When your kids are babies, you don’t really give much thought to how you are going to talk to them about sensitive topics. Often times we find ourselves not prepared at all when our kids ask us where babies come from or if Heaven really exists.
Set the Scene
I believe that the setting and atmosphere that you provide for a difficult conversation can make a world of a difference in how your little one responds to the conversation. When I need to have a talk with our oldest, I make sure that she is in a good mood and receptive to having a conversation with me. If your child is angry or sleepy or just in an off mood, it probably won’t do any good to attempt to have a conversation as they most likely won’t be receptive to what you are saying.
Make Eye Contact
When you make eye contact with your child, you are showing them respect. You are also communicating to them that you are giving them your full attention. During the conversations, you want to avoid checking your phone, even if you get a notification. Keeping eye contact throughout the conversation shows your child that you are engaged the whole time.
Use a Calm Voice
Using a calm voice is welcoming to your child. It makes them feel like you are a safe place for them to bring their questions and they know that you aren’t mad or angry with their questions. A calm voice also helps your child to feel calm throughout the conversation, too.
Use Words They Can Understand
By using words that are age appropriate and words that they can understand, you ensure that they are fully comprehending what you are explaining to them. You know your child better and anyone else and you will know what words to use and which ones to avoid in any given conversation.
Allow Them to Ask Questions
Allow them to ask you questions about the topic and don’t get frustrated with them if they aren’t understanding at first. Sometimes, I will have to explain the same thing to my girls in two or three times, using different examples or phrases until they understand. It takes time for their little minds to wrap around a new concept or idea, even if they are the ones that came to you with the question initially.
As much as possible, you really want to avoid lying to them and using that lie as an answer or explanation to their question. I know that sometimes you may think that it is easier in the moment or that your child isn’t “ready” to hear the answer but lying won’t help either of you. If your child finds out that you lied to him, you will have a hard time rebuilding that broken trust.
No matter what the topic is that you need to discuss with your child, the key is to keep the lines of communication open. You want them to know that you are always a safe place for them to come to with any question or problem that they have.