Many parents struggle with how to approach their children to discuss difficult topics or how to help their children feel comfortable approaching them to do the same. Oftentimes, the difficulties stem from a lack of information about a subject or not being aware of their child’s particular situation. Still other instances might arise from a fear of how their child will react to having the conversation. Whatever the root cause, there are a number of ways that parents can work on processing sensitive issues with their children.
Difficult or uncomfortable conversations include any conversation that might make you or your child embarrassed or it could concern something controversial. These conversations can bring up various emotions and are hard to prepare for beforehand. It is important to try and think over certain topics that may trigger these emotions. Knowing your thoughts and feelings on some topics will also help you out when approached by your child or initiating the conversation with your child. It is normal to feel uncomfortable when you start talking about sensitive topics with your child but being more prepared can help you feel more comfortable.
When actually talking to your child, try to stay calm and listen to your child when they are talking about the topic. It’s important to listen to their feelings and listen to the small stuff that they are giving to you when you talk. Also, let your child know that you appreciate that they came to you to discuss this sensitive topic. Try to not be judgmental and listen to your child’s concerns and questions.
If during the conversation emotions arise or you feel you need to calm down, it is okay to take a break to collect your emotions or think through some of the things that you have been discussing. If your child is wanting specific answers to questions and you don’t know them, it is okay to let them know and have the both of you research their questions. Your child is looking to you for guidance so being calm and listening to them can help them feel less anxious about the conversation. There is no plan book on how to deal with difficult or uncomfortable conversations with children. By being open and receptive to what your child is saying, it can help them feel more comfortable to come to you in the future when they are struggling.