Do you know the right way to respond when your children come to you with questions like:
“Mom, how are babies made?”
“Are you going to die someday?”
You know, the questions that blindside you and leave you breathless and speechless. In these moments, many unprepared parents fumble their words and might give a short and dismissive answer. Like an annoying fly, the reaction might be to shoo the question away.
Children bring their parents questions every day, and depending upon how their questions are treated will determine if they feel safe to continue sharing their questions.
To help parents who may struggle with finding the perfect words, consider that it’s less about what you say, and more about how you help your child feel. By giving your child your undivided attention, stopping what you are doing to look him/her in the eye and truly listen, your child will feel safe and that his/her ideas are okay to share.
In the article “How To Explain God To Your Kid, According to Experts” by Caroline Shannon-Karasik, I contribute to the conversation around that big question:
"Sometimes when children come to parents with big questions, like 'what is God?' parents feel a pressure to answer the questions," she says. "But sometimes, answers aren’t exactly what children need to their questions. Children may just want to think and share." Malone says parents may respond with more open-ended questions such as, "I’d love to hear more about what you’re thinking” or “thank you for sharing your thoughts with me."
"These types of responses help to keep the conversation lines open, so that they continue to come to you with the big questions," Malone says.
Take the pressure off having the perfectly scripted answer to any of these questions, and instead seize them as moments to strengthen the bond between you and your child.
Need more ideas or support in navigating big questions? Contact me: 732-977-0375
I'm a mom of four children, a wife, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. My parenting life helps me be a better counselor, and my professional experience helps me be a better mom. Both allow me to be creative, to learn and grow, to make mistakes, and to rarely sleep. I love the beach and gardening, reading if I can stay awake, running (which these days is after my kids and not much else), and using humor through it all!
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