How to Talk to Your Kids About Difficult TopicsDec 30, 2022 09:31AM ● By Daniella Andrews
Try to be honest about what is going on and all the vital information regarding the topic. Of course, it’s okay to leave any disturbing or graphic details out, but kids appreciate honesty, and by telling the truth, parents teach them a valuable lesson on how to deal with their issues later on. Even though giving them a more softened version of the story may seem easier, it’s always better to stay honest and tell them the truth.
Focus on their reaction
As the conversation proceeds, be sure to observe the child's emotions and behavior. This will help the parent lead the conversation correctly and react well if the child burst into tears or has a similar emotional reaction. Kids sometimes feel uninterested and distant, which can signify worry or processing. However, if it seems as if the conversation isn’t going anywhere, it’s best to wait a while. Sometimes, kids are not ready to talk about specific topics, so waiting a bit until a better time is the best thing to do.
Why is it important to talk to your kids about difficult topics?
As parents, we sometimes try to protect our young ones from harsh reality. And that’s okay. However, we also don’t want our kids to grow up and enter adulthood unprepared. There are several reasons why it’s essential to talk to our kids about complex topics:
- It helps them understand their environment and certain events, which can help them be less scared of things around them;
- It’s easier to develop their own opinion and learn to ask questions;
- They learn how to deal with emotions and issues that might come their way later in life;
- When parents are honest with them, kids learn more about the value of telling the truth and start to appreciate parents more;
- Kids feel valued when serious issues are discussed with them; treating them like babies forever does not help;
- It minimizes the effect of surprise and anxiety levels that might occur when a child faces a problem or situation they know nothing about.
Even though they’re just kids, they deserve to know the truth about things happening around them. It’s not always easy to talk to kids about complicated topics, but there are ways to deliver the important information without them feeling anxious or uncomfortable.
Most importantly, parents need to be supportive at all times. Even though certain issues might make children afraid, confused and stressed, they should always know their parents are supportive and understanding. If a family member needs professional help or addiction recovery, encourage them rather than judge them. If kids feel loved and secure, they’ll communicate more openly and find it easier to understand whatever topic is brought up.
If a parent still finds it difficult to talk to their kids about a particular topic, they shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for help. Sometimes, talking to someone objective can make things easier and less tense between family members.
Daniella Andrews is a psychologist. In her spare time, she writes about family and likes to blog about the difficulties children face nowadays.