- Family and Parenting
Tips for Better Communication with Embarrassing Child Questions
Curiosity and Growing-Up Go Hand-in-Hand
I have been a parent now for ten short years. I know from experience, with having four kids, that you should always expect the unexpected. But I was not prepared for the double digits and what came along with it. I thought by now I had heard and seen it all. Apparently I was wrong. When your child's tenth birthday comes along it opens up a whole new box of curiosity.
Curiosity is a fact of life. We all experience it from time to time. But when you are a child it is at is peak. Just take a minute and think back to age ten..... I am sure you can remember the endless list of questions you may have had. Some were easy to ask and others not so much. Then there were the questions that were just way to embarrassing to even ask. You knew the best person to answer your questions, but you just didn't have the courage to do so. What did you do then? Well, you asked your friends, but what you didn't know was that they had no clue either. So you got some true and some false answers.
The scary part now is that all your child's curiosity can be answered by the Internet. Why is this scary? Well, the Internet is filled with tons and tons of useful and useless information. Not only that, but also ALOT of words and/or images you do not want your ten year old to come across. If you are thinking that your child is not curious about certain subjects you can bet your last dollar they he/she is and the last place you want them looking for answers is the Internet!
I know when I was young some of the topics that were popular amongst my friends made absolutely no sense to me. So I would just play along as if I knew what they were talking about. Looking back now I realize they had no clue either. We didn't have the Internet so running home to look things up online was not an option. Lucky for us, but not lucky for our children.
If our kids have a question about any embarrassing to talk about subject they can run to the computer and google it. Scary stuff for parents to think about depending on the subject of curiosity. Questions can be embarrassing to ask for the child, but it can be equally embarrassing to answer as the adult. You can be completely caught off guard sometimes with the questions a child can pull from somewhere out of left field while you are doing a balancing act of one hundred other parental duties. What if you need time to think of the correct way to answer the question? Standing there with a blank look on your face doesn't help when they just mustard up the courage to ask it. I have a simple solution to end a majority of your embarrassing conversations.....
Solution to End Embarrassing Conversations
An easy solution to keep an open-line of communication with your child is by creating a conversation notebook. It is meant for you and your child to write back and forth to each other with any questions they may have for you, or it can help them to talk about their feelings and what may be bothering them at any given time.
We have one child who just turned ten and another who will being turning ten in a few days. We just started a conversation notebook with both of them because we realized that for one of them the curiosity had already hit the Internet searches. We didn't make it OK to search the topics of curiosity, but we did let it be known it was unacceptable. The children were always told that they can always come to us with questions or problems but they finally hit the age of embarrassed to ask. This is were the notebook comes into play.
Creating a Conversation Notebook
It is quite simple to start a conversation notebook with your child. All you need is a standard spiral notebook that is a different color for each child. On the first page you can write what the notebook is for. We worded ours like this;
I know you are growing-up very fast and you are starting to become very curious. When I was young I had ton of questions about things I may have heard at school or on television. I was scared to ask my parents these questions because I was embarrassed. My mom gave me a notebook, like this one, so that I could write down my questions that I wanted answers for. I was also able to use it to write about anything that may have been bothering me, making me upset, sad, or even angry. I could talk to her through the notebook without ever having to feel ashamed or embarrassed.
In this book you can ask any question you want, about anything you want to know about. I will answer all your questions truthfully and to the best of my ability. You can also write to me about anything you want to talk about regarding your feelings or anything else. (Even if it is something I did to upset you) I will never get mad at you for what you ask or write about inside this notebook.
When you write in this book just leave it on my bed for me to read. When I am done writing back to you I will place it on your bed for you to read my response. Remember, you can come to me about anything, I will always be here to help you.
Putting the Notebook to Use
Once you picked out the notebook and wrote a page on how to use it you can write a personal message to your child. This will help to get the ball rolling, and making them very better by not having to be the first one to write in it.
Then all you have to do is sit down with your child and explain to them what you hope to do with the notebook. I did this by sitting down with each child separately and I just stated what I wrote on the first page briefly. I reassured them that whatever was written inside the notebook would be kept between us and the notebook owner, being the child. We would not discuss anything with anyone else and it would be completely confidential. Both of our children accepted their notebook. One of the children had looked like they were relieved to be able to ask questions, and the other was like whatever. My whatever child has already used theirs to talk about things that were upsetting them, so in the end it worked out well. I hope other parents and their children may find this useful.
*I know some words were not used correctly such as; their, theirs, etc. but I did not wish to single out my children in public if they were to read this.