Talking with your kids about tough issues like sex, HIV/AIDS, violence, alcohol and drugs, etc, does not have to be difficult. Here are some tips to offer your children good, accurate information so they don’t have to get their facts elsewhere.
1. Initiate Conversations with Your Child: TV and other media are great tools for this. Just one or two questions could help start an important discussion that comes from everyday circumstances and events. Also, when speaking with your child, be sure to use words she can understand.
2. Create an Open Environment: You create such an atmosphere by being encouraging, supportive, and positive. Create the kind of atmosphere in which children can ask any questions freely and without fear.
3. Express Your Values: Research shows that children want and need moral guidance from their moms and dads so don’t hesitate to make your beliefs clear.
4. Listen to Your Child: Listening carefully helps parents better understand what children really want to know as well as what they already understand. And it keeps us from talking above our youngsters’ heads and confusing them even further.
5. Be Honest: children deserve honest answers and explanations. It’s what gives your children an ability to trust you.
6. Be Patient: We should allow our children to think at their own pace. We also are letting them know that they are worthy of our time.
7. Establish a clear family position on drugs:Tell them that, we don’t allow any drug use and children in this family are not allowed to drink alcohol. The only time that you can take any drugs is when the doctor or Mom or Dad gives you medicine when you’re sick. We made this rule because we love you very much and we know that drugs can hurt your body and make you very sick; some may even kill you.
8. Be a good example:Children will do what you do much more readily than what you say. Your behavior needs to reflect your beliefs.
9. Discuss what makes a good friend:Since peer pressure is so important when it comes to kids’ involvement with drugs and alcohol, it makes good sense to talk with your children about what makes a good friend. A friend is someone who shares their values and experiences, respects their decisions and listens to their feelings. Once you’ve gotten these concepts across, your children will understand that “friends” who pressure them to drink or smoke pot aren’t friends at all.
10. If you suspect a problem, seek help:If your child becomes withdrawn, loses weight, starts doing poorly in school, turns extremely moody, has glassy eyes — or if the drugs in your medicine cabinet seem to be disappearing too quickly — talk with your child and reach out to any one of the organizations listed here. You’ll be helping your youngster to a healthier, happier future.
11. Give accurate, age-appropriate information:Talk about sex in a way that fits the age and stage of your child. If your 8-year-old asks why boys and girls change so much physically as they grow, you can say something like, “The body has special chemicals called hormones that tell it whether to become a boy or a girl. Educate on their next stage of development.
12. Hold family meetings:Family meetings can provide children with an acceptable place to talk about complaints and share opinions. Just be sure that everyone gets a chance to speak. Use these meetings to demonstrate effective problem-solving and negotiation skills. Keep the meetings lively, but well controlled, so children learn that conflicts can be settled creatively and without violence.
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