How To Touch on Touchy Subjects with Your Kids
School is starting again! All across the country moms are leaping for joy (after they lovingly usher their cherubs out the door, of course). With all your preparation for the new beginning, have you also prepared for the changes the new school year will inevitably dump in your lap?
Trust me, the touchy subjects are right around the corner. Now is the time to get ready—before the touchy subjects rear their ugly heads.
A Broaching Approach
I’ve broken down how to broach a touchy subject into 7 steps that every mom can follow.
Step 1. Once you know what you want to discuss, plan a time for a specific activity for just you and one daughter (make something together, polish your toenails, wash the car, etc.), something that puts you side-by-side (an on-the-same-side stance), instead of facing each other (confronting stance).
Step 2. While you are casually occupied (and building a fond memory), bring up ONLY ONE touchy subject, like:
∗ New Consequences for Household Rules
∗ Screen Time
∗ (Take your pick!)
Step 3. Broach the discussion in an indirect, theoretical manner.
∗ “How does your best friend handle the situation emotionally?”
∗ “How do you think that behavior will benefit your friend when she’s 20 years old?”
∗ “What do you think her 30 year old self would say about the situation?”
∗ “What do you think is a healthy way to handle this?”
Step 4. Listen to the answers. Listening will give you insight to your ever-changing child. Don’t judge. Do not contradict the opinions you are asking for. They are her opinions and she’s entitled to them.
Step 5. When she’s done sharing, it’s your turn. Share what it was like for your friends or siblings back when they were kids. Recount a funny related memory, or describe the plot of a show that deals with this particular touchy subject.
Step 6. Invite her reaction to your conversation.
∗ “What would you have done differently?”
∗ “What was a good thing that came out of it?”
∗ “How would your friend have handled it?”
Step 7. Introduce the new rule/consequence/curfew/chore, and explain how things are going to play out going forward.
Dealing With an Upset Daughter
If she gets upset with the new rule/consequence/curfew/chore, or wants to contest the new rule/consequence/curfew/chore, invite her to research evidence that supports her view, and bring it to you tomorrow. You will do the same.
Then set aside time for another casual activity for just the two of you to do while you discuss the topic further. However, you always reserve the right, as the adult in the room, to make the final call. I wouldn’t worry about that, though. If you come armed with your research, your darling won’t be able to argue with your decision.
Preparation Will Ensure Success
Once you determine your topic for discussion, do your homework. Research evidence that supports your view.
Pick an activity for the two of you to do during your discussion, plus a second one, just in case there’s a follow-up. Once you’ve selected the relevant show/story you want to share, you’re ready (even if you feel a little shaky about it).
Now, go for it!
Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting strategist and coach. She is dedicated to supporting awesome moms like you. Her mission is to help mothers identify what they’re already doing right, and then supplement the areas that may need a boost. She uses all of her expertise as an award-winning author, coach, educator, and speaker to bolster your individual situation.