I Had an Awkward Conversation With my Kid, And Lived to Tell the Tale

Granted, I haven’t had THE talk with any of my kids yet, but I probably should. The first “talk” I had with my oldest daughter was a smashing success. She was three or four years old when I decided to have the “private parts are private” talk. We were going to the zoo that day as a family. Obviously the perfect opportunity to have this talk was while I was doing her hair and she had no way to escape. I pulled her into my room and laid it all out there. In the middle of my rehearsed speech  she said, “Uh, mom? I hear Dad and Aoife talking about animals. We should probably talk about that instead.” Smashing success, I tell you. 

She is now in the first grade. The other day, I picked her and her sister up from school. We were driving and having a grand old time and I asked her about her day. We talked about lunch and I asked if they had gone outside for recess. I wanted to know what the kiddos did outside when the snow had melted and turned into a giant ice rink. Little did I know that the simple question, “What do you do during recess outside?” would be the start of a Gilmore Girls worthy mother/daughter bonding moment. 

That day at recess, some kids dared one of her friends to kiss this one boy. My darling first born told the group that mouths were for eating, talking, and laughing ONLY. I was stunned. That statement didn’t come from me.

A couple thoughts came to mind: One, I am so proud of her for standing up to her group of friends. Two, I am proud of myself for, despite my bumbling ineptitude, raising a daughter confident enough to stand alone. And three, I am so grateful to my daughter’s school for filling in the gaps and having these conversations with these kiddos. Obviously it made an impression.

The conversation that followed was filled with giggles from the back seat. First, I had to be sworn to secrecy. Then I asked a lot of questions and came away with all of the first grade gossip. I now know who everyone likes, who likes her, who she likes *gasp*, who’s kissed who, and (gratefully) that she hasn’t kissed anyone. It was an awesome door that opened up the opportunity to have a slightly more serious talk. Again, we talked about body parts.

Binge watching Gilmore Girls the last few months has given me unrealistic mother/daughter relationship expectations, but it’s also taught me that I want these chats to be normal. I want them to be a thing that happens in our house, and while being notoriously uncomfortable; I want to have these conversations happen without embarrassment from either party.

When I was my oldest daughter’s age, I had already kissed three boys and was engaged to Eric Hale. I’m pretty sure if my mother reads this, it’ll be the first she hears about it. If my daughter gets engaged to an Eric Hale, I want to be the first to know. I’ll settle for second or third if she tells a sister or dad first. So here’s what I learned from that car ride home:

It takes practice.

I’m counting this as my first truly successful hard talk with my kids. Not at all like when my second asked how the baby sister we just had got out and I told her it was like a really big poop. After every hard and uncomfortable conversation, I mentally tally the things I did well, and what I’d do differently. 

The Awkward Conversations are Only as Awkward as YOU make them. 

I feel like my kids have this amazing ability to tell when I’m uncomfortable. These inquiring minds just want an answer. If I make a big deal about it, they’ll catch on and all of a sudden it’s a taboo, awkward topic. Take a big breath, put on your game face, and just TALK to them and answer their questions.

Carpe Diem!

Seize the moment! By making these difficult topics a part of our norm, I won’t hesitate to open those shiny, golden opportunity doors when they come. Simply talking about recess and her friends offered up the opportunity to have an impromptu serious discussion. The spontaneous nature of it made it feel less forced and more like a normal conversation, which is what I wanted in the first place. 


I know that THE talk is coming, and I’m planning on having a massive candy spread to soften the blow for both of us. However, my hope is that by having these smaller conversations, my girls won’t be afraid or feel uncomfortable talking with their parents about these things. It’ll just be a normal thing in our family, and that door will always be open for them. Here’s to the next awkward conversation! 




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