Drugs, stranger danger, bullying, inappropriate behavior, sex, what to do in case of a fire (or other disasters) – there are a multitude of topics parents should discuss with their kids.
But many parents put off such discussions leaving it to others to tell their kids what they need to know. If that information is coming from the school that may be okay but expecting your kids to just “know” this information or pick it up from their friends or TV is ridiculous.
Kids need guidance and instruction on how to handle situations that will come up. I know parents who avoid some of these talks because they believe their kids are just too young, or that they live in a nice, safe area so these things won’t happen. But sadly, these things do happen, and it is best if you are the one providing the information to your child.
Here are a few of the discussions we have had with our kids in the past few months or will be having soon.
We really haven’t addressed this too much yet. The kids know from school/red ribbon week that drugs are bad, but I don’t think they know what that means. We have been making sure we call the medication prescribed by doctors as medication and not drugs. And with Jase entering the fourth grade, I think a more serious discussion of this will come up this school year.
One day in the car, Lexie saw someone in another car smoking and mentioned they shouldn’t do that as smoking was bad (good girl). Jase disagreed with her. He said smoking cigarettes was fine. That brought up a discussion on the dangers of smoking.
A few years ago, we bought the DVD The Safe Side – Stranger Safety and let both kids watch it. Recently, I decided it was time to watch it again. Lexie is the one I worry about. She is the type to go over and make friends with anyone with a dog. She always asks me first and then asks the owner before petting the dog, but I can see her wanting to help someone who says they “lost” their dog.
The video goes over more than strangers. It goes over those people that you “kind of” know like your soccer coach or your neighbor. It is corny, but it does a good job of getting the message through. On the DVD, they suggest you tell your kids just three people that it is okay to go with such as grandma, a babysitter or a family friend.
No one wants to think about their house on fire. And I am sure that many families don’t make a plan for what to do in case of a fire even though they know they should. Well, thanks to the 52 week organizing challenge’s emergency preparedness week, we not only have new fire extinguishers and a fire ladder for Lexie’s room, but we also have discussed with the kids what to do and not do in case of a fire. We even put the fire ladder out Lexie’s window. My hubby climbed down it to test it much to the dismay of the kids. I think the hardest thing for Jase was to realize that he needs to get himself out and not worry about his sister, the cats or our dog.
All of these topics will need to be readdressed not only to help drive home the message but to be expanded on as the kids get older. And I know there will be additional conversations over the next few years on other topics. Bullying will definitely be coming up soon. I have come to realize that little girls are often mean. We are already facing issues with Lexie that we never did with Jase. And in fourth grade Jase will have his first school discussion about the changes his body will go through.
Now to important thing is to make time for these discussions BEFORE the kids need the information.