We know that there are dangers lurking just around the corner of tween and throughout the whole journey of teen and beyond. As parents we can only do so much to help them ride this well worn but rather bumpy old track of childhood, but we need to give it a good go.
When we talk about the dangers of the online world, cyber bullying and the preservation of ones digital reputation we talk about the need to have open and honest discussions with our kids. When we talk about the dangers of alcohol, drugs, sex and other risk-taking behaviour of adolescents, we talk about the need for open and honest discussions with our kids.
We do this because we want them to come to us. We want them to ring us in the middle of the night rather than get in that car.
We want them to tell us about that fight rather than take it out on their siblings and stew over it for a week.
We want them to go somewhere in the back of their minds and revert to a past conversation or a gut feeling when they are deciding which way to go.
And I imagine it is harder as our kids get older. Sometimes they don’t want to tell us about their day anymore. They don’t want you asking them every detail of their night out or their best friends party. Sometimes it takes me a while to get to the bottom of a child’s mood or sadness. It is sometimes about finding that balance between nagging at them to let it all out and simply letting them know you are there. Trying to remind them that they will feel better when they let it out without forcing them to talk and building up that wall.
But hopefully, if the groundwork is done early, they will come to you when it counts. Studies show that most kids want the conversations with their parents as they get older and need to know they will be there. They just don’t always let that be known.
When it comes to listening to our kids, sometimes we all need to be reminded to turn to them and give them our full attention even when they are telling us something we dont think is significant. If they know we are going to tune in to the little things, then hopefully they will know too that we are wholeheartedly there to take on the big stuff too.