How to Communicate with Your Children About Hard Topics

| Ashley Davis LMFT

Due to current societal and global issues, many parents find themselves in the position of having to have tough conversations with their children right now.  Some parents struggle with educating their children on hard topics and are unclear of how to even get these conversations started.  How do you even begin to talk to kids about complex issues?  How do you explain things to them in a way that they will understand?  How much information is too much information?  If you have these kinds of questions about how to talk to your kids about current events you are not alone.  I hope the following pointers will act as a guide to help you with having hard conversations with your kids now and in the future.

  • Explain adult situations as age appropriately as possible.  Look into potential resources for children that may help you explain difficult topics to them based upon their age group such as child friendly books, videos, or television shows.
  • Give only as much information as you believe is necessary or appropriate for any given situation.  Be open to answering further questions about certain topics as your children age or gain new information.  Some more complex situations may take several conversations over a longer period of time for kids to grasp key concepts.
  • Normalize any emotions that may come with tough issues.  If appropriate, let your children know emotions that you experience with the topic at hand and discuss healthy ways they can express their emotions.
  • Be patient with your kids if you notice them acting out during times of high stress.  Kids very easily pick up on the emotions of others around them, and they may notice your stress level even if they can’t articulate this.  Be sure to let them know that they are safe no matter what, while still holding them accountable for negative behaviors.

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