Many parents will readily admit that talking with their teenagers can be tough… especially about subjects that are ‘sensitive' or involve topics like dating or even sex. I recently posed the question to parents, “How do you talk with your teen?” and received some creative ideas from parents who've “been there, done that”. Here are a few of their suggestions…
— “We have no secrets – and it's all due to the Internet – (my kids) use text messages to talk about things too difficult to talk about in person. When younger, they would talk to me with a door in between us – so us both sitting with a closed door between us, or they would be in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn.” ~Darleen, Canada
— “Whenever one of my daughters seemed uncomfortable or nervous about a topic (or if I was uncomfortable, for that matter), I'd have us sit on the floor, back-to-back, so we wouldn't see each other's expressions. Worked like a charm!” ~Lisa, North Carolina
— “These days, my two teenage boys aren't inclined to talk much with me. I've discovered that asking random questions and starting conversations in the car works pretty well. They just seem to feel more comfortable talking with me while I'm driving… plus, the car is great because they can't walk away.” ~Val, Pennsylvania
Some terrific resources for talking with both teens and tweens about Internet safety and the dangers of meeting people online can be found at NetSmartz, a division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Here are a couple of my favorite videos — these real-life stories are powerful and can stimulate interactive and important safety discussions.
A real-life story about “Julie,” a 13-year old who connects with a man online… then meets him in person only to find out he's 57-years old.
The real-life stories of “Ryan” and “Noah”, two teenage boys who each develop relationships with strangers online… then find themselves in the middle of frightening situations.
What tips can you offer other parents about talking with teens? Please share your ideas and suggestions in the comment box below. The more we share, the better we'll collectively become at improving communication with our kids and ensuring their safety.
Working to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” at www.gingerkadlec.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gingergkadlec.
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