How to answer difficult questions from kids

Parents’ roles are clearly defined when their kids are born – they are the protectors, diaper-changers, feeders, and providers. As soon as kids learn to string together a series of words to form a meaningful question, parents also become ‘Google’ to their kids! Kids will often ask you questions that will make you laugh, squirm and retreat at the same time. While some parents are stumped by the random questions that are thrown at them, others find it easy to provide kids with monosyllabic answers that do little to satisfy the little one’s curiosity.

Tips to answer difficult questions from curious kids

How to answer difficult questions from kids
"questions" by Oberazzi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How to answer difficult questions from kids

The questions that kids generally ask can be broadly divided into two large spectrums:

Life and death –

Each child is unique. A child's capacity to understand and your approach to discussing death might vary according to your child’s age. However, follow the tips below on how to provide kids with the most helpful answers:

  • If your child asks you about death, then she is probably at an age to understand the simple basics of life. Avoid saying the departed ‘has turned into a star or an angel’, or ‘is sleeping forever’, or ‘has gone to meet and be with God’. Avoid euphemisms all together.
  • Do not try to whitewash facts, but do not explain explicitly either.
  • When you come across dead birds or insects, take the opportunity to explain to your child that everything that lives must eventually die one day. However, this explanation may get you an extremely unwanted and uncomfortable question, “does that mean I’ll die one day too?” Put across your point in a way that it does not affect the child psychologically but satiates his curiosity.

Sex –

What is the most appropriate way to handle kids’ newfound curiosity on sex and birth? One of the very first questions that kids ask is, ‘how are babies born?’ Answering kids’ questions on sex is one of those milestones in parenthood that most parents dread! Here are a few tips to handle those difficult questions

  • The golden rule is to never scold. Answer their questions patiently and do not rebuke or embarrass them. Scolding will accelerate their curiosity and they might turn to another adult, who might not be as trustworthy, for assistance.
  • Avoid nicknames for private parts. By the time the kid is old enough to pronounce the concerned words, they should be taught the real names rather than the nicknames. However, train kids not to talk directly about them in public and avoid embracing confrontations.
  • Explain in a straightforward manner, and you will probably find that your child is satisfied with a little information at a time. When asked about births, you can gently explain that babies grow from an egg in mommy’s womb and come out of her. However, avoid explaining the nuances of lovemaking as kids at their curious age will be too young to absorb that information.

Remember, children ask you difficult questions not because they want to attract unwanted attention, but because they are curious and clueless about many things around them. However, their questions might sometimes sound deeply introspective but their intentions might not be as introspective. So, pause, think, and answer!

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