Fight to Be First: Tackling Difficult Conversations With Your Kids

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This is a contributor piece I wrote for Portland Moms Blog. Read the full article HERE

I’m constantly breaking up arguments between my kids about who can be first. Whether they are running to the van to see who gets to ride shotgun, or pushing to the front of the line to order their ice cream cone, there is an urgency they feel to fight for what they want. This behavior is not condoned and results in a consequence, mostly due to their approach of fighting their way to the front. But, this idea of fighting to be first has been on my mind lately, and from a parenting standpoint I feel a sense of urgency to address difficult conversations with my children before someone else gets to it first.

In an age where information is available with the click of a button, and dialogue between peers is happening on the playground, the importance of tackling difficult conversations head-on with our kids is vital. With pressing topics ranging from natural disasters, death, divorce, sex, and financial instability, we as parents need to be ready to address these issues with concern and care.

Here are four tips to help navigate these difficult conversations. 

1. Find Out What They Already Know

Our children offer clues to what is occupying their brain space. When they start asking questions or making comments about a new topic, it is an invitation to press in. Lead with a question and ask, “what have you heard?” regarding the difficult conversation at hand. Their answer will provide a grid for what they understand and what misconceptions need to be corrected.

2. Keep It Simple

My children range in age, from 4 to 9 years old. A difficult conversation with my oldest looks different than those with my youngest. Occasionally, one simple sentence may suffice, while other times an in-depth conversation is needed. Listen for where your child has worry or concern, and offer reassurance. Be first to validate their concern and remind them that they are healthy, safe, and loved.

Continue reading the entire article over at Portland Mom's Blog