Why We Should Have Tough Conversations with our Kids
Think of a topic you might absolutely freak out about if your child asked you about it. Now, what if you brought it up to him first? Go ahead…gasp, choke, cough, and sputter. But also take courage in the truth Seth shares with us about this very thing!
(October will be a repeat of topics as we are working to create a new Family Matters experience for you!)
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) – “You have heard that it was said…”
What topics are taboo in your family conversations? For some it is finances or others the health of your marriage. For parents speaking with their kids it may be issues of sexuality or pornography. As my wife and I were discussing this very point, a question she asked rang in my ear, “Who are the people in your life who you talk about anything with?” My prayer is as parents we would be one of those people, but I don’t think we will get there by chance.
I am continually struck by the seemingly lack of taboo subjects for Jesus. He talked about all sorts of things that make me a little uneasy. From how I spend my time and money, to how I treat the strangers in my midst, all the way to the thoughts in my head. Jesus was willing to speak truth about hard “personal” topics. How can we be more like Jesus and cultivate a home where hard topics are dialogues?
- When different topics come up, talk about them and their spiritual connections. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7. God has given us his word and He desires the family unit to be a place where His truth is discussed. And this discussion happens in the context of the day. As issues arise talk about them and make those discussions a priority. (Sometimes these issues are emotionally charged depending on history or timing, and waiting for emotions to settle is probably wise. It doesn’t mean the topics should be avoided.)
- Ask questions. Some conversations are not worth waiting for and a question can be a great way to start a discussion. Questions can be a powerful thing. They can prompt thinking as well as open doors for better communication. What a difference it would be if those difficult questions were asked at home and discussed at home, rather than our kids being sideswiped with a challenging question from peers without a foundation from which to draw.
- Be ok with talking about a difficult subject even when you don’t have the “right answer”. There is value in discussing tough subjects and sometimes the value is in the discussion. There may not always be resolution and the discussion may not clarify everything, but there is relational value to be had in speaking as a family about tough subjects. We as leaders of our kids need to be humble and dialogue even when we are not experts.
Talking about difficult subjects is like a muscle. It takes time and practice to hone the skills required to talk about hard topics as a family, but it is a worthy cause. Besides, history has clearly shown us difficult topics aren’t just going away if we ignore them. Let’s do this!
What are two things you think your parents would freak out about if you asked them? What if you give it a shot? You might be surprised at how much it can help you out!