I often hear people talking about adolescents and how they don’t want to talk to their parents anymore about their feelings and about things that are bothering them. But with my daughter, she was was pretty much that way her whole life. I see those moments on TV where the parent sits down on the front step, puts their arm around their kid, and has an in depth conversation about some problem. That was not my experience. That kind of direct approach made my daughter feel uncomfortable and awkward and it made her shut down. Over the years I did learn how to discuss the issues we needed to talk about though and so now I’m sharing my 4 tips for tackling tough topics with kids with you!
Story time –
Sometimes choosing just the right story to read together at bedtime would help open the door to a discussion in a subtle way. Instead of talking about my daughter and her feelings directly, we could talk about the feelings of the character in the book. Relating it to that character’s experience made it seem a little less like I was probing or pressuring her and more like we were just chatting about an interesting book as we often did but the lesson was still there.
Crafting together –
Pulling out the paints or clay can really help when it comes to those tough talks. Kids can let their feelings out through their artwork and that often makes it easier to express themselves when faced with a difficult situation. Even asking them to use the art supplies to show how they feel about _____________ (insert tough topic here) can be really illuminating and help to get the discussion started.
Tea time –
This was a favourite of ours. Even to this day we still love going to a tearoom and having afternoon tea. As we would chat over tea, we would relax and begin to open up with each other, making it much easier to talk about those sad or embarrassing things in our lives that we might normally be reluctant to bring up. (Because let’s face it, it’s not only the kids who sometimes have trouble talking about these tricky subjects!). You might find that playing board games or going for a walk or cooking together works for you!
My daughter and I are avid TV and movie watchers! We love to cuddle up and watch them together, providing our own commentary all the way through. And they have been the catalyst for SO many great discussions! We have tackled pretty much every issue you could possibly imagine and have solved all the problems of the world during our TV and movie sessions. Netflix is PERFECT for finding those shows with the themes you need to get the conversation going with your kids too.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Watch Ep. S1E1: Babee’s Room
Buzzabee and Rubee compete over who Babee (their new sibling) gets to room with. Mom and dad must explain to Buzzabee and Rubee that Babee needs to grow up before she can share a room.
Watch Ep. S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/Sorry We’re Closed Today
Larry and Laura Carrot want to adopt puppies, but quickly learn it takes responsibility in order to watch over and care for a pet of their own.
Following the Rules
Watch Ep. S1E6: Stormy Weather/ Baba’s Adventure/ Rock Music
Mama tells Oona and Baba to stay close with a storm approaching. After ignoring her advice, Oona and Baba get stuck in a seagull nest during the heavy thunderstorms.
FOR THE BIGGER KIDS
Watch Ep. S1E13: Star
After Dulcinea feels like no one in the group needs her help, she tries to use a newly-discovered wishing star to show her worth — but fails — showing her that her presence alone has lit up her friends’ lives all along.
Watch Ep. S1E3: Smart is the New Cool
After McKeyla insists she works better alone, she learns that four is better than one when her friends jump in to help her rescue the Prince from a botched space mission.
FOR THE TEENS
Actions Have Consequences
Watch Ep. S1E1&2: Pilot & Consequently
Brandon finds himself in a dangerous situation when trying to help Callie (his new foster sister) find her brother — learning that his actions can result in unexpected consequences.
Watch Ep. S1E16: Home
After Sue demands that Mercedes lose weight, Quinn steps in to change her mindset and together they set the stage for beauty at William McKinley High, teaching the importance of empowerment and inclusion.