Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Tough Stuff

We are navigating uncharted territory with the coronavirus and the closure of virtually everything “normal” in our day-to-day…schools, sports, extracurriculars, playdates, amusement parks, stores, and church. One thing is certain, your kids need you to navigate the boat in these choppy waters. Here are a few tips as you tackle talking to your kids about the tough stuff.

  • Listen Actively – simply listen. Hear what is on your child’s heart and mind. Do not presume or project you know what they are thinking or feeling. Show you are actively listening by repeating what they are saying, asking questions to understand more and giving them the open, safe venue to talk.
  • Normalize Feelings – whether your child is terrified or unphased, normalize their feelings. There is really no “right” or “wrong” way to be feeling in the midst of all this uncertainty. Do not minimize any level of feelings expressed. After all, they are your child’s feelings and what he/she is experiencing.
  • Provide Certainty – the unknown and uncertain can be paralyzing. No one can honestly say that they like being in-the-dark, totally unaware of what tomorrow holds. While times are uncertain, you can provide your child with some levels of certainty. Make a plan for the day and clearly communicate it to your child. Create some daily routines in this “new normal” season. Remind your child that God’s love is certain and unchanging. Read and memorize God’s spiritual truths that are steadfast and never changing.
  • Accept Uncertainty– while your child needs some solid truths and certainties, this is not possible in every venue of life. Do not pretend as if you have all the answers or know exactly how things are going to turn out. Accept the uncertainty. Lean into God when the uncertainty becomes uncomfortable. Allow Him to comfort you and your family.
  • Pray Openly – model leaning on God by praying with and for your child. Talk to God authentically and clearly. Lean upon Him as a family in this season of the unknown. Give your child a chance to pray too.

Praying for God-ordained conversations with your child. Yes, things are tough right now. Yes, your child has questions and is feeling “something”. Yes, you are capable of tackling these tough talks. Dive in and give it a shot.