Anybody who is a parent of a teenager is well aware this isn’t the 1980’s or 90’s anymore. Every teenager known to man has had to go through peer pressure, the enigma of sex education, and some version of the D.A.R.E. program.
With that said, things are much different these days. These issues are still in full swing, but they are more dangerous and invasive in our children’s lives. Where once, the most worrisome drug was marijuana, now parents have to be concerned with opioids, meth, and heroin. Even crack cocaine is making a return.
Where at one time, parents only had to worry about the old-fashioned birds and bees talk, now kids are being educated about homosexuality and gender identification issues. This doesn’t even cover the normal day to day stresses they endure.
However, talking about sensitive issues with your teenager can be difficult and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. Read on for some tips on making the transition a little smoother.
Take Care of the Heebie-Jeebies
Talking to your teenager can be a very uncomfortable thing to do. The tough topics are tough for a reason. When most parents look at their budding teens, they see their little boy or girl. Not a blossoming young adult.
Pulling back the veil on the world and introducing them to the rawness of it can be scary. Their innocence is not something we ever want to see vanish. We’re also not sure how much to tell them about some things and let’s just be honest here. Some of us are afraid they know more than we thought they did or more than we do.
Find a way to address your heebie-jeebies. Talk to your parents or a trusted friend who has already been through it. Ask them what they recommend and what they wish they had said and what they would rather have not said.
Remember that part about wanting to see our teens as little innocent children? They just can’t and won’t stay that way forever. Be real with them. Tell them the truth about anything they ask about. Psychologists will tell you when your child asks you about a certain topic, they are usually ready to hear the answer. Be open and honest.
If you aren’t, there will always be someone who doesn’t mind to give them their version of the story and you will never be able to guarantee the validity or the sincerity of the information. The truth about life is not always puppy love and pizza parties. Sometimes, it’s heartbreak and overdoses. Your kids deserve the heads up. Give it to them.
Talk Face to Face
In the golden age of technology, there is hardly a soul without some form of tech making their lives easier to live. There are teens that don’t have the knowledge of what a payphone is. Children born from the year 2000 and on have never known a day without the involvement of the internet. Be that as it may, there are some things that should remain a mainstay in human history.
Face-to-face conversations about the meaning of life and all that entails are some of them. Make your initial talk with your teen an in-person occasion. After that, if your tech-savvy teen is more comfortable speaking to you about tough topics through text or messenger, give them that opportunity.
Have Patience With Your Young Padawan
These topics are tough to discuss on both sides of the fence for different reasons. Pay attention when you set up that first encounter with your young man or woman. What for nonverbal cues that he/she is uncomfortable.
If they manifest, change the subject and try again later. You may even consider allowing them to pick the time and place. They may feel more comfortable in “home territory” and open better and easier because of it.
Talking about the tougher situations in life with your teen is not an easy situation, but it is a necessary one. Use the tips above to help you prepare them for what the world is really like.