What are the discussions I need to be having with my kids?

Rachel Concannon, adolescent therapist: “The things that we’re most uncomfortable talking about are the things we need to tap into the most. If you’re uncomfortable having conversations about sex or substance use with your kids, ask yourself: What’s that about? Did your parents refuse to talk about those topics? And if so, do you want your kids to have that same awkward relationship with these really important issues? This is particularly important where consent is concerned– it’s such a hot topic. You have to get comfortable talking explicitly with your kids about it, however awkward it may be. They’re going to learn it somehow, and you don’t want it to be through making a big mistake. Dads or trusted male adults should talk to boys about consent. Moms or trusted female adults should say to girls: ‘This is your body and you are in control of it. Don’t let anyone take that control away from you.’ Both boys and girls should be talked to about how substance use can affect consent and self-control. I’m astonished by how many parents are still not having those conversations with their kids. Self-harm. Sending nudes. Substance use. Talk about all of the uncomfortable things.”