Parent Information Leaflet – Using Uberheroes to discuss difficult topics with our child…
This leaflet sets out a few basic ideas as to when, where, why and how you can start a conversation on a difficult subject with your kids.
These topics such as self-harm, abuse, drugs, suicide, negative body image, bullying, divorce or financial issues are hard to talk about.
Every situation just like every child and teenager is unique. Some children are more mature for their age, while others seem to develop more slowly. The important thing is that you show a willingness to have a conversation about these issues.
Make the conversation relevant – For example an Uberhero character is being bullied things off by asking your child what they think of what’s happening to the character, what would they do if they were in a similar situation… you could progress onto more specific questions such as, what would you do if this situation happened to you? Have you ever felt this way? How did you feel? Where would you go for help and support?
Creating the right environment – It could be good to have a relaxed and neutral place for example in a park, out for a walk or in the car, or the child or young person’s bedroom where they feel safe and secure.
Be aware of your reactions and responses. Your body language tells your child if you are open and relaxed. Remember eye contact is important, look at your child when either of you are speaking, smile when required, nod or shake your head if appropriate as these small gestures will show that you are interested in hearing what they have to say and are paying attention and responding to what they are saying.
As the song goes.. “It’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it”! – The tone, the pitch and whether you sound relaxed all have an impact on how your child will respond. If you’re calm they will be calm.
You need time with your child, you’ll have no idea when you start talking how long the conversation will last so make the time to be in the moment with your child, giving them as much time as they need
It doesn’t help if there are interruptions for example it’s sensible to have your chat at a time when brothers and sisters aren’t around or you don’t expect any callers or other interruptions.
Following on from the initial conversation it’s good to have reflections or Feedback but it’s not constructive to continually labour a point. You may also like to ask friends or other parents what’s worked for them.
When your answering questions, explain why you gave the answer you did and why you have the opinion you have, it may be helpful to do some background research and when you don’t have the answers be honest and say you don’t but agree about how you’re going to find an answer to the query
The need to involve other people, you may need professional help or assistance and it is always helpful to discuss this with your child otherwise they may think that you’ve gone behind back and any trust you’ve built will disappear.
Positive outcomes – we all know that having difficult conversations with a child is hard and teenagers are harder still, but if handled well you will feel a real sense of achievement in discussing issues that could have a potentially negative or dangerous outcome. Finding common ground on a situation or circumstance or resolving/explaining an issue to bring a clear idea as to how this can be avoided or eliminated creates a positive outcome.
Remember using the Uberheroes comics can help you to have a more meaningful and effective conversation.