My son recently stopped me dead in my tracks with a completely honest question about something he had heard a classmate say. This was an issue that I had hoped to have far more time preparing to discuss with him. As it is, he’s only 6, and I found my eyes widening and my heart screaming, “I’m not ready to talk to you about this!”
But the hard questions are going to come. The correct response is not to freak out, chastise him for his curiosity, or ignore him. I think there are a few good general rules we should all adhere to when faced with tough questions from our kiddos:
- Don’t make them feel bad for asking. They need to know that we, their parents, are the safest place for them to come with questions. If we shame them for it now, they won’t come back.
- Don’t feel like you have to say too much. Take your cues from them on how much info they seem ready to process. Chances are the same question will come up again, so you’ll have a few chances to cover all you want to cover. You just don’t have to do that all in one day.
- Don’t overcomplicate it. Keep explanations as simple as possible for now. Let their question, not your own anxiety over the issue, be the guide for your explanations.
- ASK GOD FOR HELP. This seems like an obvious answer, but it’s okay to go to God with practical issues, and sometimes we forget that. But He cares about all of our lives, and the Holy Spirit can be a great guide for those tough moments.
Hard questions are hard, but with God’s help and some practical guidelines, we can deliver answers that create safe, positive discussion spaces. Keep up the good work, parents!