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It’s time to get your priorities straight.
Is this you? “I really want to talk to my kids about sex, but there never seems to be a good time.” Or, “I keep realizing that it’s time to talk to my kid, but other things get in the way.” Or, “It’s very important to me to talk about sex openly with my kids, but we just haven’t found the time.”
As your coach, I’m going to be blunt. These are excuses.
Most of us prioritize productive, results-you-can-see types of activities. These are things like school, work, athletics, visits to the doctor or dentist, grocery shopping and doing laundry. It’s a lot harder to prioritize family time, intimate time with our partners, or our own self-care, even though these things bring us greater happiness. Let me explain why I think this is.
American culture has its roots in Puritanism, which we’ll all be reminded of again and again as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday. One of the fundamental tenants of Puritanism was salvation through work. If you work hard, God will bless you, and your family will thrive. They also gave us the idiom, “the devil makes work for idle hands.” This emphasis on staying busy and being productive is our cultural heritage. People who work late and on the weekends are admired in our society, but other cultures see that as unsustainable and unhealthy.
Not only is work revered, we’ve conditioned ourselves to respond to external demands.
To get you to do the things you’re not that interested in, we have invented the deadline. No homework assignment or executive report would ever be completed without it. You’ve met deadlines all your life, and been punished when you didn’t, so now it’s second nature.
If there weren’t deadlines and so much work to do, why, you’d sit and have another cup of tea, glass of wine, or slice of pie. You’d play that pick-up game of basketball, grow tomatoes in your garden, take up painting, and read an extra story to your kid at bedtime. You’d prioritize your relationships and your own wellness. You’d have time to talk to your kids about sex.
It’s time to reassess our conditioning. Are you spending your time doing the things that are really important to you? Despite all our busyness, we find ways to do the things we really want to do, if we consciously prioritize them.
Here’s how to do it:
- Make the commitment. Tell your child what you want to talk to them about and when. Get consent to go forward with this plan.
- Add it to your calendar. Yes, really. Block out the time when you and your kid can have a private talk.
- Turn off your phones. Whoever is calling you can wait. So can that email. You can read that Facebook post later, too. If both you and your child turn off your phones together, you’ll make sure there are no interruptions, and you’ll really grab your kid’s attention!
Don’t leave these conversations up to chance. Don’t get around to it someday. Make it a priority. If you think you need some accountability, reply and tell me what’s going on for you. I’ll be happy to give you a deadline and bug you if you miss it.
In support of you,
P.S. Need some ideas about what to say or how to say it? Jump on my calendar for a complementary Mastering the Difficult Conversation strategy session.