As your child’s first and primary teacher, you have the responsibility of imparting basic life lessons to her. Many of the things you will teach your child, such as manners and how to get along in life will be fairly simple. There will be other life lessons, however, that are a far cry from simple. These lessons can be awkward for even the most laid back parents to impart. These lessons include:
- The birds and the bees – Even in this day and age, many parents still get queasy when the time comes to teach their kids about anything having to do with sex. The good news is there are now a lot of programs to help you teach your kids and make it fun and interesting, as well as non-threatening to both kids and parents. It is far better to teach your kids about things and impart your family values and expectations, than to avoid “the talk” and have your kids learn the hard way from friends or others.
- Adolescent changes for boys – As boys grow older, there are certain questions they will have about their changing bodies. Most boys will be referred to their fathers or other family males for help with such questions. Mothers may feel awkward and unknowledgeable in this area, but there are resources available to help. Just realize that this is a part of growing up and nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Adolescent changes for girls – Girls will also have questions and certain needs as their bodies change. Some parents have a hard time trying to figure out what to tell their girls about the changes that are taking place and wait until they are asked. Whether you wait or decide to talk to your daughter before the changes begin, prepare yourself, so that you can address her questions with sensitivity and correct information.
- How to use feminine products – Some mothers are uncomfortable getting into the mechanics of using such things as tampons and fathers don’t want to touch the subject with a ten foot pole. Don’t worry parents, there are tutorials available, but your daughter would still most likely appreciate your care and concern for her.
- The difference between an admirer and a predator – Teaching your daughter how to protect herself from unwanted advances can be tricky. Teen girls live to be noticed, and they enjoy the attention of young men. At the same time, there are predators out there who know just how to disarm unsuspecting young women with sweet words. You may not want to seem overprotective, especially when your daughter feels that you are being silly by bringing up this particular subject, but it is much better to sit her down and have a discussion, than to take a chance on her getting hurt.
- Protection or abstinence – This conversation can be awkward on both sides, but it is necessary. As parents, we would like to believe that our little boys and girls will grow up without needing to know about these things because there will never be a need to talk about them; things will happen in a happy, natural progression. Everyone knows that is not the case. Your children need to be well informed about you family values, as well as what to do if they choose not to adhere to those values. Pregnancy and STD’s are realities that they need to be aware of.
- How to get girls – Believe it or not, this is one of those things boys would like to learn from a parent, but are often too afraid to ask about. Parents either don’t think of it or they don’t necessarily want to encourage their boys to pursue girls. Even though it may be an awkward subject, this would be a good time to instill some gentlemanly values in your son and teach him how to be a respectful suitor.
- The hazards of alcohol – Most parents assume their child would never indulge in alcohol as an underage person; they also hope their kids will not go overboard when they reach drinking age. Talking to your kids about drinking and the associated hazards early on may just help you and your children avoid serious problems down the road.
- Talks about drugs – Many parents do not even know what illegal drugs are available to kids, much less what they look like and what they do. It’s important for parents to get educated on this subject and have a serious talk with the kids. Drug dealers are in all neighborhoods and kids of all races and socio-economic groups are being targeted. Kids are raiding the medicine cabinets at home and at their friends’ and relatives’ homes to get prescription drugs. Be proactive and find out what’s going on in your child’s environment.
- How to handle money – For some parents, money matters can be a sensitive subject for a variety of reasons. If you expect your children to learn how to be good financial managers of their lives, you will need to overcome your own feelings, and teach them some basic budgeting skills. There is plenty of information available to help you, including the resources at your bank or credit union.
Teaching some of the more touchy things may come easy to some parents and completely freak others out. Learning to deal with your own biases and fears regarding certain subjects can help you grow as a person as you gain the courage to teach your kids the lessons they need to learn. Sometimes, it’s the kids that will feel awkward as you approach them about certain subjects. Be patient and let them know you care about them getting the information from you.