_ It can be so embarrassing to talk about things such as sex, pregnancy, and relationships with your children. They will no doubt be embarrassed to have their parents talk to them about these things.

Will it help them by talking to them while they are still young?

Will talking to them now make them a better person in the future?

Am I a bad parent if I do not teach them about these matters of life?

_ I help my sisters and their partners take care of their kids and believe me I have learned a lot. Saying or doing something with a child does not mean they will drastically change the way they think or behave. There needs to be repetition, reinforcement, explanations, and a lot of patience.

My point is, whatever it is that you as a parent decide to talk to them about life (yes, it is your decision), expect the conversation to span a few days, weeks, or months. Do not expect to give them basic instructions like "Don't answer the door to strangers," and expect that to become a rule of thumb. They will forget and you need to be there to remind them and keep reminding them until it is obvious that he/she understands. Let them play around with the concept in a safe way. Go outside a door and pretend you are a stranger, or ask a family member or friend to do it. You can decide what steps you need to take based on what the child does.

_Ideas On How To Do It

_It is important to discuss important topics with your children in a way they can appreciate. Many will not take well to lectures and will tune you out, which might make you frustrated. It is probably best for you and the child to explore some topics through playing, demonstrations, and conversations that are at their level.

Here are some ideas on how to discuss some important topics with your child.
  1. Make Believe
Try playing with them and using their dolls to teach them something important. Get their family of dolls together and demonstrate how dangerous or upsetting some things can be. Do not be too graphic with it though. Keep it fun and simple. Dolls can be useful in teaching things about family, safety, and personal relationships. I still remember some of my dollhouse dramas to this day.

Almost all children like to pretend they are grownups, get all dressed up in their parents’ clothes, and pretend to go to work. This is another opportunity to teach them something important while enjoying each others company. They are pretending to be adults and will try to speak and act in a way they think adults would. This is an opportunity for you to groom them. Help them to differentiate between good and bad grown up behavior. What type of language, attire, and behavior is not acceptable and which is.
_ 2. Art
Artistic expression in children does not have to be the kind of studios and art galleries. It is simply a way for them to express themselves, explore, and have fun. Children's artwork can teach you about the way they think and what they see and know. Having an idea of what they understand can help you to take the first step in communicating important issues with them.

Pay attention to what they draw. Ask them the meaning behind their work. Chances are, there is no real meaning in their mind, but they may come up with something to humor you. Listen carefully to what they say and if there is good reason, talk to them. For example, if one of their drawing shows (according to them) a tree sitting on a boy, explore the reasoning behind their explanation. Is the tree bad? Is the tree someone at his or her school? Is the tree a mean bully?

Who knows what will come out of their artwork. It is easy to express emotions through art for children because they may not be able to communicate as well with their words. Encourage them to draw or color. Let them show you their work and commend them on a job well done. Talk to them about what they think about their work and let them know what you think. If you do not know what to make of what they have done, let them know. It is always good when children can see that their parents are human beings who they can help in one way or another.
_Try doing artwork with them. Talk to them about your piece. They can associate with and easily understand a simple picture of the sun for example. Start a conversation about the sun, its effects on people, and the environment. This may lead to conversations about how to protect the environment, or how to protect oneself from being burnt by the sun's rays, or how beneficial the sun is. Use your imagination and allow them to use theirs. That is how best they express themselves.
3. Music
Admit it; it is the easiest way to learn. Even as teenagers we learned the newest hit singles in minutes but had to spend hours upon hours reading and rereading our notes to get a basic concept to stick in our heads. The same goes for children, they learn well through music.

You do not have to scour the internet, DVD stores, or your CD collection to find music that will teach them what they need to learn. You can make it up for yourself, what better way is there? You not only get to include all the details you want them to know; you get to leave out things that may be inappropriate or over their heads that may be included in some songs you may find online.

Put their names in the lyrics
The children will love that you made an effort in making up a song all about them. I came across a site that allows you to select the child's name from a list and it will be substituted in one of the song that Elmo is singing. You can check it out here.
Preview Their Videos

Do not think you can manage to write your own jingle? It is OK, there are plenty of online resources that offer videos and music that help to teach your child good values. Most of them are in the form of cartoons. They are bright and colorful to keep the child's attention and keep them involved. Before you bookmark that video for them to watch, be sure you watch it. These works could have easily fallen into the hands of someone who have edited, twisted, and demoralized the contents of the video. While searching for Elmo cartoons for my nephew to watch the other day, I came across one that claimed to be of Elmo dancing. Oh, Elmo was dancing all right; he was dancing, swearing, and singing all the lewd songs you can think of. One of the videos started out so innocent and sweet then Elmo just exploded!

 If you want the original and clean versions of a video from your child's favorite cartoon, I would suggest going to the official website. They usually have videos, games and other interactive materials available from which the children can learn. _

You Child, The Musician
Let your child explore with his musical genius. Let them write their songs and sing them to you. With the types of highly sexual and violent content in many of the songs that are played every day in vehicles and in public places, there is a chance of some remnants of those songs ending up in their songs. This way you can find out some of what they are exposed to when you are not around. Take this opportunity to let them know the difference between words and expressions that are demeaning and those that are encouraging.

When you give them the opportunity to create and perform their own music, you give them a way to express themselves. This is good because, as children, they may not be fully able to describe how they are feeling and what they are experiencing the way adults can. Listen to what they have to say and give feedback
4. Stories
Your children's bedtime stories do not have to be read from the big, bright colorful book you bought at the bookstore earlier, or the one you borrowed from the library. If bedtime is the only chance you have to read with them then please, by all means pull that book out. If the child is demanding another story after you have read the book, you can turn off the lights, plug in the nightlight, and make up your own story. Do not try to push everything into the little story or they will miss the whole point. Stick to one or more topic: Lying, stealing, and cheating. The main character in your story can be your child's favorite animal or cartoon character. Be creative.

As always, there is always the old faithful books that children will love. So if you cannot manage to weave your own tale, don't feel guilty in reaching for a book.

5. Regular Conversations
Nothing can beat a regular conversation with mom or dad. Just be sure that you are comfortable and the child is comfortable. It is probably a bad idea to have serious conversations in a public place or somewhere crowded, like a mall or at school. Take the effort to get some privacy from other family members and friends if the situation calls for it. Some topics can be discussed as a family so the child does not feel as if he is being attacked. This also encourages other family members to give their opinions and concerns on a topic that is important as they too have an influence on the way the child thinks.

Whatever the topic is, it is important for you to impress on your child that you love them and care about them. These little people are our future, so let us mold them in the right way.

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