One of the most common instincts for a lot of parents is to protect their kids. Of course, this is obviously a good and important thing. Your kids need a great deal of protection from many of the things around them. However, it can often be all too easy to slip into a level of overprotectiveness that isn’t good for them or for you. This is especially true when it comes to exposing them to the more complex elements of life. After all, keeping your kids innocent is something that any parent will want to do. But it’s important to ask when that can go too far. There are things about the world that aren’t pretty or fun and that we would much rather our kids never experienced, but that’s just not a realistic way to think of the world around you. You need to be aware that your kids are going to have to make their way in the world eventually and it’s your duty as a parent to prepare them for that. With that in mind, you might find yourself asking the question: when is it time to teach your kids about the real world?
If there’s one thing that plenty of parents dread more than just about anything else, it’s the talk. The conversation about “the birds and the bees” is an important one to have but that’s not to say that it’s one that anyone is going to enjoy. The degree to which anyone is going to want to talk to their kids about these things will depend heavily on factors like culture and religion, but there are some things that kids absolutely do need to learn about. Kids need to be aware of their own bodies, especially the changes that come about during puberty. If you’re not preparing them for those changes, they can end up coming as a serious shock down the line. The same applies to things like understanding boundaries, both theirs and other people’s. Kids need to be taught how to recognize things that are inappropriate and to say no when they’re made uncomfortable. These aren’t easy conversations to have by any means but they are incredibly important no matter which way you look at it.
The world is a big, complex, and often scary place. This is something that most parents really want to help to shield their kids from. And that’s extremely understandable. However, it’s also important to understand that refusing to teach your kids about complex issues isn’t necessarily the best way to go about it. For one thing, remember that there are some kids who have no choice but to learn about these things because they impact their everyday lives. Things like ableism, racism, and sexism impact kids just as much as adults and part of the way that we can go about making a change is to educate kids on these things. That way we can be sure that the next generation is growing up with a better understanding that will allow them to create a better world.
Their health and wellbeing
For a lot of their early years, your kids’ health is something that will be entirely in your hands. You choose their diet and you keep a close eye on the things that they’re doing. But even the most concerned parent has to admit that there comes a time when you have to let them make their own way through the world. This applies to the heath as well. The best thing that you can do is to discuss taking care of their health as they get older. It starts with washing their hands and as they get older you can move onto more complex topics like their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The reality is that the choice of when to teach your kids about the complex issues of the world is a very personal one. You need to decide what you think is best as a parent. It’s important to consider this carefully. Too soon and you run the risk of exposing them to things they simply aren’t ready to deal with. Too late and you leave them unprepared to handle things that they will inevitably have to experience in their lives. The key is to make sure that you’re always communicating with your kids and ensuring that you’re taking the best level of care that you can to provide them with the guidance and support that they need, whatever stage of their development they’re at.