When your kids begin to approach their teenage years, you know it’s time to start having some uncomfortable conversations. You know, the type you and your kids dread equally?
Yeah, those conversations.
But here’s the thing. Those squirmy moments are completely worthwhile because they can help your teens make informed decisions and avoid mistakes.
Here are five difficult conversations worth having with your teenagers.
1. The Sex Talk
Let’s get this one out of the way first. This is the most important conversation you’ll never want to have. And even though your kids will probably act like they already know everything, they don’t. There are things you can tell your teens that will help them in their development. Because when kids are learning everything from their friends, they aren’t always getting the truth. Ideally, you’ll want to talk to your kids about sex before their friends do.
2. The Confidence Talk
Although you’re going to want to instill confidence in your children throughout their lives, it’s a good idea to have at least one sit-down conversation about understanding their value. Not everyone we encounter will value our time, friendship, or love. But that doesn’t mean these things aren’t valuable. Do what you can to ensure your child knows that their worth is inherent to who they are. It doesn’t depend on anyone else’s approval. This may also help your children make more independent decisions and avoid succumbing to peer pressure.
3. The Substance Abuse Talk
This is another talk where you may be met with some eye-rolling, but rest assured that your teens do not know everything about drugs. They may be more familiar with current lingo, but there’s a lot they need to learn about addiction. Teenage alcohol abuse is a major problem, and you want your kids to act responsibly and be as safe as possible.
4. The Self-Care Talk
Self-care habits are developed at an early age, and kids often pick them up from their parents. As your kids become teens, talk to them about the importance of eating right and exercising. While keeping a body-positive tone, you may also want to address signs you need to lose weight for health reasons. The way they take care of their bodies now will likely be the way they live as adults, so this is a critical time.
5. The Life Plan Talk
Your kids don’t have to have their lives figured out in their teenage years, and they definitely don’t need that kind of pressure. But they should start thinking about their future and how their decisions now can impact their lives later. No matter what they’ll do for a living, things like good study habits, saving money, and establishing a credit history can really help set them up for easier adulthood. Again, this is a talk you’ll be having often, but be sure to address it in your child’s teenage years as they prepare for adulthood. At this point, it may even be a good idea to sit down and create a three or five-year plan.
Sometimes, the most important conversations are also the most difficult. As a parent, you want to set your child up for success, and these conversations will lay the groundwork for a healthy adulthood. After all, when your kids reach their teenage years, there are only so many teachable moments left.