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Sensitive Issues(7 Posts)
How do you approach sensitive discussions with your preteen? What age did you start difficult conversations?
I keep communication open with my two, but i’m always so afraid I give too much/ not enough information. These are the issues that give me headaches:
- bodily functions (not limited to sex)
- rape/ consent
- money management / credit cards
- drugs / addiction
I would love to hear your experiences! What age did you start? How did it go?
My advice is that you don't plan 'a' conversation about any of these.
You talk to your child in a situation where they are comfortable, or at a time when a conversation naturally occurs, and you focus on listening as much as talking.
Some of these are issues that only need to be approached at vastly different times - bodily functions is from toddler while suicide is something that can wait until 12+ unless a conversation is provoked.
These are not worries or headaches. It's an oppertunity to chat with your child about big issues and get a sense of their notion of the world while hopefully protecting them and allowing them to see you as a resource.
I've always told them when they have asked, not at set ages. Some kids are more sensitive or mature than others as well, my 8 year old probably knows about those things than my 10 year old. Preteen's need to have a basic knowledge of all of the above, just let them know they can come to you if they need or want more infomation. Also preteens are'nt small children, if you chose to hide infomation from them then they are probably going to find out from online/school friends etc which isnt ideal, I dont think you need to worry about giving them too much infomation, give them all the infomation making sure it is factual.
I agree with above, deal with them as and when they come up. Be totally open and honest and non judgemental. You want them to be able to speak to you when these things do come up so don't make them scared of your reaction. Good luck, these years aren't easy.
Most of these discussions start very early (in an age appropriate manner of course).
I've had discussions with my 4 year old about consent (if you do something to a person that they don't like then you have to stop...and vice versa). Body autonomy and personal boundaries too.
Death has been talked about due to relatives that have passed away.
Bodily functions like the obvious pee and poo but also she knows ladies have periods because I can't go to the toilet alone. She also knows that eggs and sperm make babies but hasn't asked how it happens yet but does know how babies come out.
Other things will be introduced as and when. I don't see any of these happening as "a big talk", more of a drip feed when it's appropriate or the opportunity arises.
The latest situation came up last weekend when a fundraiser was organised by an activity my dd (8) is part of to raise awareness about mental illness. The fundraiser was organised as a tribute to a teen who committed suicide. Dd wasn’t aware of all this, she just took part in the activity, but one of her mates mentioned the teen’s name. On the ride home I told her that the teen committed suicide, without giving her ANY details, other than explaining what suicide is.
Dh said I shouldn’t have talked about it.
Dd didn’t seem uncomfortable or disturbed by it, she asked a couple of questions then she moved on.
I wouldn't have necessarily raised suicide with an 8 year old but I think an 8 year old isn't going to be especially bothered about the suicide of someone they don't know.
I think you are linking a whole load of issues that don't necessarily sit together. My advice would be to talk to your child in an age appropriate way and respond to the issues that crop up. If you tell your child that they are a person with the ability to chose how they interact with the world and then listen you will work through most things