Touchy subjects can be difficult to approach with your kids in a way that doesn’t scare them away. One mom wrote “I think my daughter might be bullied at school but I can't get her to talk about it.”
When you are nervous or anxious to talk to your child about a sensitive subject, you are likely start off by saying too much. By the time you pause to let your child respond, your child may already feel attacked which was not your intention.
For example, what if the mom who is concerned her daughter might be being bullied says “Honey, I’ve noticed you’ve been kind of sad lately especially after you come home from school. Are those girls being mean to you again? I know they can be really cruel when they get together and that’s just terrible.”
How would you feel right now if you were in this daughter’s shoes? Does it sound like mom might want to get in there and fix the situation? Are you worried she might talk to the girls or their parents?
If mom stopped after saying “Honey, I’ve noticed you’ve been kind of sad lately especially after you come home from school.”, would you have felt differently? By pausing and giving her daughter a chance to respond, she’s inviting her daughter to share her view.
When you want to encourage your kids to talk, try to limit yourself to one sentence and then wait for their response. Listen carefully before saying anything else and you’ll be surprised that your kids are actually talking to you!