Not too long ago I wrote about why I had to talk to my kids about sex offenders and how, even though it was a difficult conversation, it was one I should have had with my children a long time ago. The world our children are growing up in is very different than the world we grew up in.
Certainly, there are things kids need to know before they leave home, but there are also things they need to know about now to help protect themselves or not end up in a bad situation. Moms say that in order to help your child, there are some difficult conversations you need to have with them.
1. Talking About Racism and Diversity
Mom Serena L. says her children are among only a few biracial families in a mostly white neighborhood. At 3 years old, some of the other kids were already refusing to play with her son because of his skin color. Racism is an unfortunate reality of life that your child is going to come across, but that doesn't mean they have to accept it.
Teaching tolerance from the time your child is young can help them learn that you should judge a person by how he acts and what he says, not by what he looks like or by some minority group he is a part of.
Talk to your young child about why people's skin color differs, and point out all the things people have in common. As your child gets older, the conversation will morph into discussion about other types of diversity and how to handle it when people aren't as tolerant of differences.
2. Talking About "Tricky" People
It's a good idea to teach your children about "stranger danger," but it doesn't really cover all the dangers they could face from adults. Considering that most child abductors and abusers are actually not strangers, the conversation you should be having is about what blogger Checklist Mommy refers to as "tricky people."
Mom Kelley P. explains: "A tricky person is anyone who tries to get [your child] to break a family safety rule." If you don't have family safety rules, you should put some in place, but until then, make sure your preschooler knows that a "tricky" person is an adult who asks them to keep a big secret or tells them it's OK to help out or go with them without asking a trusted parent first.
As your child gets older, you can add to the conversation by talking about "tricky" friends — kids who lie, say mean things about other children behind their backs, and try to manipulate your child into doing things they don't want to do.
3. Talking About Sexuality
Talking about sexuality is so much more than talking to your teen about sex. It's about making sure you and your child are comfortable talking about things like masturbation, puberty, and homosexuality. As some moms point out, if you keep homosexuality a secret, then if your child is bisexual or gay, they will be fearful of talking to you about it.
And the more comfortable your child is in their knowledge that they can talk to you about body changes and sexual feelings, the less often they'll get misinformation from friends.
4. Talking About Death
With things like serial shootings in the news and schools practicing lockdown drills, our kids learn about death sooner than we might like. It's a hard thing to explain to kids, especially if you're not sure what your own beliefs about the afterlife are.
This conversation usually starts when a pet or loved one dies, but mom Alisha J. says you can start preparing for it by having an open dialogue with your child about your thoughts about heaven or how to honor someone's memory.
Keep Talking About Tough Stuff
The key to having difficult conversations is to start talking to kids about tough stuff when they're young. Circle of Moms member Gail P. is right when she says there are "teachable moments" every day. Finding teachable moments, using age-appropriate vocabulary, and adding to the conversation as your child gets older will make these discussions easier and a more natural part of your lives.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.