Top 10 Conversations to Have with Your Child

A picture of a mom talking to her child
Take the time to talk to your child and open the door to meaningful conversation. Photo © Eric Audras / Getty Images

With all of the parenting struggles you face, it's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day role of being Mom or Dad and missing out on crucial conversations with your child. Get your kids to listen and have these top 10 conversations with your children.

Simply Ask: How are You?

Have you talked, really talked, to your child lately? Sure, you ask how their day at school was but are you giving him 100% of your attention? Ask how he's doing, not just at school, but how he is doing in general. You'll often find, once you give your child the floor to talk about whatever is on his mind, he opens up about a lot of things you wouldn't expect. Having conversations about nothing in particular is an excellent way to help your child learn how to express his emotions and for you to truly get to know that wonderful person who is your child.

Talk about Street Smarts

Life would be great if we all lived in Mayberry and kids could run down the street without you ever having to worry about the many possibilities of what could happen to them. Of course, we all know that's not realistic these days. Talk to your kids about street smarts so they know what to be aware of and can spot potential danger signs to keep them safe.

Talk about Thankfulness

We often tell our kids to say please and thank you but we need to go deeper to help them fully understand the meaning. Teach your kids to be thankful with conversations about thankfulness. Kids are incredibly perceptive but we need to let them know what thankfulness is and help them appreciate the many people and things in their lives.

Talk about Compassion

Raise a compassionate child who wants to make a difference. Talking to your kids about compassionate acts and how they can have compassion for others raises their awareness of their surroundings. Not only do they begin to develop an incredible sense of compassion, they begin to want to take part in activities that can help others.

Talk about Bullying

Bullying has gone to a whole new level, thanks to the Internet. With social media and chat, kids have found new ways to harass each other and that's led to the untimely deaths of too many of our young people. But bullying isn't limited to online harassment. We've all watched that child on the playground who seems to be tormenting all of the other kids. Bullying is a very real problem and it's important kids know they need to speak up when they see someone being bullied, whether it's your child being bullied or someone else. Talk about bullying with your kids and avoid the mistakes parents make when having this important conversation about bullying with their children.

Talk about Smoking

As your kids grow up, they'll more than likely spot a classmate or friend who's lighting up. Will he join them for a smoke or will he pass it up? It's no secret how dangerous smoking is but it's also one of the first rebellious acts tweens and teens take part in just so they can feel like a grown up. Talk to your kids about smoking and stomp out any temptation they may have about lighting up.

Talk about Drinking and Drugs

Tweens and teens are often tempted with drinking and drugs. Talking to your kids about drugs goes beyond covering the basics of illegal drugs. You have to warn him of the dangers items around the house like glue and aerosols. And alcohol is another one of those rebellious acts, like smoking, that our children are tempted by because they think it makes them more of a grown up. They're rebels and they can drink and smoke now that they're 13. While your child may not be able to drink and drive just yet, there are many other dangers associated with drinking. Make sure they know just how dangerous drinking is when teaching them about underage drinking and set a good example for them.

Talk about Guns

It's heartbreaking to hear story after story of children who accidentally shot themselves or another child. In the U.S. alone, numbers from the U.S. Department of state say there are as many as 310 million guns. That's enough guns for everyone in the U.S. to have a gun, including our children. Not only should you follow gun safety at your home, you should also teach your child what to do if he is at a friend's house and sees a gun or finds a friend playing with a gun.

Talk about Inappropriate Behavior and Touching

Unfortunately, we know there are people out there who want to take advantage of a child's innocence. The facts about child sexual abuse are alarming. Talking to your children about not undressing or allowing anyone to touch them is a conversation you should have when your children are still very young. Kids should always know that, no matter what, they should come to you and tell you when someone has made them feel uncomfortable or touched them inappropriately. Kids are easy to threaten with horrible scenarios of what a molester will do to the child's parents if the child tells but your child needs to know that him coming to you to tell what happened is what matters the most.

Talk about Sex

Ah, the dreaded sex talk. No parent wants to think about their once-bouncing baby needing a sex talk but, just as they're destined to grow up, we're destined to have to educate them about the birds and the bees. Talk to your kids about sex, even though you may feel as uncomfortable about the discussion as they do. Open the door for conversation. As hard as it may be, just remember they can learn from you or learn about it from their friends and classmates.