and have others respect their boundaries
- As they get older, use examples from the media and news to demonstrate what consent does and doesn’t look like
- Mental Health
Finally, mental health is something all children should be learning about. Here are some ideas about what your kids need to know:
- That their feelings are valid
- That talking it through always helps
- The basic symptoms of common issues such as depression and anxiety, to help them recognize it within themselves
TOP TIP: Have a specific night once a week where you and your child sit down and discuss how they are feeling. This helps keep the lines of communication open and will mean you can pick up on issues early.