Recently a question came up on Instagram. A woman was pondering getting a divorce and wondered if she should tell her kids about it. Her question prompted me to reflect on when we should tell kids big things.
When deciding whether or not to share things with our children, we need to consider the impact of the information. If the information will cause an immediate change in the child’s life, or if the people around them will be discussing it, it is important to have a conversation.
There are also conversations that are proactive. In these instances nothing has happened to necessitate the conversation, but it is important for the child to be made aware of the information ahead of time. Examples of topics that warrant this kind of care are talks about body image, self-esteem, and boundaries.
We must also continue to check in with our children. These conversations are not a one and done. Just because a child isn’t talking about something doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about it, so it’s important to circle back and keep lines of communication open. We have to make space for our children to talk to us.
When it comes to decisions we are making that will affect our children, there is a delicate balance between informing our kids about things in our life that they need to know, and using our children as confidants.
Some questions to ask yourself before you share something with your children are:
Am I sure about what I am sharing with them?
What is my intention behind sharing this?
Do they need to know?
Do they need to know right now?
Will this information alter their life or alter their relationships with people?
How is this information helpful for them?
You don’t want to put kids in a position that they don’t need to be in. You don’t want to insert thoughts that they don’t need to have. You don’t want to create anxiety or panic when it is not needed. When you have a clear understanding of what’s coming, then have a conversation with your child.
What are some big conversations your parents had with you?
What are some big conversations you’ve had with your children?
How did you decide that a conversation needed to be had?
What topics do you struggle to talk to your children about? Why do you think that is?
Why Won’t Society Let Black Girls Be Children, by A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez in The New York Times.
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