Programming young people to talk to us all the time.
In our last newsletter, the Parent Buzz provided tips and techniques for being an askable adult. Another way parents and caring adults can support the young people in their life is by taking advantage of teachable moments. Many parents may not be sure how to have “the talk,” and jumping right into conversations about sex and protection can feel like a big hurdle.
It can be helpful for us as parents to be mindful of potential chances and think about what questions we would be comfortable asking our children in those moments. Once you start noticing times when you could have a conversation, start talking! The conversations may not be about you or your child, but about things you see or hear every day. This might happen while watching a TV show and talking about expectations for certain characters. Perhaps it’s about a book you both read, and the relationships within the book. Maybe it’s listening to the radio, and talking about those song lyrics or that news update.
The more often we hold these smaller, daily conversations, the easier it will be to start the big conversations.
And here’s where we have the chance to truly affect behavior and to put being an askable adult into action! Reinforce their conversation. Making our children realize they can safely make statements to us related to relationships or sexuality, even if it is not directly about us or them, will encourage more conversation. By showing we are comfortable talking to them about these topics, we keep the door open to conversations about them, their relationships, and any other questions.
This also makes it easier for us as askable adults. As we become more practiced in starting these conversations and guiding our children through these interactions, it becomes easier for us, too.
So when are we having the talk? The answer is always, and a little bit at a time.