October 19th, 2009


If there’s one thing I’ve seen bring a shudder to more parents than any other task, it’s “THE TALKS”.  Give us diaper duty, homework detail, even puke patrol and we’ll man up and face the job.  Put us in a room with out children to talk about sex or drugs and we’re like middle school kids at the dance; sweaty, nervous, giggly and wishing we were anywhere else. 

As I have recently lamented, there is no parental “owner’s manual”, but www.TalkingWithKids.org can help us navigate the tricky waters of parent/child communication.  TalkingWithKids.org is a website that provides guidelines for addressing a wide range of subjects, from sex and drugs to HIV, violence and even terrorism.    

You can begin with a general list of tips for talking with kids—information such as when to initiate conversations, how to keep it age appropriate, and how to listen as well as talk.  All of the suggestions are ones that are manageable and can be incorporated into our day to day lives.   When you need to be specific, TalkingWithKids breaks down approaches based on subject.  Not to worry if the idea of broaching the subject of sex makes you dizzy – the site assists parents in working through their nervousness as part of their preparation.  Worried you might prattle on and on about the birds and the bees and other metaphorical wonders?  Well, they’ve got that number as well, and provide tips about how to be suitably concise and accurate.

If you’re looking for a “scripted approach”—sentences you can quote word for word, then this site won’t be a great help to you.  However, as we all know, conversations with kids are messy, unpredictable and, despite our best efforts, often go “off script”.  TalkingWithKids.org prepares us for the bigger picture, helps create an environment that is comfortable for both our kids and us, and provides options for many different levels of conversation.  Information is available in both English and Spanish, and several of their booklets are available for download as well.  The information on the website is most appropriate for children eight to twelve, but they do address conversing with younger children, and they have a fantastic links page that serves as a resource for parents with children of all ages.

There are so many things in the world that we have to ready our kids for.  Fortunately, there is a resource that helps us to prepare them.

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This Weeks Tip

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