10 Helpful Tips On Being Honest With Your Children
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watching your favorite drama series with your seven-year-old. It is a clean
show with no violence, sex, or nudity, purely a legal drama. But as you watch
the Season 2 premiere, your daughter hears the word "Prostitution."
She then proceeds to ask you in her sweet voice what the word means. The wave
of blank spaces hits your head just like most parents or caretakers whose kids
have ever asked difficult questions.
world today, children get smarter quickly with the plethora of information
available to them through technology. However, as adults, parents, or
caretakers, we need to be the first support line of defense for these kids.
Whatever we tell them or explain difficult terms, it shapes their mindset and
perception of the said topic and the views of people and the world.
some examples of some tough questions that kids may ask their parent(s), caretaker(s),
or an adult:
Where do babies
Why are you
and my daddy (or mommy) mad at each other?
did you get that black eye?
go to heaven?
Am I gonna
Claus and the tooth fairy real?
or caretakers have done more harm than good in telling their children lies or
not providing them with adequate information in an effort to safeguard them
from the truth or reality. This dilemma has led children to a long hallway of
physical abuse, shame, ridicule, and all sorts of trauma - all from not responsibly
being told the truth in an age-appropriate manner at a young age.
caretakers, therefore, need to be able to understand reality and speak to kids
about the difficult topics in the world today. These bright kids will
inevitably come with a barrage of questions. You must provide them with age-appropriate
answers without misleading or confusing them. If a parent or caretaker fails to
responsibly provide the answers to their kids’ questions, then they run the
risk of their kids getting false, misleading, or harmful information from
someone else. That can have devastating consequences for kids.
Below are 10
tips you can use to talk to your children about difficult situations:
Image Source: Pixabay
Find Out What They Know About The Topic
the question on prostitution, some parents or caretakers may begin to conjure
different images that confuse the child further. It is important to know what
the child understands about the topic first before explaining anything to them.
Find out if they are aware of the complexities of the topic and explain.
Provide A Context
should understand that children do not enjoy a summary of things; they want to
understand what led to that issue being discussed; therefore, if you are trying
to explain why an unexplainable man goes into a school and shoots kids, you
could say the man had issues in his brain, which made him have bad thoughts and
hurt people. Explain the perspective in the clearest and age-appropriate
language and terms possible. Be sure to reassure the child that everyone does
not go into schools and hurt others, but it is important for children and
others to follow safety rules. That way, children may not become incapacitated
by fear and negative thoughts that can interfere with their mental health.
Find Something They Can Relate With
You can use
expressions like, "Remember when Uncle Alfred had an injury….". Using
the things they can relate to as a point of reference in explaining the
difficult terms can help them to comprehend situations better. However, you
need to be careful so that your child does not falsely attribute issues to
family members, places, or relatable things you have used. Explain to them what
is appropriate versus inappropriate when addressing issues they can relate
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Ask Them Questions
As much as
you want to impart knowledge to your children about physical abuse,
homosexuality, and other sensitive topics, you should give room for critical
thinking. It is never too early to start. Also, open-ended questions can help
them like "What did you think when you heard about it?" or “Why do
you think these people acted this way?". It helps to develop the child's
mind and ensures that they can hold their own in public or in school. Allowing
children to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and being honest with
you by asking them open-ended questions can allow you to instill and build a
plethora of positive values and good communication skills between you, them,
Wait For The Right Moment
It is best
to plan to address questions and issues as quickly as possible. But if you are
dealing with young teens, it is best to wait for the right moment to discuss questions
and issues. Take your time to feel your children out; if the issues become
visibly overbearing on them, you can step in. For young teens, pushing the
discussion too much might end up scaring them away or making them feel
overwhelmed. Therefore, relax, and talk to them normally until they are ready to
share with you unless they may be in imminent danger. then, you must proceed with
urgency and importance.
Give Them Room To Talk About Their Opinions
It is a different thing to ask them questions and allow them to speak their minds.
Teenagers want to feel heard and understood, especially during difficult
questions or topics. Let them know they can discuss their fears, opinions, and
suggestions about the difficult issues with you. This will draw them closer to
you no matter how difficult the issue is. Keep in mind when you were a teen and
wanted others to relate to and understand you.
imagine how scared a kid would be after hearing some other students got shot in
their school. What you can do is to reassure them that you will not let
anything bad happen to them. Reassure your teenage children if you have any concerns
and let them know you would always be there for them to provide possible
solutions. As a parent, you should be able to assuage your children's fears
without lying to them when answering their tough questions.
Pay Attention To Your Emotions
As a parent,
there may be some upsetting news or rumors that you read or heard (about you) that
ultimately may eventually get to your kids. You must maintain your cool and
prevent any negative outbursts in front of your children when explaining
sensitive issues. If you need some time to regroup before getting back to the
question, then calmly let your kid know. There is no harm in doing so; revisit
the issue when you have gathered yourself and thoughts. Do everything in your
power to assure your child that they should not worry or be afraid of things
that you are responsible for addressing and resolving. Positively communicate
with your children once you get a grip on negative issues or let them know in
an age-appropriate manner some positive steps that you have taken to make the situation
Talk To Your Children In A Serene Environment
be curious but impatient at times. Imagine getting caught off guard by your
seven-year-old with a question of homosexuality in the middle of a
get-together. It would help if you tried to hold that question, planned for a
private conversation, and addressed it when everywhere is calm. Now, this is
where some parents may get it wrong. You cannot predict that your kids will not
ask you a question in certain situations or places even after you have
encouraged them to speak to you alone. You should be worried if they don't ask
questions. But what you can do is share in the child's excitement and calmly
explain why you can't answer the question right now. "Don't worry, when we
get home, we will have your favorite snack and talk about it." This is a
great way to add more excitement to the issue.
Admit When You Do Not Know
This may be
one of the hardest things for parents or caretakers, aside from seeing their
children go off to college out-of-state or live in a dormitory. But you should
try to tell them the truth if you do not know about the issue. It is better
than fabricating lies that push them into further darkness. They can become
more inquisitive and therefore get the answer from the wrong sources. You can
tell them you don't know much about the topic, give them a time frame, research
it, and let them know your feedback ASAP.
thing you can do is seek the help of someone you trust that is knowledgeable about
the issue. So, the next time the person comes by, your child’s questions can be
Image Source: Pixabay
important thing is to always do your best to tell your children the truth.
First, however, determine whether the child can understand the truth. If not,
break it down as simply as possible. Telling your child lies or partial truth may
not be a good idea to help them distinguish truth from fiction. Be willing to
be truthful with your child so that you can set good examples to encourage them
to be honest with you.
Knorr, C. (2020 March 12). How to Talk To
Kids About Difficult Subjects.