Uniquely Placed

As parents we want the very best for our children and we so much want them to make good choices in their lives so that they reach their full potential and live healthy and fulfilled lives.

Our children today face immense pressure and it is not easy for them as they grow up from the children we often see them as into the young adults they are becoming. They face pressure in so many different areas and they so much want to fit in. How they feel about themselves is so important with respect to their self-esteem and good self-image and good self-esteem encourages good choices. When children feel secure at home and connected in their family this protects them from the pressures they face around underage drinking, illicit drug use and underage sex.

UNIQUE is a tool, developed to help you talk to your child about some of these issues:

  • Effective parent-child communication makes for healthy adolescences.
  • If we talk to our children about friendship, love, relationships and sex it can lead to a delay in their sexual activity.
  • We are often hesitant to talk to them about these things or feel we do not know how to.
  • No one is better able to talk to your child about these issues than you.
  • You care about your child more than anyone else.
  • Often children are further ahead in their development than we as their parents imagine.

1. Read through UNIQUE yourself first so you know what UNIQUE is about

2. We are looking feedback on what parents/young people feel about the resource so you can follow through the approach in 3 and 4 below.

3. Give UNIQUE to your child and say to them that you would like them to tell you what they think about UNIQUE (you can say you are assessing it for us if helpful) – possibly agree a date a few days to a week ahead where you can give time to sit down with your child and listen to what they have to say about UNIQUE

4. At the agreed time, get a quiet place and take the time to sit down with them and to go through UNIQUE – maybe section by section – ask them what they think about each section – maybe even asking them questions such as the ones in the next tab.

5. Talking about these topics is better before our children are even thinking about some of these things. If you leave it too long to talk – you will leave it too late and it will be harder or even impossible to begin having those conversations you know you need to have.

6. Ideally, you will continue to talk about these things and once you have opened the topics – you can talk again and again and again with your child. Hopefully, they will see that you want to talk to them about the issues in UNIQUE and they will want to come to you about any problems and difficulties they face.

7. Anything that you can do to open up the communication in your home about these issues is a bonus – don’t be hard on yourself. Your child is probably as nervous as you. Most children prefer to talk to their parent than someone else about these normal growing up topics.

The questions around the sections can be adapted as you feel works best for you. Sometimes it can be helpful to chat in terms of “you and your friends” or “your friends” or “others in school” rather than “you”.

Example“What do you and your friends think love is?” or “What do others in school think going out is about?”

Feel free to adapt and be creative with how you follow through in your discussion around UNIQUE.

© 2011 Unique NI