Answering Children’s Tough Questions

Today’s world is a scary place to bring a child into, and any parent will tell you that protecting their children from the scary, ugly things that lie outside the protection of your front door is their biggest concern. There are so many things in this world that we want to keep our children sheltered from and other things that we simply don’t want them to know about yet. We strive to keep our children young and innocent as long as possible, but they grow up faster than we would like anyways; children always have a way of growing up too fast.

The hardest part for parents is being able to answer our children’s questions as they grow up, and the older they get, the more complicated the questions become. Obviously we can’t avoid their questions all together but sometimes we don’t have all the answers. There is also the issue of making sure that we don’t tell them more than they need to know at that time while still being completely honest.

No one ever said that being a parent was easy, right? While the questions will undoubtedly continue to get more difficult to answer, here are a few things to help make things a little easier as well as some tough questions you can expect.

Be Honest

If you don’t know the answer to a question, let them know that you aren’t sure but you will find out and let them know. You don’t want to give your children inaccurate information and it’s actually good for them to see that mom doesn’t know everything; it lets them know that it’s okay to not know everything all the time. Just make sure that you find the answer quickly and go back to them with it; you don’t want them looking for answers elsewhere and learning something you wouldn’t want them to, or information that is incorrect.

If the question makes you uncomfortable, let your child know that some things are not easy to talk about. You don’t want them to think that they shouldn’t be asking you about things; if they see that you are taken aback, they may not be so forthcoming in the future. Say something like, “This is something that is not easy for adults to talk about; I really wish it was, but it’s not.” This way they understand that it’s a difficult subject but that it is still okay to talk about.

Why Did You Have Your Door Closed?

Perhaps THE absolute most uncomfortable thing to discuss with children are topics having to do with sexuality. Clearly sex is not something that we wish to (or should) discuss with very young children, and their questions can definitely catch us off guard. When it comes to sex, you have to be the judge of what your child is ready for, but always try not to look completely shocked, as this will only peak their interest.

With younger children you might simply say, “You know how sometimes you just want to play with your toys by yourself? Well, sometimes mommy and daddy need time by themselves too.” You can then move onto another topic that will interest them, because at this age, nothing really keeps them entertained for long.

Beyond that, you have to decide what your children are or are not ready to hear. Every child grows and learns at different rates, and some may not be ready for the “whole truth” behind sexuality. The important thing is to really listen and give your child open and honest answers. They have come to you because they trust you; if they feel that you didn’t give them what they needed, they will begin searching for the answers elsewhere that you will have to sort out for them later.

Are You Going to Die?

When your little one comes to you with wide-eyes, a sad face, and a question like this, it’s likely to tug at your heartstrings a bit. Your first impulse may be to say, “Of course not, honey!” just to get that sad look off of their face. Obviously this answer isn’t true and your child is likely to know it. A better answer is, “Yes, but not for a very long time.”

Questions like this are bound to arise when there is a death in the family or if the topic of death is somehow involved in a movie or TV show they are watching. Kids are curious, emotional little beings, and they need to be reassured; but they also need to be told the truth.

Are We Going to Be Attacked?

Thanks to the evening news and nearly every adult conversation your child’s little ears have ever taken in, they are bound to know about the awful things happening around the world today. It’s very important to be careful about what you say and what others talk about when your child is within listening distance. Little minds tend to make a very big deal out of things, and war is something they simply don’t comprehend; and they shouldn’t have to.

Don’t brush it off with a response like, “Oh you don’t need to worry.” That doesn’t answer the question and will only make them more worried. Tell them that you can see that they are afraid but that they are safe. Let them know that bad things do happen sometimes and that the important thing is to be prepared. Even ask your child what they think you should do to feel more safe and then implement their plan.

Be Grateful

While it may not seem like it at the time, you should really be thankful that your children are coming to you with these questions. It means that you have managed to maintain an open relationship with your children and that you have made them feel like they can come to you with anything. Too often children (especially teenagers) will go to their friends or other sources rather than asking their parents, and you are left to find out about it after the fact. Keep the lines of communication open, keep being honest, and always let your kids know that they can come to you; no matter how tough the question.



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