Sometimes kids ask questions which leave you wondering whether to laugh or cry. But for the child, it’s important to learn the answer. Kids don’t want to be ignored, lied to, or laughed at because of their naivety.
This is why Bright Side is offering you the right answers to some of their most confusing questions.
Be honest, but don’t go into too much detail.
“When people love each other, they kiss and hug. Dad gives mom his cells. They join with mom’s, and a baby starts growing in her belly. He’s tiny and swims like a fish inside mom. He gets bigger, and one day there’s no room left inside mom, and he’s born.” Older children can be told about the concepts of sperm and egg cells.
Try to tell them about this without awkwardness, and remember that a child’s interest in their genitalia is entirely natural.
“The differences are there so that children can be born. A boy has a penis and two testicles. A girl has a vagina and a womb — a special sack for the child they may one day give birth to. The boy and the girl grow up, fall in love, and want to have children. They join together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. After this, a new child is born.”
Almost all kids start asking this question when they first start feeling attracted to the opposite sex. Gently say “no.“
”Everyone has their role in the family. Your sister can’t become dad, and your dad can’t become grandma. And you can’t become your mom’s husband. When you grow up, your mom will already be old. You can still love her and care for her, but you’ll want to marry someone else instead — someone young and beautiful. You’ll love each other and have your own children.”
Children subconsciously feel guilty when their parents argue. It’s important for your child to understand that it’s not their fault.
“People argue because they don’t always agree with each other’s opinions. Children argue, and adults sometimes do as well. But we always make up because we love each other. And we both love you.”
Don’t shush your child if they draw attention to unusual-looking people in a public place as this leads to the formation of intolerance.
“Everyone is different. People can be tall, short, fat, and thin. Sometimes people look different because they’re sick. You can hurt them by pointing out their differences. You shouldn’t point your finger at them. It’s better to ask me about them later, when we’re alone, to make sure you don’t upset anyone.”
Siblings always compete for the love of their parents. You shouldn’t use one child as an example for their brothers and sisters or say that you love one more because they’re more successful at school.
“You’re different, and our love for all of you is expressed in different ways. But we love all of you equally, just as you love mom and dad the same amount. You’re both very dear to me.”
Explain to your child that the treatment is necessary. Don’t ever call them a coward or make fun of them for feeling frightened.
“The doctor doesn’t want to hurt you. Their job is to fight germs and illnesses. It might be a little painful, but without this you won’t get better. When I was sick, I also had an injection. I was scared but I coped. And you can as well. Remember that your rabbit was also sick, and we had to take him to the doctor. He was very scared. Let’s tell him why he shouldn’t be scared of doctors.”
Don’t lie to your children about death. They can accept the truth.
“People, animals, and even flowers all die one day. It’s a law of nature. It means that there’s space in the world for everyone who’s born. We’ll die one day. But not soon. I’ll pass away when I’m very old, like grandma, and you’ll already be a grown-up like we are now. You’ll have your own children. Then they’ll grow up, you’ll get old, and then you’ll leave. But you’ll live a wonderful life, full of adventures and discoveries.”
Explain that your job is something you have to do. Place emphasis on the joy of when you come home and see each other again.
“I don’t want to leave you, but I have to go, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Work is very important. But remember that I’ll be back this evening, and we’ll be so glad when we see each other again. Let’s do a swap. You take my bracelet, and I’ll take your toy. And we’ll feel each other’s presence even though we’re apart.”
Don’t be scared to admit that you’re not ideal. It’s important for your child to understand that they shouldn’t copy everything their parents do.
“Yes, I smoke, and sometimes I stay up late using the computer. But I don’t want you to repeat my mistakes. This is my bad habit which I’m going to give up because I want to be a better person.”
Take your child’s fears seriously, and work out how to turn bad things into good ones together.
“Tell me about the monster. Did you know that monsters are very scared of magic spells? Let’s work out one together. Look, this isn’t just an old TV remote. Do you see that secret button? When you press it, the monster disappears. Let’s keep the remote next to your bed.”
Rules for answering children’s questions:
- A child doesn’t need to know more than what they asked about. Give them simple answers.
- Don’t deceive them. If you don’t know the answer to their question, simply admit it to your child. Then find out the answer together. This approach will only strengthen your authority, whereas lying weakens it. When your child learns the truth from someone else, you’ll have to tell them why you lied.
- Never talk to them in a condescending way with a tone of voice like a teacher. Don’t ever mock them; treat their inquiries seriously. You surely want your child to come back to you with more questions in the future.
- Ponder the motivation for their question. Sometimes your child’s question might be an unconscious request for help or due to a hidden fear. Try to make sense of what your child is really asking for.
Illustrator: Ekaterina Gapanovich