Parenting is so fast-paced that we seldom have time to plan or act in advance. We often plan to discuss important subjects with our kids, but sometimes we’re too late, and our kids learn all the wrong things from all the wrong people. These are subjects that you should discuss with your children before their peers do.
Be the first to discuss these important subjects with your children because:
- That makes you the primary source of information, not their peers.
- You define the starting point for your child’s understanding of the issue.
- Your child will see you as an ally should her peers try to turn her against you.
Before you talk to your child about serious subjects, use these 2 rules:
- Bring the issue up 1–3 years before her peers are likely to.
- Know where you stand on the issue, and hold your ground.
Issue No. 1: Cell Phones
Children struggle to control the use of a cell phone in settings where focus and self discipline are required and stakes are high, such as in school. The Internet challenges your child’s ability to use focus and self-control. Plus, the Internet exposes your child to potential online predators.
Issue No. 2: Sex
What makes sex a truly big issue is that most parents don’t discuss it with their children before they are exposed to it by peers or the Internet. And this happens at surprisingly early ages.
Issue No. 3: Role Models
As parents, we thrill to see our children admire role models who seem virtuous, but when teen celebrities show up on the Internet in provocative photos, what do we do?
Issue No. 2: Friendships
Friendships are a dime a dozen until around age 8, but then they take on more serious tones. What your child learns now about friendships will impact critical decisions they make about friends in middle and high school, when you will have less influence.
For tips on how to specifically discuss these issues, read the PDF from LearnGarden.
Article by Jennifer Jones, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist
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