There are many issues that affect teenagers today. They live in a different society to the one their parents grew up in. They occupy a world that is driven by digital communication. Information is fast and relentless. This brings with it a whole new set of pressures and problems.
One area that can be tricky to broach is the subject of health. However, it is important that you have open and honest conversations about this.
- Drug Use
If you suspect your son or daughter is taking drugs, the first step is to talk to them. They may be reluctant to have the conversation at first, but it is important to persevere. Prepare what to say in advance. Avoid becoming emotional or angry. Think carefully about how you will feel if they admit to using. Explain to them that you are asking because you care. Tell them that you are not looking to judge them and that you just want to help.
- Safe Sex
Discussing the subject of sex is important, whether you have a son or daughter. Though it can feel uncomfortable, it is a subject that should not be avoided. First, decide who should have the conversation. I.e. whether it should be you or your partner.
However the conversation develops, listen to what your son or daughter is saying. Use this information to continue the conversation. Before the conversation takes place, think carefully about how you will feel if they say something you disagree with. Try to process those emotions before the conversation so you don’t react in a negative way. If you are critical or lose your temper, they may feel that they can’t talk to you in the future.
A good way into a conversation is to talk about their friends. For example, asking what their friends think about a certain topic or issue. Perhaps you could talk about some of your concerns when you were their age.
Rather than making an issue out of the conversation, talk about it little and often. Create an open environment for them to talk and share their views. Let them discuss their thoughts and concerns. Ensure they understand the importance of decisions around sex. Talk about using condoms to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
Always listen to their views, even if you don’t agree with them.
When it comes to smoking, you should lead by example. If you or your partner smoke, your children are more likely to smoke. So it is important to quit, for everyone’s benefit, and keep a smoke-free house.
Smoking may begin as an act of rebellion or experimentation. However, it can develop into a long-term problem. Therefore, it is important to discourage this. Explain to your teenager that it is not allowed and let them know your reasons.
Teenagers may find it difficult to equate smoking with long-term illnesses. One way of discouraging them is to appeal to their vanity. Explain that it is a dirty habit that will make them and their clothes smell. Also, tell them that it will cause wrinkles and premature aging.
Some subjects can be difficult to discuss with your teen. However, being open and honest is important. Make the subjects into a general topic, rather than a big deal. Be supportive and caring, rather than judgemental.