Tips for talking

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What to do if they just won't talk

Help! I can't get them talking

For all those parents and carers who are worrying about how to answer their kids’ questions, there are just as many frustrated ones wishing they had that problem.

You are looking forward to being supporting and open, and their communication stops!

First, know that this is part of adolescence.

Young people often need to work things out in their own way.

Communication about values or providing information can still happen, just not as directly as you might have liked. 

One of my daughters, quite introverted, is hard to have discussions with so I’m always considering ways to have ‘unstilted’ conversations.

Parent of girls 13 and 16

What you can do to help

  • Support the school Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) program at your child's school.
  • Leave brochures and books around the house.
  • Make sure your child has contact with other people who can offer support.

Suggest somewhere or someone to whom they might go to for advice when they need it.

  • Use TV or other media as a conversation starter.

Make comments on someone’s treatment of another person in a relationship

(e.g. examples of respectful relationships, assertive communication, domestic violence, homophobic behaviour, gender stereotyping).

It might create a discussion or it might not, but you’ve let your kids know your values, which children do take into consideration.

  • To avoid putting your child on the spot, ask questions in a more general way:

What do you and your friends think about... 

What do ‘most’ kids at school think.

  • Visit the Get the Facts website for a list of young people’s frequently asked questions and answers on sex and relationships, and consider sharing the website with your child.
  • Download the ‘Top 20 tips for talking about sex’ or read them below for some more practical ideas on talking to your kids.