I remember when my kids were small and I knew every aspect of their life, 24/7. I also remember wanting a break, needing time away to recharge and reconnect with myself.
Oh, irony. How you mess with me.
Because now, my kids are older and I’m fighting to stay connected with them.
Hi, my name is Sharon, and I’m the mom to a teen and a child who-thinks-he’s-a-teen. Both are now entering the era of oh-my-gawd-mom-you’re-so-embarrassing.
The challenge is keeping the conversations going with them now, so that when they do hit those teen years, I’m not struggling to have conversations with them then.
While I won’t say it’s one of my super-hero powers—like my ability to always pick the slowest checkout line—I’m actually not too bad with doing this whole talking to my kids thing. So here are a few helpful tips to help you keep the conversations going with your older children.
I used to be scared sh*tless when my parents would come into my room to talk, because the only time they ever entered my Sean Cassidy domain was when I was in deep trouble.
My older son is into DJing, my younger son loves sports. I use these interests as a way to ensure I have a secure spot to talk to them where they both feel comfortable. With my older son, I’ll go into his room and hang out on his bed while he mixes songs on his DJ system. Thus, when I do need to go into his room to talk about something important, it doesn’t freak him out because he’s used to me being there.
The same goes for my sport-loving boy. We have our best conversations driving to and from games and practices, so if there’s anything I need to discuss with him (or he with me), that’s where we do it.
I’ve found kids tend to open up more when a parent isn’t staring them directly in the eye—it becomes less interrogation-like. I assume this is why our family van has been the catalyst for so many interesting conversations. They’re in the back, I’m in the front, and that gives them the freedom to speak to me about things they might not have otherwise.
My kids are not ones to want to talk the moment they get home from school. Sure, they’ll drop a few tidbits, but for the most part they want to throw down their backpacks, grab a snack and chillax. Instead of peppering them with questions, I let them go about their business and we have the “What happened at school conversation” at dinner.
Listen, talking to your kids about sex can be mortifying for both you and your offspring. The easiest way to approach any embarrassing talks is by being matter-of-fact about it.
My son is at an age where his doctor recommended he get the vaccine for the HPV virus. My husband and I decided to put it on hold for now, but wanted to discuss it with him without going into too much detail. The whole conversation was approached in a matter-of-fact way. “If you show an interest in a girl and it’s going to go beyond kissing, please come to me or your dad, because we need to talk to you about the HPV virus.”
The conversation went on for a few minutes, but in the end he wasn’t completely mortified that we had just talked about sex, because I didn’t make a big deal out of it.
I’m very lucky in that both my boys are still affectionate (knock-on-wood) with me, but I know there will come a time when warm hugs turn into cold shoulders, which is why we’ve come up with a few of secret codes for “I Love You.” The codes are subtle enough that anyone else who sees it won’t know what we are doing, but my kids do.
Because no matter how old they are, your kids still always need to know they are loved.
Even when they respond with an eye-roll.
How do you keep conversations going with your kids?
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