Posted by Dave on December 23, 2011 at 2:15 PM
I talk a great deal about parents’ roles as a child’s most important teachers. Not all subjects parents must deal with are easy ones. You might immediately think of the “birds and bees” talk, but there are other difficult subjects as well. Relationship issues, death, major illness, and disability are also tricky.
Kids need to learn to deal appropriately with life’s most stressful events while they’re still kids. Kids are pretty resilient, especially when they have supportive and loving parents to guide them through. Shielding them from difficult or unpleasant events isn't doing them any favors, because when they encounter them for the first time later in life, they won't have the cognitive and emotional tools they need.
Keep your support age-appropriate. A six-year-old doesn't need the same level of detail an older child or teen might. Answer their questions as best you can, keeping in mind the child's perspective. Concepts a teen might grasp will likely confuse a younger child.
If you feel you might not be comfortable dealing with a topic or situation, perhaps now is a good time to get a handle on it, perhaps with the help of a friend or a professional. Then, when that "teachable moment" comes, you'll be ready when your child needs your support and guidance. Don’t send your kids off into the world unprepared for life’s inevitable rough spots.