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Talk to your kids about hard things. Sex. Money. Drugs and alcohol. Pornography. Self-respect.
Yes, I get it, these are reeeeally hard to talk about. Definitely squirmy, uncomfortable stuff here, but, sister, if not you, who? You kids need you. They need you. It’s Monday. You have time to plan for this. Start planning for an important talk this weekend.
You talk to them about not getting into cars with strangers, you tell them to look both ways before they cross the street. Stranger abduction is not very likely (thank God) but there is a 100% chance your kids will have to deal with money, sex and alcohol. Help them be ready for it.
My husband and I talked to our kids about sex, sexuality and relationships when they were in 5th grade. We wanted them to hear about it from us first and within the context of our values. Every Wednesday night, over about eight weeks, we covered basic plumbing, how the plumbing works together to make babies, relationships (stranger, acquaintance, friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé, spouse), oxytocin, and what makes for a good relationship (mutual respect, laughter, honesty, shared values). We used portions of three different textbooks. We’re Christian, so we talked about what God set out as the ideal relationship (monogamy, marriage, love and respect) and why he might have designed it that way.
We talked to our kids about money when they turned sixteen. Well, actually, we shared information with them about our budgeting much earlier than that, but we went with them to meet with a financial planner at sixteen, and then had them open an Options House account and invest a large chunk of their own money. We showed them Dave Ramsey. We watched MaxOut together and talked about debt. At eighteen they opened their own savings and checking accounts.
We have alcoholism and drug addiction in our family, so it was crucial that we talk to our kids about this. We didn’t pull any punches. We explained genetics to them and about how the earlier they drank or tried drugs, the higher the likelihood that they would turn the addictive genes on. We told them that even if their friends tried these things with no ill effect, because of our genetics, they just couldn’t take the chance. We showed them good scientific information and paid them the respect of believing that they were competent enough to understand it. We practiced, out loud, things they could say when they were challenged on their decision not to drink.
Pornography is destroying lives. Be brave, sister. Step up and talk to your kids about the danger of objectifying another human being this way. If your kids have smart phones, know what they are doing. In my opinion, you have every right to ask about this. Privacy? Please. If they had a stranger in their bedroom you’d damn sure want to know who they were and what they were doing with your kids. Strangers are coming into your kids’ rooms through that phone. This is much more likely to be hurting them than the stranger in the car you warned them about. (Frankly, my kids didn’t get smart phones till they had accepted placement at the college of their choice at roughly age eighteen. It was Prehistoric Flip Phones before that. No Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram either. I told them to tell their friends that we were Amish.) That Oxytocin system (which I believe God put in place to bind us to another person because relationships can be hard) can be broken, sure, but why would you want to do that? Why would you want to make this beautiful part of life into something sordid? How would you benefit from that? You won’t. They won’t either and they need you to be brave enough to talk about it.
Your kids need you. Brave the words, sister. Sometimes parenting is hard. But this hard stuff is so important.