“Maa, why do you & papa fight?”
“Mummy, why you don’t exercise in spite of being overweight?”
“Daddy, why do two people kiss?”
As a parent you have come across many such awkward questions from your child. Sometimes the questions might be what you would call #UncomfortableQuestions. Parents generally do not expect tough or sensitive questions to come from such young minds. But you have to remember these are minds that absorb everything around them. It is important for every parent to not get caught off-guard by a surprising question from your child.
When Will You Face Uncomfortable Questions?
It is impossible to know when your children will come up with these questions. You will almost always be taken by surprise. It is very easy to get angry, worried, or ashamed at some questions being asked by these curious young minds. But you will also come across situations where you will be impressed at their understanding of the world and how smart they are. It is very important to have an open mind to questions being asked by your children no matter what the situation is. Being prepared to answer a child’s questions means being ready to give your child a meaningful reply no matter when or what the question is about.
Why Do These Questions Come Up
Questions can be triggered by many things such as what they’ve been taught at school, overheard from adults, seen on the television, what their friends have said to them, or what older kids might have been saying or doing. Children today have a lot more exposure to the world and it is difficult to have any control of which parts of the world they see and hear about. At time they may also be exposed to topics in a deliberate attempt to have them moulded in the right manner such as in the case of sex education in schools. But no matter what their age or what the topic is, a child’s curiosity will naturally take over. Children have an abundance of natural and simple curiosity. Their simple view of their environment will lead them to ask very difficult questions in complete innocence. This is the way a child makes sense of what they have been told, heard or seen. Questions, no matter how uncomfortable or awkward, are their way of learning. The answers you give your child, or your reaction to the question will be what your child learns about the topic. These are also great situations to learn more about your child. These simple questions have a lot behind them and will give you an insight to your child’s mind.
Dos & Don’ts When Answering Difficult Questions
Which brings us to how you actually react to and handle the most uncomfortable questions from your kid.
- Treat them with respect for asking whatever question they have. It’s important to let them know they can bring their biggest doubts to you. If you react negatively or dismiss them, they will stop bringing their doubts to you in the future. On top of that you might also kill their natural curiosity. Growing through their curiosity is vital for any child.
- At times you may not be able to answer their questions immediately when asked. You need to set up a time with them to answer their questions later in such situations. Let them know you’re not able to answer their question immediately and that you will do so later. Make sure you do follow up. If you don’t follow up and have their questions answered, you may end up being seen as someone who cannot help them.
- There may also be times where you don’t know the answer or how to answer such a question. It’s okay to let them know that you’re not sure of the answer and that you will find out and get back to them. A lot of us didn’t have the same kind of exposure as our children and it’s natural to not always know the answers. You can read up more on WOW Parenting for the answers to several different issues as they come up or prepare for them in advance too.
- It’s a good idea to ask why they want to know about something. The reasons for which they ask a question will help you understand how your child’s beautiful mind works. You will also get a better insight into what your child is being exposed to and what the context of the question is.
- You can also find out answers to certain questions together with your child. It will help you enrich your knowledge as well as help your child develop their own reasoning skills. You can use these occasions to bond with your child and foster a habit of curiosity.
- Praise your child for asking good questions. Fostering healthy curiosity will go a long way in their development. You will also be able to guide them to asking the right questions.
- Your child may sometimes forget the question that they asked and why they asked it in the first place. That is fine. Be patient and give them time to remember. Younger children may especially have this issue but it can happen with the older ones too.
- Keep your answers and the situations as light-hearted as possible. Never answer your munchkin’s questions too seriously. The more fun it is, the better it is for the both of you. Children can easily be dissuaded if the environment gets too serious.
- A child is never too small for a question or an answer. Remember to find an appropriate way to give your child the right answer even when they’re too young to understand fully. The fact that your child has been exposed to a situation or information about a topic means they are going to come across it again in some form or the other. Their questions are simply a reflection of what is around them. If they’ve asked about death, it’s because they’ve heard about it or seen it.
Children are naturally curious in a world of infinite possibilities. Questions of the toughest nature are bound to come up and we may not always have the answers to them. But having the right attitude towards answering your child’s questions will help you provide them with answers and mould them into smart, caring human beings.
Make sure you browse through the various parenting topics on the WOW Parenting App if you’re ever faced with #UncomfortableQuestions.