Your turn:  Inspire us with some ways you’ve found to talk about life issues with your tween/teen.

Time and time again I have heard parents say they think it’s more
important than ever to be available for their kids when they’re tweens
and teens.  Having helped raise two to young adulthood, I have to
whole heartedly agree.  My stepdaughter in particular would say that
she wished we had pushed into her teen life a little more than we did. 
How else could she have known we were there for her?

This post is about talking to your kids…whether it’s about challenging
interpersonal situations at school, or about cigarettes, drugs, alcohol,
and sex.  On one hand, you may feel as if your young lady doesn’t
reach out to you as much as she used to.  That’s normal; she’s
starting to pay more attention to the world of her peers.  But on the
other hand, research shows that parents and their opinions can still
have a major influence on a child’s decision-making processes.  The Partnership for a Drug Free America claims that “kids who learn about drug risks from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use.”

So this post is about communication and prevention, not about
consequences.  As one of The Partnership ads says, the talk doesn’t
have to be a “big production.”  (Also remember our recent
conversation about 25 Words or Less!)

Here’s a quick summary of some ways to break the ice with these girl talks.

  • Use fictional characters from books or movies to broach the topic at hand.  For example, from the movie Juno, “What do you think of Juno’s decision to keep her baby and give it up for adoption?”  During this discussion you can slip in your views on teenage pregnancy and adoption.
  • Discuss your teen’s favorite celebrity’s recent behavior.
  • If your daughter is into sports, chat about the impact of issues in that
    world, for example steroid use by professional athletes.
  • Inevitably you will learn about friends or classmates who have made
    poor decisions.  Hopefully your daughter will come to you to talk about these situations, but if you know of one you can ask her what she thinks.
  • If you have a relative or close family friend who has either suffered consequences from a poor decision, talk about that person’s story.  Depending on the situation, you may even encourage that person to chat with your daughter.
  • Read “What If…” situation books with your daughter. Look for entries that correspond to the issues she’s facing.

Your turn:  Inspire us with some ways you’ve found to talk about life issues with your tween/teen.  Add your comments below.

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book, go to


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