When I became a mom, it was really important to me to always have an open line of communication on ALL subjects. I never wanted to shy away from something because it made me uncomfortable. My goal was to embrace it and be honest no matter how taken aback by the question I might be.
There are a lot of words, topics and questions that Phoenix has asked me over the years. I won’t lie, sometimes I have thought in the back of my mind “What?! I can’t answer this! She’s too young; I’m not ready; Should I really answer this?”.
When an 8 year old comes home and asks “What’s masturbation?”, you just can’t be prepared for that. At least I wasn’t. I have learned though, that having open communication has led my daughter to not be afraid to come talk to me about anything. It means I know what the kids at school are talking about because she’s asking questions about things she hears at school. It also means I have built a repoire with her, that she knows I will tell her the truth if she asks.
I’ve developed this relationship with Phoenix by doing 3 things consistently.
1. I am always honest. Whether it’s a topic of sex, drugs, anorexia, suicide, death or whatever it might be, I am always honest. I don’t embellish the answer or tell a fiblet. I give an honest answer to the best of my knowledge.
2. I explain the topic in an age appropriate way. It is possible to be honest about the topic of sex without going into gross detail and making it raunchy. Same goes for any other topic. I don’t have to get into the knitty-gritty details of something to have explained it in an informative way that makes sense. Sometimes the details can just wait a few years
3. I use real life examples. I try to use comparable experiences from my own life to explain certain things. If I don’t have the experience, then I will use a friends experience. I do this so when I’m explaining something to Phoenix, she knows I’ve been there or have been close to it. It’s normal to be inquisitive and we are all human. It builds my credibility.
Doing these things ever since my daughter could talk is the reason she shares most things with me. If she has a question, she isn’t afraid to ask. It keeps our lines of communication open all the time and makes uncomfortable topics pretty standard conversation anymore.
What uncomfortable topics have you had to deal with and how did you handle them?