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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jacqueline Cahalan

Tips for having uncomfortable conversations with your kids

Tricky conversations with your kids can be…tricky.

Here are a few tips to help take some of the pressure off:

  1. Most conversations don’t need to be one big, monumental discussion.  Often, you can introduce a topic and lay the groundwork to start an ongoing discussion. For example, you can say something like “I’ve been thinking about (X) and wanting to talk to you about it. Have you heard anything about this?” Listen to what they say and then give a general overview with a few main points.  Ask if they have questions, and then let them know that this is something you expect to come back to as often as you or they need to.  Give time for you and your kids to both process and come up with questions, and check in with them as appropriate to build on this foundation. The key is to set the tone for open, ongoing communication on the topic.

  2. You can acknowledge to your kids that this is weird or uncomfortable or difficult for you too.

  3. You can acknowledge what you aren’t sure of by saying something like “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure how to answer that” 

  4. You can set a boundary or “I’m not ready to talk about that right now” or “Let me give that some more thought”Instead of being overly concerned about exactly how or what to say to your child, focus on starting the conversation and then being responsive to their questions, concerns, or reactions and let that guide where you go next.  You can always stop, take a break, or reemphasize where you need to. 

  5. You can always circle back and say something like “I feel like I didn’t do very well with your question before.  Let me try again. I wish I had said this instead…”

Do you have questions about something specific that you feel like you should be talking to your kids about? Reach out and let’s chat.

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