Over the years, I’ve come to realize something: There’s no really “right” time for life’s biggest moments.
When you fall in love, it’s not at the right time, when a cool breeze is blowing, violins serenade you in the background, and rose petals shower down upon you. It’s seldom (see how cautious I’m being? :D) that all these elements come together miraculously, precisely at the moment that you fall in love. That’s why they make movies! Love comes in little moments, when you’re laughing together, or sharing a plate, or having a serious discussion.
Similarly, there’s no right time to have the Big Talk with your children: when the TV is off, the hard chair is in the spotlight, and your podium is all ready. No, you can’t build up a scene like that; it’s just unnatural. There are so many aspects to the Big Talk that you can’t simply slot it into a one-hour speech and be over and done with it. Any questions? No? Good! You know how that works, right? You’ve nodded off or just tuned out of so many such sessions right from school to college, or during those mandatory training sessions at office.
The Big Talk with your children happens in little moments, like when you’re watching a movie together, or he/she tells you something that happened at school, or it’s that screaming headline in the newspaper that simply cannot be ignored. You explain, you reason, you argue, you convince, you persuade. More important of all, you listen and you discuss. It’s a two-way street, it’s not you dumping all over your child, not an item on your checklist that has a time allotment of 1 hour, to be checked off promptly.
So many parents labour under the impression that their child is a complete innocent. It’s just that they don’t give them enough credit. Children know the facts much earlier than you think they do. It’s the mystery, the surrounding smoke that needs clearing up, that needs demystifying, that needs a handy guide to make one’s way through. So many aspects need to be explored, not just the mechanical. The emotional, the practical, the fear, the hope…there’s really no way that you can educate your child on everything that goes with the territory. And everything need not be taught — your child needs do the growing up on his/her own.
What the Big Talk really does is to gradually open up a door through which your child can walk in whenever he/she desires, pull up a chair and sit down to learn from you and teach you. The right time is right now — this very moment, and the next, and the next.