[NOTE: We have a fun giveaway this week…2 tickets to ShamrockFest! Comment below for a chance to win…]

For lots of parents, starting a meaningful conversation about their child’s day at school is hard enough. The thought of trying to talk about anything remotely difficult (think bullying, sex or any other taboo subject) can be downright scary for parents and kids alike!

But the thing is, we HAVE to have these conversations with our children. Because if WE don’t do it, then someone else will. And that someone could be a misinformed child. Or – worse yet – an adult taking advantage of a misinformed child. So…

  • What can we do to start the dialogue without making our children (or ourselves) too uncomfortable?
  • How do we turn taboo subjects into safe discussion topics?
  • When is it okay to bring this stuff up?

We’ve got some simple answers: DO YOUR BEST. BE HONEST. NOW!

We’ll admit – simple answers do not translate into a simple task. It’s okay to be nervous when it comes to talking about things like drug use, sex, death or other trauma, etc. These topics aren’t easy for most adults to discuss, and a child entering the discussion brings up entirely new concerns including maturity, communication skills, and social & emotional development.

The first steps for parents should be to find resources, talk with other parents and start talking to their kids immediately no matter how old they are. Here are some great online resources that give tips, sample dialogue and encouragement to start talking today:

  1. TALKING TOUGH TOPICS Fact Sheet (from SCAN’s Parent Resource Center)
  2. 10 Steps to Talk With Your Kids from Children Now and The Kaiser Family Foundation
  3. “Talking about tough topics” web page from PBS
  4. Talking to Your Child About Drugs from Nemours (with a great breakdown by ages)
  5. Talking With Kids Booklet from Nickelodeon

Now it’s your turn–how have YOU started meaningful discussions about tough topics in your family? Share your stories, tips and ideas below for a chance to win 2 TICKETS to ShamrockFest on March 24, 2012 from our friends over at National ShamrockFest! Comment all week…we’ll announce a winner in just a few days!

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