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.
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