Talking With Your Teen About Sex, Drugs, and Money
Getting around the roadblocks: With kids drawing conclusions from unreliable sources — their clueless friends, unrealistic TV shows — you need to give them the real facts, even if they say they've heard it all before. "I hear 'I know, I know,' a lot," says Donna Frost, a mom of three in Hoover, AL. "My response: 'Guess what? You're hearing it again.'"
And if you couch it as a dialogue — an opportunity to exchange thoughts, and not just a chance to convey information — you'll have an easier time getting past the blow-off, says Lerner. Just say, "I know you've heard this stuff before, but I just want to be sure you understand my views about it, and I want to know your views. I love you, and I just want to be confident we're on the same page."
This kind of communication is what kids want, too. You are still your kids' major role model, says Lerner — and you are up for the challenge.
Mom-Tested: 5 Smart Times to Talk
- 'Round midnight. Teens are frequently nocturnal, and a kid just coming in for the evening is often jazzed and ready to chat
- On deadline. Use teen procrastination to your advantage — carefully. There's nothing like a paper due the next day to prime a teen for a heart-to-heart. Just don't let him blow off the assignment
- Snack time. Ever met a teen who wouldn't trade five minutes of conversation for a fresh-baked chocolate cookie or two?
- While driving. It's a lot easier to discuss embarrassing topics when you don't have to do it eye to eye, which can feel confrontational
- Chore time. Shared work, like planting seeds or painting the garage, keeps hands busy and puts you on the same team
Originally published on February 5, 2009
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