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As they reach adolescence, children experience physical, psychological, and social changes that may be unexpected or they do not know how to treat. This is a big challenge for kids and their parents.
So how can you, as parents, make your quality of travel more rugged? Try open and honest communication. Showing preadolescents and teens that it’s okay to ask questions, that is, answering them honestly and openly, will surprise both your relationship and your child’s future.
It is not easy to tell these stories. The question may distract you or come to an immediate conclusion. Mary Patterson, an instructor in Stanford Children’s Health’s professional community, explains: “The first rule is always to breathe. Do not react. Don’t explode or shout and run. Stay there, take a deep breath and respond with love. “
By the way, Patterson, along with other instructors, offers this kind of advice on Heart to Heart, The Chat, Teen Transitions, and Smart Sendoffs. These are a series of classes offered by Stanford Children’s Health to help teens, teens and parents navigate. Year of change. From adolescence to peer pressure to college readiness, these classes highlight growth challenges and provide information and time for family conversations in a fun, fact-based way. (Face-to-face classes have previously been virtualized for the foreseeable future and are now open to families around the world.)
As discussed in class, there are some important topics to consider when talking to preadolescents or teens and some ideas to make the experience a little easier for everyone.
Changes in the body
From an early age, children begin to ask questions about their body and even about their body. It may cause you discomfort or make you feel uncomfortable, but parents need to normalize these conversations at first.
“Some parents find books and give them to their children or read them with them, but others normalize these conversations throughout their childhood,” says Patterson, who runs the Smart Sendoff Workshop. One way to do this: call the body part with the correct name. “Use proper language and treat body parts as usual.” This is your ear, this is your nose, this is your vagina. “From birth to adolescence, it facilitates the work of the subject later.
Normalizing the body makes it easier for children to ask questions and come to you. And with all the changes they are experiencing, they will definitely ask questions. On the one hand, they will wonder when they will see the changes in their bodies and the bodies of their friends: Am I normal? At this point, it is important to remind them that these changes are part of growth and that nothing is “wrong.”
Sex (and relationships)
There are many things between preadolescents and teens. When teens see their physical changes, new and unfamiliar social experiences begin to emerge. Once these changes become visible, peers can begin to treat them differently. They may experience the first setbacks and feelings of sexual arousal. Maybe they are interested in establishing a new type of relationship: it can be very intense and romantic.
It can be nasty, but please let your teens know that you can talk now. Parents should initiate and participate in these conversations, although they may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable with these issues. Show substantially that children who grow up happy with their body and sexuality are willing to stay healthy and seek help when they have questions or find something wrong. There is a lot of research. It will also give them the resources to navigate better in those difficult years after leaving home. As Patterson explains, “They know it’s okay to ask someone for help. Knowing this can even save their lives. “
Consent and limits
Consent is another important topic covered in class. Children and adolescents should be able to communicate clearly with others about the limits of touch, teasing, and other types of interactions.
There are three personal limits. Each person must define themselves, the others must respect them and everyone has the right to change their boundaries. Instead of assuming they know (or don’t know) the meaning of consent, parents should ask their children. Their response gives you an idea of what you need to work on and supports you in how they form their personal boundaries and how they protect them. Help. Most importantly, you need to understand that consent must be explicit. Okay means OK: and OK, you should come from an avid and enthusiastic partner.
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See these conversations as a journey that can strengthen your relationship with teens. “Treating it as a permanent conversation is a tool to break the cycle of shame associated with adolescence and sexuality,” explains chat educator Elysse Grossi-Soyster. And this is one of the messages that Grossi-Soyster and his team are trying to convey in the workshop. Ultimately, the idea is to help families get involved and grow by exploring issues such as adolescence, identity, sexuality, and growth. And do it in a useful and fun way.
Stanford Children’s Health offers comprehensive online classes to improve the lives of parents, children and caregivers. click here Register for the class today.
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