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Talking to Children About the Hard Things

While we want our children to be carefree, and we don't want them to worry about "grown-up problems", the reality is they need to know about hard things. The world we live in can be dangerous and scary. If we don't empower and teach our children about those possible dangers, then we are doing them a disservice.

When I was growing up, we learned about "stranger danger". We learned not to get in the car with strangers and that was about it. While children still need to learn not to go with strangers, they also need to know that people they know can also be dangerous. They need to know that people of every profession may not have their best interests at heart. They also need to know that they can go to their parents with any questions or concerns they may have.


Some hard things that children need to learn about:


Their Bodies

At around the age of one, my daughter's pediatrician would let her know that he was going to check her vagina but that he was only doing so for medical reasons and because I was in the room with her. He let her know to tell me if anyone ever touched or looked at her vagina. Experts advise calling body parts their correct names so that children can express if someone is violating them, but ultimately it is up to the parents. I personally referred to the vagina as my daughter's private until she was around five years old, when she was entering kindergarten. This was also the time we talked more about boys and girls having different genitalia. This allowed me to explain that boy and girls may be curious about each other's parts but that we don't show our parts to each other.


Last year, my daughter's school began showing age-appropriate video to the children discussing three types of touch. They talked about abusive touch, loving touch, and confusing touch. Parents were able to view the videos their children would be watching prior to them. I took the opportunity to watch the video and I let my daughter know that she would be watching a video discussing those topics. This way, she was not caught off guard. I also told her that she could ask any questions she may have once she got home that day. While it is difficult to speak to an eight-year-old about these topics, it is important that they understand no one should be touching them, because children that age are sexually abused.


School Shootings and Guns

Once my daughter began going to school, we began speaking about school shootings. We started by discussing the drills she would do at school and that the students were not to let anyone in the school. As she got older, we discussed things more in depth. We talked about hiding and being quiet. We talked about not talking back to a shooter and that she could see some people she knows get hurt. As school shootings happen and the kids in her class talk about what they hear, she comes to me and asks me questions. She tells me about her fears, and we discuss the horrors of what she has to face.


It is also important to speak to your children about guns. The reality is that most homes have guns and children need to know what to do if or when they see one. They need to know basic gun safety.


Drugs

Drugs are becoming more prevalent in schools and children need to know about them. Drugs these days are deadly and they can be made to look like candy. We have to teach our children not to take candy or medicine from anyone, not even their friends. Just touching some types of drugs can kill them, and they need to know that.


Violence and Abuse

Children need to know about violence and abuse. They need to know which types of behavior healthy, and which types of behavior are not healthy. When I was growing up, I would tell my parents that certain relatives were mean to me. My parents would respond "that's just the way they are". This type of response teaches children that family is allowed to abuse you. We need to take those people out of our children's lives, and our lives, for that matter. Our children need to know what a healthy relationship is so that they don't stay in a relationship with an abusive person.



How to talk about theses hard things:


Be Prepared

Before you start a conversation with your child, make sure you are prepared.

  1. Set aside uninterrupted time. Put it in your calendar if you need to, make it an appointment.

  2. Have an idea of what you want to talk about. Think about questions that may arise.

  3. Put your listening cap on. Listen to help and guide, not to respond and judge.

  4. Lead the conversation with love and kindness.

Keep it age appropriate.

Remember to cater the talk to your child's age. You are opening a dialogue that you can grow on later.


Be honest and listen.

Parents are having to have tough conversations with their children these days. It can be overwhelming for both the parents and the children. The most important part of any relationship is honesty. Answer your child’s questions honestly, and if you don’t know the answer, let them know. You can look it up later or stop and look it up together right then. Listening is also very important. Listen to guide and teach, though. Don’t listen to respond. Understand that your child is trying to learn, not irritated you.


Encourage them to keep coming to you.

After you give your children advice, follow up later. Ask them if they took your advice and how it went. Give additional advice if needed. Follow through with any agreements you came to and make adjustments as needed. It’s important for your child to trust you so that they will keep coming to you.

Remember, if they're not coming to you, they're going to someone else.


These are hard things to talk about, but they are so necessary. It can be scary an overwhelming at first, but as you open the dialogue with your child, it will get easier. They will have the knowledge they need to protect themselves and others.



8 Comments


suzzybeauty822
suzzybeauty822
Nov 10, 2023

Children are sensitive and therefore parents should be careful with what we do and say to them or whenever they are around because anything that happens they follow suit. Don't forget to check out our blog which is open for everyone .

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William James
William James
Oct 25, 2023

Hi

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Jacquelyn Luby
Jacquelyn Luby
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

Hello. Thanks for stopping by.

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Nicole Smith
Nicole Smith
Aug 20, 2023

Loved this. These are hard conversations that we have to have with our baby's ,it's unfortunate but has to be done. It's so scarey for us parents.

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William James
William James
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

Hello

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Deep Sleep
Deep Sleep
Aug 19, 2023

👍

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William James
William James
Oct 25, 2023
Replying to

Hello

Like
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