Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Like many parents of young children, I have touched on the topic of 911 and emergency preparedness, but the concept was always presented in the abstract and with a slightly muted tone: "Don't worry, this would likely never happen, but if Mommy was ever hurt…or if there was a fire…. or if someone was trying to harm us…you would need to call 911 for help." I wasn't sure exactly how to approach this potentially scary and vague topic with little children, and so we didn't spend much time on specific 911 scenarios and hadn't talked much about 911 lately.
Then recently a friend of mine, a mom with young children herself, tripped and fell on a toy car, fainted, and broke her elbow. Luckily, her husband was home at the time and was able to call 911 (she is just fine now), but I saw it as a great opportunity to resurrect the 911 conversation in a much more concrete and meaningful way. This is a situation that could very easily happen to any mom, and we're often alone with our children, so I found using this scenario to be a very gentle, accessible, practical way of teaching about 911 and emergency responsiveness.
I told the kids the story, indicated that our friend is fine and her elbow will heal quickly, and dedicated a recent morning using this scenario as the foundation for a conversation on when and how to use 911. I printed out this workbook for kids on 911 as a discussion guide. We talked about instances when it would and would not be appropriate to call 911. We reviewed address and telephone information and who our emergency contact people are, practiced what we might say to the 911 dispatcher, and talked about staying calm in scary situations. Then we practiced using the phone. I made certain that the kids knew how to make outgoing calls on both our home phone and my cell phone (calling phone numbers other than 911), and then we practiced calling 911 on a disconnected play phone.
This experience reminds me that topics such as 911 and emergency preparedness, as seemingly challenging as they might be for us to discuss with our children, are extremely important. We should be having these conversations with our children regularly, conjuring up child-appropriate scenarios if we need to, to make these conversations less intimidating and more understandable for children.
My new plan is to discuss 911 on a more regular basis, and also to carve out time to use this coloring book from FEMA to discuss broader emergency and disaster preparedness. Incorporating practical, hands-on, age-appropriate conversations about safety and emergency response into our family learning is an important way of protecting everyone's well-being.
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)
- A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
- Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
- Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
- Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
- From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetween — Mrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
- When Together Doesn't Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
- Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she's explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she's learned along the way.
- Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
- Preschool Peer Pressure — Lactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren't so friendly.
- Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she's had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
- When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller's Blog.
- How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter's horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
- Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
- Parenting Challenges--when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
- Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
- Openness — sustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
- Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
- Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
- Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
- How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
- Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
- Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
- Sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who'd want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
- Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn't have a simple answer.
- When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.