Talking to our child openly about different situations happening around us is considered to be a taboo (more or less). The reason is that we have been taught that these certain issues are adult/personal matters so we should not mention them in front of children or even talk to them about it at all. We feel that eventually they will figure it out themselves and learn to deal with it too; I can’t stress enough on how wrong that perception is. Every child out there has a right to know what is happening around them, it helps them cope better with the issue; it also builds a stronger character and strengthens the trust your kid has on you. It will allow them to talk to you openly about how they feel; they will not feel alone and will have a healthy outlet to extract their emotions. The biggest advantage of such an outlet is that they will not have to deal with these issues alone, giving them the force to fight.
Now there are various situations that we need to educate our children on. They are very much present in our society and the chances are that sooner or later your child will be exposed to one of them. So it is better if he/she is briefed on it and is able to deal well with it when confronted with any such particular situation. We would like to highlight; ones that are more likely to take place. All of them these situations are equally important and will give you a better understanding of how you should break the news to your child.
Talk to your child about stranger danger and the difference between good touch and bad touch. The best way to explain and teach your child about sexual abuse is by talking to them about it and explaining to them which parts of their body they should never allow any person to touch. Where any person is allowed to touch them and where they are not. Keep your eyes and ears open to your child and listen to what they have to say and clarify any questions that they may have about it. It may seem overwhelming, but this way your child will know what is wrong and alert you. One best way to prevent and teach your child about sexual abuse is “the Underwear Rule”. This rule is simple, a child should not let anyone touch their body parts covered by underwear and that they should not touch anyone’s body part covered by underwear. This helps understanding the difference between good and bad touches. And if someone does try to touch them near their underwear then they should tell you immediately. For girls, include the chest area as well in this rule.
Dealing with someone’s death is not an easy one for the entire family. Breaking that news to a child is even more difficult as the reaction may be unexpected; this is especially true if it is the child’s own father or mother. Sit down with your child and, in a soothing tone break the news to them. Ensure your child that the passed away person is happy and in a better place, this will help them deal with the situation better. Be patient with them in such a situation and be there for them, hug them and keep an eye on them to make sure that they are doing okay. See for any potential change in behavior and talk to them about it. Respect their emotions and make sure they know that you are there if you need them. Most important: give satisfactory answers to all the questions they may ask you about it.
If someone in your family is ill, it is the child’s right to know about it, especially if they are close. Sit with your child and in a soothing tone tell them about the illness that the person may have. Explain the situation and if they have any questions about it, answer them as honestly as you can. Make sure your child understands the situation to their full extent.
If they want to be around the person or play with them, then let them do so, let them make memories but let them know when the time for them to play is over and that the other person needs to leave or rest for the time being. In case it’s their last good bye, let them share that moment but be around your child throughout to make them emotionally steady, and be there if they have an emotional breakdown, in fact encourage it so that they can get it out of their system once and for all.
A marriage may be over for partners, but parents will always remain the same for children. Many children’s first reaction to a divorce is self-blame; blaming themselves for the falling apart of their parents. Ensure your child that it is not their fault; explain to them the entire situation and why mommy and daddy cannot be together anymore. Make sure the process is as smooth for them as possible and they are not impacted too much by it; this means do not fight in front of them, be nice to each other in front of them. Show affection to your child and ensure them that everything will be alright. If you feel that your child is becoming mentally/psychologically affected by the events, then get them professional help as soon as possible to stabilize their character and help them through the tough time.
If you are moving to a new city, home, or country, there are different types of reactions you may receive. Some children may be enthusiastic about it, which means an easier time for the parents and easier to deal with the children. Or the children become deeply upset and do not cooperate. The latter situation presents a problem and communicating is one important way to handle it. Talk to your child and show them you care, explain the need for the move and ensure them that they will have a good time with the move and at the new place. Be patient throughout as the child lifts out from depression and settles in.