5 Tips On Talking To Kids About Difficult Topics

All parents face a moment when they have to educate their kids about complicated or challenging subjects.

Whether it’s illness, death, social issues, or other problems, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having a complicated conversation with a child.

In this article, you’ll find 5 useful tips to guide you through this stage of life and parenthood.

How to Talk To Your Kids With Confidence

Nobody can protect their kids from everything; children have to grow and understand the world with the right tools to navigate life’s difficult experiences.

1. Your kids need a safe space

Before you start talking to them about something complicated, like relationships, online dangers, etc, you need to make sure that the space is private and that they feel safe in it.

Your child needs to be able to express what he or she feels, their thoughts and actions.

For this to work, try to be in a room without distractions and give them your undivided attention. They need to know that you won’t judge them, that you will not use fear to manage them, and that they won’t be punished.

Here’s how you can help them feel safe:

  • Pick a time of day when you’re not rushed and when your child isn’t too tired to talk. Make sure to stay relaxed; they must be your priority.
  • Create a supportive ambiance, keep eye contact with them, and use open body language. Don’t speak too much, and let them talk first.
  • Ask questions to clarify and not to judge. Practice active listening, and try not to offer your opinion at first. Remember, they trust you enough to tell you, and you should never break that trust.
  • Validate their feelings, even if they’re not the best answer to their situation. Feelings aren’t something we can control, so teach them how to manage the way they respond to their feelings.

2. Use age-appropriate language

When children ask something, make sure to answer in a way that they can understand. Don’t overthink too much the explanations, as you’ll probably complicate the topic needlessly.

They only need to know the answer to their question, not much more than that.

Use simple and clear language, and make sure to clear all their doubts. Repeat phrases or concepts if necessary, and ask them if they have understood everything.

It’s the adults that overthink the topic and explain more than what the kids want to know.

For example, if you’re talking to them about staying safe online, and they ask, “What does a VPN do?”. This way, you could check on their knowledge of cyber safety.

Don’t launch into a long explanation about the way the connection to the internet works. They just need to know that it’s designed to protect their activities and identity and why it is important.

3. Make sure that they can ask questions and listen

For open communication, there’s nothing better than questions and active listening. These skills can be learned, so once you’ve mastered them, make sure your kids do too. Instead of interrupting them, listen to their concerns and be patient.

This is also an opportunity for you to grow their trust and help them through life.

Validate their feelings, even if they’re confused or upset about them. They deserve to know that you’ll be there for them no matter what.

4. Be transparent and practice honesty with them

While we all feel the impulse to protect our kids from everything that might go wrong, or even just painful truths, it’s critical to stay honest in these discussions—giving accurate information and keeping things as simple as possible.

Death is normally one of the most difficult topics to broach, and some kids have a hard time understanding it. Even so, you must try not to lie to them.

Avoid sugar-coating things because it can only create confusion and lead to mistrust. Offer reassurance and support, and let them know you’ll be there to answer every question they might have.

Consider this when you’re explaining things to them:

  • Get additional resources if you need to, like a good book or a podcast.
  • Pay attention to what they say and adjust accordingly.

5. Teach them coping strategies

Hope and resilience are essential for everyone, especially kids. Discuss positive aspects, solutions, and ways to cope with life’s harsh moments.

Encourage them to let healthy go of negative feelings, and reassure them.

When they know they’re in good hands, they feel free to express their most authentic selves.


Difficult conversations are inevitable when you become a parent.

By creating a safe environment and giving them freedom to express themselves, you nurture a great relationship with your kids.

Remember, your role is to support them and guide them through life in the most authentic way.

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