A parent’s job doesn’t end with providing food, shelter, and clothing. It is necessary to talk with the children about making moral decisions throughout their lives. These five important conversations can help determine the paths they follow throughout their lives.
The Value of Good Morals
Begin teaching your children about good morals during the toddler years. While they are playing with other kids, you can teach them the value of sharing with others and being kind. As they grow older, you can have discussions with the youngsters about subjects like honesty, fairness, the value of helping others and exhibiting good work ethics. These topics guide the way they act at school, work and in social occasions. Remember that these discussions are most effective if you model these good traits yourself. Doing so shows them how to implement the morality in their own lives.
Once your children start school they will experience peer pressure. Elementary children experience this as well, but the pressure really escalates during the middle and high school years. Talk to your kids about how you have raised them to know the difference between right and wrong. Explain that their conscience helps guide them in making decisions and if something seems wrong or amiss, that is often better to follow their gut instincts rather than their friend’s inclinations.
Discussing Alcohol Use
Adolescents may start dabbling with alcohol use in the middle school years or even earlier. It is vital that you discuss the detriments of this activity with them before they are tempted to drink illegally. Explain the way alcohol affects people and lowers their inhibitions. Tell them that being under the influence of alcohol may make them feel that doing something is okay, but that they wouldn’t do it under normal circumstances. The influence of alcohol might tempt them to engage in immoral acts, vandalism or some other illegal or immoral activity. It is difficult to know how to talk to your freshman about binge drinking, but the high school years are often a time when this kind of behavior becomes popular. Point out articles in the newspaper about the results of binge drinking or watch a movie together that shows the detriments of such behavior. Explain that it is not just the illegal aspects that worry you; it is the health and safety of your adolescent that is your primary concern.
Talking about Drugs
Drug use is rampant on middle and high school campuses. It crosses every social and economic boundary. Teens often believe that they are invincible and that nothing bad will ever happen to them. Explain that even drugs that teenagers deem harmless — like marijuana — can be dangerous if laced with other substances. Tell the teens that drugs sometimes numb the person and make them feel like everything is okay in their world. After the drug wears off, the same problems and issues still exist. Some people have addictive personalities. A teen who has this tendency may find that a drug like marijuana no longer provides him with the high he desires, therefore, he goes on to experiment with stronger and more lethal drugs.
The Talk About Sex
It is vital you talk to your kids about the birds and the bees before they learn it from their friends. Talk openly with your kids, but be sure to keep it age appropriate for your youngsters. Talk to them about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Be open about it, and engage them in the conversation and encourage them to ask questions they may have. It may awkward at first, but this is one of the most important conversations you need to have your children.
Guest post written by Dixie Somers who is a full-time mother of three and a freelance writer in her spare time.