Assets In Action: Start having conversations with your kids

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Today is one of those days where my column might annoy you. I heartily welcome your eye roll.
Today I’m going to ask you to have conversation with your kids.
Summer time is a time to decompress, relax, spend time doing things because there is more free time. I’m not talking about school personnel; I’m talking about our youth.
I know it might not be easy and perhaps you haven’t done it in a while, but as long as they still live in your home, there’s always a chance to begin a dialogue.
As school is two and a half weeks away, perhaps start by asking them what kinds of things they think they might need. When kids are in the older grades, there’s not always a list of supplies to get you started.
When kids are younger, it is easy to take them to annual physicals, the dentist and other appointments to allow us to keep tabs on them, but that gets a little harder for some when as the years go by.
As kids become teens one of the best parts about the Children’s Clinic is that they have the parent step out and they ask youth some pretty important questions that may lead to some good conversation, too.
Big problems don’t start big; there are often signals, issues, or light bulbs that go on along the way.
The teenagers that have been abusing homeless people are a portion of what sparked this column. The other part is youth I see struggling from afar and hope they have someone interested in their well being.
If you have an issue, there is a person or a program that can help and often times, there are many that are free, but you do have to ask.
If you ask once and don’t get an answer you can live with, ask someone else, a youth pastor, a trusted friend or if someone in your life won’t get counseling, then you do it and find out the best way to help someone with a struggle.
Since I worked in Maternal and Child Health in 2000, we have always traded spots with Mississippi on child well being and who was 50th state ranking.
We can’t expect everyone else to do something about our problems, unless we’re willing to get our hands dirty too.
Here are some conversation starters to get you going.
What are you in the mood for, for dinner? Want to go to the store with me? What kinds of things do you think you’ll need for school?
Hang in there and in a quote I can’t originate from an actual person, just a poster from the 1990s, “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”