Discussing important conversations with your teenager is not something that has a script. Often these conversations can be uncomfortable. These conversations must be natural and unrehearsed. If you prepare beforehand, you can feel more confident and comfortable in tackling these discussion topics resulting in a much more open and successful conversation.
Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are being introduced to children at earlier stages. Even though there are laws that prevent minors from using or drinking, finding supplies is not an issue. It is important your teenager understands the effects drugs and alcohol can have on their body. They need to know that their brain is still maturing which makes them especially vulnerable for drugs to impact their brain’s chemistry. They also need to know the impact drugs and alcohol will have on the choices they make for the rest of their lives.
Today’s teenagers are struggling with mental health more than ever. With increased stress stimulators, mental illness among teens is more and more common. Half of mental illnesses begin at around age 14. Train your child to protect their mental health and support them in doing so. It is important to teach your teen how to pay attention to red flags which include feelings of exhaustion, withdrawn, isolated, depressed, overwhelmed, etc. Recognizing these feelings can help them identify when they are struggling and when to seek professional assistance.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to have open conversations with your teen about intimate relationships. Intimacy goes far beyond the birds and the bees talk. You need to talk with your child about how to have safe sex. You need to teach them about sexual consent and preventing sexual assault. You also need to teach them the emotional impact of an intimate relationship and how to identify when someone is manipulating them. Teens that have open conversations about sex are more likely to delay sex and use protection when they do engage in a sexual relationship.
Teens desperately want their parent’s approval. Even if they don’t always follow what you tell them to do. Try not to preach, judge, or lecture your child. When it comes to talking about important topics, they need to feel equal and capable. Taking time to have these conversations will make your relationship stronger and give them the tools they need to succeed in life.
Check out this article on how to raise strong, confident kids!