I was recently asked “how do you talk to your kids about difficult subjects?” and it made me think about what subjects we term as “difficult”.
There are the obvious choices of the birds and the bees and drugs and alcohol, but they are just as likely to be why no one invites them to parties or why everyone thinks they are “weird”.
Having a child means you are destined for a multitude of “difficult subjects”. So my advice was purely to not make any subject difficult.
Start early. Talk about the yukky stuff. Talk about how it feels to fall off your bike and feel silly. Talk about the girls who don’t invite you to their place or the boys who call you names. Talk about it all in the same way, just as you would ask how they enjoyed their lunch and most of all MAKE IT NORMAL.
Talk to your kids. Not to tell them to do something but to simply engage. Talk to your kids about the small stuff because if that foundation is not there, how can you expect them to talk to you about their “big stuff”? When the big stuff comes, just listen, don’t react, and keep it normal. Because it is. Keeping the big subjects for a special occasion just gives them power and a taboo status.
You may be screaming on the inside with what your child has just shared with you. But without reaction, listen and then discuss as if it is normal. Because it is. This is what you have always wanted. A close, open and communicative relationship with your child.
And that is the best kind of normal that there is.