The parenting journey is the most incredibly difficult and entertaining experience you will ever go through. For the most part, all you can do is grab hold of your child’s baby grow and then hang on for dear life as they navigate the world and find out who they are as a person. However, there are times where you need to step in and act as the wise woman you are, and that is when the struggle becomes real.
All of us just treading water and trying to do what we can with the information we have, but that does not mean we have all the answers. Nope. Not at all. Instead, we follow our gut, guide our kids based on what we believe to be morally right and hope that they survive their childhood as best as possible.
You need to teach the respect, help them understand why there are rules in place, how important manners are, why school is important and how to go after their dreams, all while playing the role of day-to-day mum or dad. As we said, it is a struggle. But amongst all of this, it is absolutely imperative you hold a few crucial conversations. Trust us, you and your kid will massively benefit from them.
1. Sit Down And Ask Them How They Are
We can all be a little obsessed with our own child. You want to be with them every waking minute (even though they stress you out no end) and talk to them and understand who they are better. But when was the last time you asked them how they are; how they really are. We don’t just mean, “how was your day, sweetheart?” We mean asking them how they are doing in general. No one wants to unload their feelings without a prompt, so give your child the floor and let them tell you whatever is on their mind or, better yet, in their hearts. It could take a bit of patience on your part, and a bit of trial and error in the way you ask, but once they are comfortable you will be amazed at what spills out of them. So long as you are sympathetic and not pushy, you will be amazed at who your wonderful little one is and you’ll be teaching them a) how to express their emotions and b) that it is okay to express them.
2. Talk To Them About Being Street Smart
It would be absolutely amazing if we all lived in the fictional world of some Disney film where we could let our kids run around the streets without having a single worry or twinge of anxiety about what if this happened or what if that occurred. Unfortunately, that is not possible these days. Whether you blame that on the press, the way society has gone or your own insecurities don't matter; parents don’t feel confident enough to make that kind of Mayberry dream a reality. However, there will come a time where you have to let go which is why it’s so important you talk to them about being street smart. You want them to be kids but not naive. You need them to be aware of the potential dangers out there and how to spot them coming from as far away as possible. If you know they can spot dangers then you know they are more likely to be safe, and that’s all a parent wants; a safe and happy child.
3. Have A Chat About Compassion
Raising a child that boasts a wealth of compassion is far better than raising one that is just focussed on making money because compassion is what makes someone want to make a difference. It is the foundation for making them open-minded and sympathetic to their surrounding, especially people. A great place to start is teaching them what a compassionate act is and how they can have compassion for other people, whether they be less fortunate or seem as though they have it all. The intrinsic rewards of showing compassion and actively wanting to help others go far beyond anything else. That is where happiness and purpose come from.
4. We Can’t Leave Out The Birds & The Bees
We get it, this is a conversation you would rather not have because the idea of your little one growing up and becoming sexually active is disconcerting, to say the least. But they will grow up, it is their destiny, and so the best thing we can do is talk to them about sex. That means teaching them about the responsibilities involved such as using contraception, whether that be a microgynon pill an implant or condoms, as well as how to own their sexuality and not feel pressured to do anything. Trust us, your kids are going to feel just as embarrassed about this chat if not more, but it is up to you to open the door and start educating them. They will learn about this at some point, so it is whether you want to be the guiding voice or leave it to their friends-slash-the internet.
5. Discuss The Growing Issue Of Bullying
This is a part of growing up that has gotten disgustingly out of hand, thanks to the Internet. It isn’t just being done face to face anymore, it is being done through social media and instant messengers and that has had a severe effect on young people, and we mean that in the most serious way possible. Bullying is such a real problem and your role is to teach your kid how and why it is important to speak up if they are getting bullied or indeed know someone that is. You need to make the effort to talk to your children about the topic of bullying, but make sure you read advice about how to first and how to spot the signs that they are being bullied so that you avoid making any mistakes that push them further away. Most parents weren’t brought up in the internet age, so this can be new and terrifying, so it’s as much about educating yourself as it is guiding your kids. It’s hard but so important.