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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