Feb. 15, 2017

What To Say To Your Kids When You Don’t Have a Clue

We average about one conversation a week, with one or other of our children, during which we are suddenly at a total loss as to what to say. Perhaps you too have had a few Tough Questions like these: Is Santa real? What is racism? If I go to heaven,


 

 We average about one conversation a week, with one or other of our children, during which we are suddenly at a total loss as to what to say. Perhaps you too have had a few Tough Questions like these:

 Is Santa real?

 What is racism?

 If I go to heaven, will my toys come too?

 When answering Tough Questions like these, Amy feels that it’s important not to have innocence-ending conversations too early. She calls it “age-appropriate obfuscation.” Keep it simple, keep it reassuring.

 But Margaret likes to call this approach “Say ‘Delay,’ Run Away,” and she has somewhat of a point. The Tough Questions need to be answered, and if a parent doesn’t step up, a kid might just seek out some peer education, bound to be rife with misinformation.

 In this episode, we discuss

 

 * why it’s hard to explain concepts like racism to children young enough to be unaware of it

 * how to let the child lead any delicate discussion with her questions (rather than your answers)

 * the power of the pause before responding

 * why you should always leave a little bit left over to divulge for next time

 * why we all just have to figure out the Easter Bunny back story already


Here’s some of the best advice we have collected:


* from Meg’s sister in law: Only answer the question you are asked.

* from educator Danielle McLaughlin: “In order to actually engage our children, we need to find out what it is that they already know and what are they seeking to understand.”

* from Michael Thompson, PhD: “Pausing for a moment…lets your child know you are taking him seriously.”

* from PBS Parents: save a little bit of information for the next conversation on the same topic. Cause it’s coming.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices