“The Biggest Loser’s” Jillian Michaels learned that sometimes parenting means having difficult conversations with your children, which can make even the most confident parent squirm.
In April, she told People that one particular chat with her daughter still makes her feel uneasy.
The mom of two explained that Lukensia, 8, unwittingly made a disparaging statement about LGBTQ people when she was six, and Michaels didn’t know how to react to the comment.
In an interview she recalled the conversation:
“One evening, when my daughter was maybe 6, she said to me that she thought gay people were gross, or gay was gross.
I freaked out.”
“When people talk about parenting being hard, I don’t find that it’s all the sleepless nights and, oh, you know, the poopy diapers.
It’s these kinds of moments that bring you face to face with all of your deep, dark issues, where you don’t handle it well. I really wish I had handled it differently in the moment.”
According to Parent Tool Kit, there’s often a temptation for parents to avoid tough talks or just sweep them under the rug, hoping the kids won’t remember.
However, instead of delaying an uncomfortable topic, it’s best to approach the subject head-on. Parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba explained:
“If you look embarrassed, they’ll feel embarrassed. Kids know when you’re uncomfortable and they’ll conclude that was an inappropriate talk.”
Education consultant Jennifer Miller advised parents to use books as a resource when talking to kids about sexuality. Miller said:
“If you look closely, you will find that there will be natural entry points to start these discussions. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic sit-down conversation, but a drip of info as they encounter different issues and situations.”
Yet keep in mind each family is unique, and unfortunately, there is no clear-cut process for having hard conversations.
On a lighter note, Michaels shared some happier moments with Lukensia and Phoenix, 5.
She said moments like when Phoenix “pooped in the middle of the schoolyard” keep her laughing nonstop.