How to prepare your child for potential relationship issues with family members due to physical or emotional reasons
Although your child’s CPP is mostly between you, your kiddo, and your care team; your whole family will likely be affected. Suddenly, your family members need to check their sensitivity, be more careful with their comments, and educate themselves about early puberty. No matter how well-meaning your family is, this learning process takes time, and your child may experience some hurt feelings and confusion along the way.
Although it’s definitely worthwhile to prepare your family members to speak to your child with care (we’ve outlined how to do that here), it’s also important to have a conversation with your child about how their CPP diagnosis may affect family dynamics.
Let them know they can always come to you
Kids sometimes fear they will get in trouble if they tell you that a grownup made them uncomfortable. Your child needs to know that’s not the case. They can always confide in you: you are a safe space.
Set ground rules in your own home
It’s not always possible to monitor how extended family talks to your child, but you can set the rules when it comes to your own home. If you’re worried about siblings commenting on your child’s physical CPP symptoms, consider establishing a rule like “In our family, we don’t comment on anyone else’s body.” Or if your child is experiencing mood swings and disagreements tend to escalate quickly, try “ We don’t call each other names in this house. When we’re overwhelmed by a feeling, we name it, and we take a break to cool off.”
Remind your child that they are not an adult
No matter how old your child looks, they are still very much a kid. A family member might tease them for their lack of experience or knowledge about something, forgetting how young they are. Or worse, a family member could make inappropriate comments about how your child is developing. Let your child know that if anyone ever makes them uncomfortable, even family, they need to tell you right away.
The best thing you can do to support your little one through CPP is just be there. If your child knows they can always turn to you to be heard, protected, and loved, they can focus on simply being a kid.