My daughter recently started kindergarten and needless to say it has been a crazy and wonderful. As a parent, it is so exciting to witness her enthusiasm and joy at all the new things she is able to experience and learn about. The first school assembly, the first field trip, the first school book fair; every day it seems there is a first and each one is better than the one before!
But it’s been a little overwhelming and scary, as well. This is also the first time she has been exposed to things that I’m not sure I am ready for: things like “Drug Free Me” week and a puppet show about child abuse awareness and prevention. I don’t remember learning about either of these topics until well past kindergarten, but sadly, in this new age, Maddy was learning about them within the first nine weeks of school. Neither of these events were a bad thing, but as a parent, I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been to discuss either topic with her. She came home with lots of questions and some facts that she was looking for me to confirm. My husband and I looked at each other as if to say, “You’re taking this one, right?” Neither of us wanted to take the leap and have “that conversation.”
But we did and while it was sometimes awkward and uncomfortable (for us, not her!), it was necessary and healthy for us a family to discuss such important topics openly and honestly. It reminded me that whether or not I am ready or able to discuss these topics, my daughter would be exposed to them and she would want to talk about them. I need to intentionally think about how I will thoughtfully discuss these and other topics with her. I also need to intentionally think about and decide what topics are not appropriate for my daughter. There may topics I feel she isn’t ready for and decide to not allow her to participate in an event or discussion. As a parent the key is to be tuned in, with eyes, ears and hearts ready to listen to the cues your child is giving you.
But, I am relaxing for now. As I recall, the topics only get scarier!