3. Don’t Settle on One Subject
There is so much to talk about these days, it isn’t just how babies are made and born. No subject should be off limits: porn, puberty, sex, marriage, lust, ext. Since this shouldn’t be a one-conversation deal, and several subjects fall underneath the umbrella of “the talk,” maybe treat this like a weekly date. One day every week make a mental decision to play hoops or take a walk while talking about a subject.
By talking through all things surrounding sex we inherently begin to normalize it in healthy ways. It produces more conversations because there is no way all the things can be talked about in one conversation. When teaching your child, remember the 'why' is just as important as the 'how.'
4. Don’t Sit Down for a Conversation
I love deep conversations, I often feel like I’ve “fixed” something or “checked” something off of my list after having them. To me a deep conversation is one where everyone sits down and has eye contact. However, this is bound to make talking through some of these issues with your teen or children more cringy.
Hands-on activities are best for starting these conversations. Then, in the silent and quiet moments you have opened the door and offered up an invitation for further conversations. If you have a son, maybe talk through some of these subjects while shooting hoops. If you have a daughter, maybe you craft or paint your nails while talking.
Or maybe have a designated trip where the purpose is to create a few consecutive days to open conversation surrounding the topic. We have three kids, and we decided early on that we wanted to have a “coming of age” trip at ten. A time for our kids to get away with one parent and have open conversations about growing up. The kids get to choose where they go, we had one son who wanted to go to Boston, and another who chose Universal Studios, and our daughter who isn’t ten yet is already excited and planning her trip.
The point of these trips isn’t how fancy the trip we can make it. It could be done by going camping just an hour away. The trip is more about setting aside a larger amount of time to talk. That way if a question comes to surface a couple of hours later you both are in a comfortable environment for your child to bring it up.
Even When You Feel Like They Aren’t Listening
Remember, even when you feel as if they aren’t listening, chances are they hear you. Don’t base your persistence for intentional conversations off of their reactions. You may feel discouraged, and honestly take that as evidence you are showing up. Continue to do so, pray and ask God for guidance as you go forth addressing these conversations with your teen. Think of this as a way to love your kids well.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz