So you’ve got the nappy-changing, sleep deprivation keeping up with boundless energy, financial responsibilities, and more down pat – but how do you react when your kid suddenly poses thought-provoking and crucial questions such as what sex means? If you’ve found yourself in such situations, or are gearing up to do so, check out what we recommend:
1. “Why do people die?”
Almost any initial question pertaining to death when they haven’t quite grasped the concept of it just yet may lead to a devastating blow to your little one – especially since the first thing their minds will jump to will be: “Will I be left alone?” or “Who’s going to take care of me?” When this happens, Myrna Shure, author of Raising a Thinking Child advises you to ask him or her, “What do you think about this?” This is meant to ascertain where his greatest fears lie and then answer accordingly. If it’s for his own safety and future – reassure him that no matter what happens, you’ll always ensure he will be taken care of. Also, someone he or she knows has passed away, commemorate that person through stories or photos and allow your child to know that it’s perfectly alright to think or talk about said person – even they won’t see the person again.
2. “What do you mean we can’t afford it?”
This will almost certainly arise especially when your child starts going to school and will start comparing what he or she has to others. Remember that they don’t have any real concept of fiscal value just yet, so saying phrases such as “We can’t afford that” when they want a certain toy in a store will hardly work on them. Instead, before going out, make a list of items that you can buy and cannot buy, and ask your child what it is they want. If it’s something extraordinarily expensive, let them know it’s on a “holiday list” – meaning such gifts are reserved for special occasions. Do steer clear of saying things such as “we aren’t rich” or “we don’t have that kind of money” as this will give them cause to worry about the family’s status.
3. “Does God exist?”
Explaining religion and God can be confusing and scary. Instead of portraying it as an entity (whether it’s God or religion) that will punish them if they step out of line, which is quite a common parenting method as it can be scary for your child at the time. Instead, promote healthy discussions about the topic that will help them develop their critical thinking skills at the same time. Regardless of whatever faith you belong to, try not to indoctrinate your child and be open-minded when explaining to him or her that there are many other religions out there as well.
4. “What is sex?”
As cringe-worthy as the question may be, don’t beat around the busy or worse, give inaccurate fairytale answers. Remember that your child will learn the truth, whether or not it’s from you – so the very least you could do is ensure that he or she gets the correct information. No, you aren’t encouraging them to experiment or be promiscuous. Rather, lifting the veil on the matter will help with their curiosity – don’t turn it into forbidden fruit. That way, they’ll be a lot more level-headed in the future when facing the topic of sex. It’s all part and parcel of growing up – so equip them with what is essentially scientific knowledge of their own bodies.