Are you training for the BIG conversations?
posted by: Guest Blogger
What feels like both yesterday and a long time ago my daughter was in 2nd grade, and a friend was being mean to her. In my quest to support her I discovered “Little Girls Can Be Mean” by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert.
That book taught me the importance of connecting with my daughter – and maybe more importantly – the necessity of maintaining that connection through her pre-teen and teen years. The authors say that if you don’t freak out about her 2nd grade questions and problems, then she will continue to come to you with her struggles as she gets older – when her questions and problems get increasingly complex.
This desire to create and maintain connection with my daughter inspired me to create a mobile game company that focuses on helping kids and their caregivers connect in a fun and comfortable way. I recently launched Audrey & Alexis in the iOS App Store (it’s coming to Google Play and the Amazon Appstore soon). In this interactive story girls encounter age appropriate social situations and get to choose how to respond. After each episode parents get a guide that helps them talk to their daughters about the themes in that episode. The first segment covers cliques. Future segments will cover things like bullying, body image, and tech use.
My daughter is now 14, and the other day she wanted to talk about sex. Not just the birds and the bees mechanics – but the really hard, UNCOMFORTABLE stuff. “What does this word mean? What does that word mean? Why would anyone ever want to do THAT?
Ugh. It was HARD. My husband and I were definitely turning green at various points. But we had a great conversation! And I’m really proud of us. She didn’t feel shame about her questions. We got to share our values. She got better information than she would get from her middle school buddies.
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I think it’s because we’ve been practicing for this.
In the lead-up to launching Audrey & Alexis I’ve talked to lots of parents – and they all say, “My parents didn’t talk to me about any of this stuff. I’m going to be a different kind of parent. We’re going to talk about everything!” When I ask them what conversations they’ve had with their daughters, they say, “Oh, she’s not ready yet! She’s into art/reading/sports. She’s not thinking about any of that growing up stuff.”
We fear that by talking about growing up we will inadvertently make our kids grow up before we’re ready for it. That is not the case though. In fact, when we talk to our kids about this stuff we have the opportunity to share our values and to guide and explore theirs.
Take a look at Audrey & Alexis and see what you think!
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