The Ten Most Important Talks to Have with Your Children
First, as parent, establish the guiding principles that you'd like your children to follow. After doing so, set aside a time and tone for a conversation with the rest of your family. Set family rules that relate to your values, and post them on the refrigerator as a reminder.
2. Attraction and Love
This is a very sensitive issue for kids. Children begin to feel attracted to others as early as five years old. Continue to talk to your kids about their feelings of attraction throughout each stage of their childhood.
Parents often avoid having "the sex talk" because they are afraid to field questions about their own sex lives. Every parent should be prepared with responses to their kids' questions, based on personal family values. Use your best judgment in deciding what's age-appropriate. Remember: you are allowed to have a private life and to set personal boundaries.
As a child begins puberty, she/he sees herself changing and often doesn't feel good about it. Don't assume a child knows what puberty means. Continue to ask questions like, "How do you feel about your body?"
5. Trust and Honesty
Stress the importance of honesty to your child: honesty that people can believe what you say, and you can believe what they say. Help your child understand what would happen if nobody honored their commitments. They need to understand that the whole world falls apart without trust and honesty as the basis for human interaction.
6. Healthy Relationships
Helping your child to be a good friend begins with you. By learning how to have healthy relationships, especially platonic relationships, children will be better prepared for more complicated sexual relationships when they are older.
You can teach your child to respect personal space and claim her own at an early age. Teach your child that she has a right to her own privacy, and how to respect the privacy of others.
8. Alcohol and Other Drugs
Here are the three key questions you need to ask both yourself and your child:
(1) What are some good decisions you've made?
(2) What are some bad decisions you've made?
(3) How would alcohol and drugs affect those decisions?
Be prepared with how you'll answer these questions to your child.
9. TV, Movies and Music
10. What's Online? Not just about sex and violence, numbers 9 and 10 are about the millions of messages children receive each day through the media and in our culture. As Dominic points out, each of these messages are an opportunity for you to teach your child about your values.