The Hard Conversation
We all have had or have heard “the talk”. I remember when I heard it from my health teacher. It was awkward. It was fun to watch the sweat form on his face, but still awkward.
As parents or adult mentors, we will be in situations that require us to speak to our kids about tough subjects (i.e. sex, drugs, language, love, etc.) and we need to be ready. We need to be prepared so our kids don’t go seeking wisdom from someone way more qualified, like their classmate or older cousin (please sense the sarcasm).
In my 13 years of youth ministry, I have had several conversations with parents, teens, and community members on these subjects. I have led training sessions on community awareness and small group discussions.
With that in mind, I want to suggest three ways to approach these tough topics.
1) Be Honest- don’t make up extravagant stories of relationships or pain from the past. Use your REAL examples. Our kids are seeing so much fake “reality”, they need to know what you tell them is not going to be found to be false later.
2) Be Calm- our kids don’t need us to come in as nervous as they are. Trust me, if you start sweating or giggling like their classmates, you will lose them.
3) Don’t forget the laser pointer- This a for real comment. I had to do a training about healthy family communication once. I had one mom come with her daughter and I had to discuss images of specific body parts. I didn’t have a laser pointer, so I had to walk up to the picture and describe how a certain body part worked. I was sweating like crazy and my wife was there to witness this event and laughed in the back of the room during this meltdown.
I wish I had known the audience I was going to have so I would have been better prepared. I also would have known to skip those parts since the girl was pretty young. We need to know our audience and understand what they are really seeking. Too much detail will freak them out, and probably make you sweat. Give them a chance to tell you what they know and go from there.
As our kids grow, they need guidance. We need to be ready to answer the hard questions and be honest enough to say we don’t know the answer, but let’s look for it. Trust your experience and allow your life to teach. Our kids are counting on us. Don’t let celebrities or friends be their guide.
Question: Do you have any other suggestions to guide the conversations?