You pause. Your eyes widen. You know that the next thing that comes out of your mouth has to be profound and well thought out.
Nothing has prepared you for this exact moment — that conversation with your child about anything from bullying and the birds and the bees, to eating disorders and substance use. These sensitive topics are sure to come up at some point, initiated either by your child or by you.
The important thing to know is that you are not the first parent to have these conversations, and you are not alone. Sharp HealthCare experts share some of their tips for those tough talks.
(Click on the images to read stories.)
Talking to teens about sex and birth control
One in three teenage girls is sexually active, but teen pregnancies are in decline because of contraceptive use. Dr. Andrea Journagin discusses how parents can talk with their teens about sex and birth control.
Updates to California's sexual health curriculum
Dr. David Hall answers important questions about California's new sexual health curriculum and offers tips for parents on to how to talk with their teens.
Talking about anatomy from an early age
Experts agree it's important to teach kids the correct terms for their private parts, and how and when it's appropriate to talk about them. Dr. Resham Batra says the best way to teach children about their private parts is to start talking about the subject early, usually between the ages of 3 and 5.
Recognizing the signs of substance use
Sometimes, the pressure of adolescence can lead to your teen experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Learn how to recognize the signs of adolescent substance use and how to start a conversation that leads to recovery.
A parent's primer on pot
Illicit drug use by teens is down, but marijuana use remains steady. Teens who use it regularly have lower grades, more health problems and are less satisfied with their lives.
Body image and eating disorders
Eighty-one percent of 10-year-olds admit to being afraid of getting fat. Eating disorders can affect people of all ages and genders — and for reasons beyond peer and environmental pressures.
Girls and bullying
Have you noticed your preteen or teenage daughter acting nervous, withdrawn or irritable since school started? Schoolyard taunts and online harassment can be just as dangerous as physical bullying for girls in middle and high school.
Illness and Death
Talking with kids about illness and death
Learn how to talk to children about a loved one's illness, when hospital visits are appropriate, and signs to look for when a child is struggling with one of life's toughest challenges.
As parents, it's good to make sure your child is educated and feels supported during difficult times. But it's also important to remember that not every change in behavior is something to be concerned about.