January 20, 2010

Answering Tough Questions

Every parent will have that moment: a very private question asked at the worst time, or a question they didn't expect to answer until years down the road asked casually at the dinner table.  Whether the question is the legendary "where do babies come from?" or the heart-wrenching "is Santa real?", parents have to take a deep breath. 

Follow the link for a few tips for dealing with that moment in a way that's good for you and your child. 

  • It's called the 'moment of truth' for a reason; be honest.  Let's say you've been asked where babies come from; don't resort to the stork.  Later, when your child finds out the truth, they'll have learned that they can't trust mom or dad to answer their questions about sex, and that is not a good start to the preteen and teen years. 
  • Know your child.  This is important.  My brother demanded to know whether Santa was real at a very young age, and he wanted the truth.  I asked my parents that question much later, and all I wanted was assurance that he was real, which is what my parents gave me.  In retrospect, what I was really asking for was permission to keep believing.  Understand the individual needs of each child; there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to every question. 
  • Answer the question your child asked.  If a three year-old asks where babies come from, you don't necessarily need to launch into an in-depth discussion of sex, mom and dad's roles, and pregnancy.  A simple explanation that the baby grows in a special place inside the mommy may be plenty.  If your child asks follow-up questions, answer, but don't assume you must tackle "the Talk" the first time sex is brought up. 
  • Don't avoid the question!  As tempting as it may be, don't sidestep a child's awkward question.  If explaining where babies come from in front of your dinner guests is unappealing, tell your child you'll explain it to them later.  And then do it.  If your child thinks they can't get answers from you, they'll ask someone else.  It may be awkward, but answering your child's hard questions builds trust.

1 comment:

  1. At whyzz.com, the source for kid-friendly answers on how the world works, we work with qualified experts and organizations to answer any question that comes your way, from the serious to the silly and everywhere in between!