Controversial subjects are some of the most difficult to discuss. Especially with children. They are inquisitive by nature and you know there is no way you’re going to be able to answer all of the “why’s” and “why not’s” that your kid will inevitably bring to the table. But it’s our job as parents to explain the world around us, and you don’t want your child to grow up misinformed.
Whether you’re talking about transgenderism, the opioid epidemic or the latest mass shooting, try to remain calm. Follow these easy ways to talk to your child about controversial subjects.
Get all the facts first
Misinformation spreads like wildfire, so be sure to check the facts before you have a talk with your kids. This is true for any controversial subject because controversy often stems from rumor and speculation. Find out what’s true and what’s not, so that you can be a source of accurate information for your child.
Choose a good time
If you’re talking about something that’s on the news, don’t wait too long to have your talk. Your kids will be getting information from many sources, and one of them should be you. However, you should to choose a time when your child is calm and ready to listen openly. There may never be a perfect time but try to choose one that’s not chaotic.
Ask questions too
When you’re talking about something that you know better than your kids, it’s easy to turn the conversation into a lecture. To avoid this, ask questions throughout the talk. It’ll help you get a feel for what your kids are absorbing and how they’re handling the matter.
Stick to the facts
If you have strong feelings about something, it’s easy to force your opinions on to your children. But if you want to raise children who can think for themselves, it’s better to leave them some room to think about the subject for themselves. Try giving just the facts first and then asking what they think. After you hear their opinion, you can share yours. There are so many ways to broach the subject, and none of them are wrong. But whatever you do, make a conscious effort to give more facts than opinion.
Remember that these conversations are difficult for adults, so your children may not react in a way you’d expect. Try to practice patience as you go through the talk. And if your child seems too distracted, it may be best to take a break. It’s important for you to remain calm during this talk, so if you’re feeling stressed, step away for a moment. You don’t want your child to associate this topic with negative feelings.
It’s never easy to talk about controversial things, but it’s better for your kids to learn from you than to piece together what they hear on the news and from friends. Talking to your kids about these things will also help build their maturity.