As a parent of a teen, there are a lot of challenges that you have to deal with. You have to figure out how to balance being their parent and helping them begin their preparation to become an adult. Some topics are easier to deal with, but some conversations shouldn’t be left to someone else. Here are a few things that may be awkward or uncomfortable to talk about that need some serious discussion.
Talking about puberty or “the birds and the bees” can be a little bit of an awkward conversation, especially if this is your first child. This may not be the first time you are talking to your teen about this, and it probably shouldn’t. Puberty starts affecting children when they are as young as 8 now, but they don’t need to hear everything at that point. They will get some information about puberty from health and maturation classes at school, but that isn’t going to be enough. The information given in those classes is sparse and general. It is important that you talk to your teen about what is going on with their body and how to handle it. Hygiene and self-esteem become a pretty big deal. What you talk about should be based on the age and maturity of your child, but don’t put this off because you don’t want to deal with it. Your teen needs to be comfortable coming to you with the issues they face.
Whether you approve of your teen engaging in sexual activity or not, you need to make sure they understand how to stay safe if this is something they choose to participate in. Avoiding this subject with your child won’t keep them from engaging in sexual activity, it will simply leave them vulnerable because they don’t know what they need to do to stay safe. They will hear plenty of jokes about STDs, but that doesn’t give them information. It is particularly important that you talk about the more prevalent STDs, such as HIV, how they are contracted, and how to prevent it. This is also a good time to talk about consent and respect for those that they date. You can’t control your child, but you can give them the tools to protect themselves.
Bullying has had a huge impact on way too many teens, and it can’t be ignored. If your teen isn’t being bullied directly, they probably know someone who is bullying or being bullied. Even if you don’t think your child is being bullied, this is an important conversation that you may need to have multiple times. You can’t always tell what is going on at school with your teen, so you need to make sure that you check in with them regularly. Developing a good relationship with your teen will allow them to open up to you. Make sure that they understand that they can talk to you about anything.
Teens aren’t just concerned with what is currently going on; they are also preparing for the future. You may expect your child to go to college, study something important, and end up with an awesome family and career. While having high expectations for your child is important, it is also important to remember that you shouldn’t force your child to follow your goals and dreams. As they start looking forward to the future, talk to them about what they want. You can encourage them to reach their full potential, but allow them to set their own goals as a priority.
Teens are in the awkward stage of still needing their parents while preparing for the transition to adulthood. Make this time easier for them by having these important conversations with honesty and tact. The most important thing that you can do is to make sure you are available to help them when they need it while still teaching them to stand on their own feet.