Do you ever worry about how “the talk” is going to go with your kids?
Whether it’s about sex, drugs or death, it can feel awkward to have these talks with our kids. But in reality, it’s only awkward because it’s foreign. When you reserve everything you have to say on a subject to one talk, it’s easy to see why you’d dread it. On the other hand, if you keep an open line of communication, things are inevitably going to be less awkward.
That’s one of the major benefits of open communication. Here are a few more.
1. Stronger relationship
When your kids feel comfortable talking to you, there’s a bond that naturally forms. There will be fewer secrets between you and you’ll eventually form something that’s akin to a friendship. As your children get older and move away, they may be more likely to keep in touch or check in with you to see how you’re doing.
As we all know, respect is a two-way street. We all want our kids to respect us, but we don’t often think about how we can show respect for them. In some cases, sharing information about an issue or event can show respect. You respect that they’re mature enough to handle what you’re telling them. Of course, this only works if they actually are mature enough to handle what you’re telling them, so carefully consider your child’s age and maturity before talking about things that may be upsetting.
3. Information flow
When your kids are young, they’ll likely be happy to tell you anything. It’s when they approach their teenage years that they start pulling back and trying to maintain a more private life. But if you’re open and honest with them, they are more likely to act the same with you. In this way, you’ll learn a lot more about what’s going on in their lives, which can be a great benefit to you both.
For example, if your child has a substance abuse problem, they may be more likely to talk to you about getting help. Finding a medical treatment center is easy compared with getting a teenager to admit they have a substance abuse problem. Try to communicate often about sensitive issues like drugs, sex and risky behavior.
4. Increased input
So many parents make decisions that affect the entire family without so much as talking to the kids first. In some cases, this may be necessary, but sometimes, it’s better to involve your kids. For example, let’s say you got a job offer in another city and are weighing the pros and cons. You obviously don’t want to leave the decision up to the kids, but you may get some surprising input by talking about it with them.
When you start having open discussions with your kids, you’ll probably realize that they already know more than you thought. They’re also capable of contributing more, so let’s get talking!
** This is a collaborative post