One of the things I’ve always loved as N’s got older is the conversations we’ve had. He’s always been fairly chatty. Although when other children were going through the neverending ‘why?’ phase, I think we had it pretty easy. But as they grow it’s important to teach and discuss things with them. What are the grown up topics we should be talking to tweens about?
It’s never too young to talk about any topic if a child is interested and asking questions.
The only thing to remember is what is age appropriate for them at the time. And what’s comfortable for you and them to talk about.
For me, life, family and current affairs should be topics covered at home. Not just relying on school to teach them (they may not), and also wouldn’t you like to be there to hear their questions and worries the first time they’re hearing about grown up topics.
I also don’t want N learning everything from his peers at school. There’s no guarantee that it would be accurate, so it’s good if he has a basic grounding.
Of course it’s not always easy to get tweens talking. Or talking to your agenda. So I do rely on when subjects are brought up by him.
Children can get prompted by anything.
A comment someone makes on Youtube.
Spotting something or someone while shopping.
For us chatting about these topics work really well. We have conversations in the car, or at bedtime (note, must get him upstairs earlier if we’re going to have long conversations before he’s bored and sends me away). Anywhere really where he’s got time to think, and usually without a phone in his hands.
But it’s definitely a case of waiting until he prompts the question. I’m sure if I brought up any topics, he’d not want to talk. It’s all about waiting for his interest, and the time that he’s ready and prepared to talk. Plus usually when it’s just the 2 of us, because his dad and he turn serious topics into comedy time and there’s no way of knowing what’s a joke or not.
Topics that tweens should be taught about
(or at least for the early teen years).
Yes even boys should be learning about these, as most boys will end up with women in their lives at some point. You can’t support women during their periods if you don’t understand what happens and how it impacts them.
Conversations can (and have) also turn to reusable alternatives like period pants, period passes for girls in schools. Yes, he straight away said they were awful, and thankfully their school doesn’t have them.
There’s only recently been more information out there readily available, but if there’s a mother at home, the perimenopause can certainly impact children in the house as they’re hitting their awkward puberty and teenage years. So it’s good to talk about how women change through the next phase of their life.
Sex / Pregnancy – natural or IVF /Contraception
A recent question was about planning for ovulation and how people try for a baby
Our conversations came on through all the government ministerial changes, but understanding basic economics is important as children get older. They should understand potential impacts of economics on their life and family, but also how that’s different or impacted by the national economy and what it means for day to day life.
Finance, APR and interest rates, bank accounts and ISAs
With the cost of living crisis, it’s always on the news, and tweens do hear and understand more about finance than we might have done at the same age during our childhood. Most parents want their children to grow up being money savvy, and understand about savings vs spending. But we’ve definitely had some conversations that are deeper than I expected at this age.
After all, saving means free money if it’s in a good interest account at the moment. And what child doesn’t want free money (on top of what they already have!)
Mental health is discussed in schools, and tweens may have friends with anxiety or parents who are struggling. So it’s always worth them being able to ask questions and have a discussion about different types of mental health issues and how people can get support.
Diversity and unconscious bias
Another topic they’ll have discussed at school to an extent, about racism, gender and sexual orientation. I find I want to make sure there’s a balanced view, and that he understands terms, phrases and more of what’s correct as these change. Luckily children tend to be more open than the generation before them, but there’s always questions that crop up.
Standing up for what’s right
Probably the hardest thing for many people, let alone children, is being able to stand up for others who are being discriminated against or bullied. Being an ally and not a bystander. Our school has an anonymous method of pupils being able to report issues. But it’s also important to talk about of school so they know how important it is to stand up if someone else is being unkind / bullying, and supporting that person in the best and safest way possible.
I’m always amazed how knowledgeable children can be at a young age about some of these topics. And how much they can absorb and take in. Relating them to real people or examples on screen or situations in real life help make them more real.
I’m sure there’ll be plenty of topics to continue discussing right though to the teen years coming up.
What kind of topics do you talk about with your tweens? And who does the serious topic discussions in your house?