Being in the house with Madison over the last few months has literally forced me into a few things including having to tackle tough conversations with her about things such as racism and COVID-19. Never would I have imagined talking with my four year old about World News. Now she isn’t your average 4-year old because to hear her tell it, David Muir is the best! Truthfully I had to begin limiting what she took in by limiting our consumption of the news but the fact that she was actually paying attention lead her to formulate questions that I could no longer avoid. So in response to her curiosity I had to do the following:
- Stop avoiding the conversation(s)
This is difficult and it’s almost like ripping a bandage off of a sore but eventually it has to be done. So if you’ve found yourself beating around the bush, go ahead and put on your big girl/boy panties and begin the conversation. Beginning the conversation means that it will likely be ongoing but at least your children will know that you are there to talk with them both now and in the future.
- Do some research
For me, this involved determining how best to have an age-appropriate conversation with a four year old. Even Elmo’s Daddy had to talk with him about Racism and I was able to take my cues from watching the Town Hall that Sesame Street held in addition to looking into resources from parenting and child psychology experts. It’s ok to not know how to approach a topic with your child but the failure is in using the lack of knowledge as a crutch.
- Be prepared to listen as much as you talk
I think that at times we don’t give our children the credit that they deserve. Personally I have been in denial about what Madison actually knows or I may fail to acknowledge her feelings. While having tough conversations with her, I try to make sure that I allow her to speak and ask questions. She is prone to asking tons of questions but by allowing her to do so and doing my best to respond, I believe that I am teaching her how to have effective two-way communication.
- Lean Into Your Morals and Values
As a Christian mother, I want to make sure that Madison knows that we are called to live in a way that pleases the Lord in all things despite what may be going on around us. I also don’t want her living in a bubble so having these tough conversations gives me the opportunity to teach her the importance of prayer and searching the scripture when we are faced with challenging situations that may feel beyond our control. I am her first example in how to respond during difficult times.
I have consistently done these four things when tackling tough conversations with Madison over the past few months. Do I always feel confident or accomplished? Absolutely not! So I also want to offer a few additional quick tips:
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
- Be honest with your children
- Create a relaxing environment to have conversations
- Seek out Godly counsel if you need direction on how to approach a topic
- Follow up with your children
If you are interested in reading on a related topic, see the following article: