So Much More than Birds and Bees
Conversations Regarding Your Child’s Educational World
The discussion of ‘the birds and bees’, a euphemism for the conversation between parents and their children regarding sexual reproduction, is a milestone of maturity. It is a moment that often results in sighs of relief from both parents and children upon its completion. However, its true purpose is to provide parents an opportunity to keep their children from committing damaging mistakes that could alter their lives forever.
In today’s society parents must embark on a new journey to keep their children healthy and safe. They must have a different, but equally important, conversation with their children — a conversation about the perils of peer pressure regarding alcohol, drugs and sex. This discussion is critical for students as they head back to school this fall.
MAKE A PLAN – Although your child will likely remind you of their age when addressing such topics as personal safety, good decision making and avoiding alcohol and drugs, it’s important to remind them it is BECAUSE of their age that you are having this discussion. Tell them you want them to know that if at any time they feel unsafe or have concerns in their world they can come to you without fear of judgment, reliving the past or experiencing sanctions. Inform your child of the importance of not walking, jogging or attending events by themselves. Remember as your child evolves, so must your relationship! Be honest and open with one another about concerns regarding the quality of their life.
MAKE A PACT – No one knows your child better than you do but the reality is children often show parents what they what them to see. For parents who have tirelessly sacrificed for their children and often didn’t see the improvement they were hoping for, sometimes want to believe what their children are telling them about their lives. Let your child know that you are available to pick them up rather than having them getting in a vehicle with a possibly impaired driver or cab. Increased open communication can be the gateway to building trust. If your child is away at school, make them aware of services provided by Student Affairs Offices, such as transport and counseling, if needed. Remember, as your child evolves, so must your relationship!
MAKE A PROMISE -Parents are mistaken if they believe their opinion of their children means little to them. Often the deepest emotions are the ones that never surface. Reaffirm your love for your children by unconditionally being there for them. Remind them that you are not far from their world and that the challenges and pressures they may feel were felt by you too. Let them know physical appearances change but challenges and pressures don’t.
The discussion of the ‘birds and bees’ may have the reputation of being uncomfortable. Remember that conversations that end in sighs of relief, regardless of what chapter your children are living in, will not only assist them in achieving their goals and dreams, but also keep them safe and, in some instances alive.