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Talking to Kids About Bad Things

April 18, 2013

American Flag, flag with snow, talking to kids about bad things, praying for Boston, talking to kids about Boston Marathon, answering kids tough questions, answering kids quesitons, flag half staffTalking to kids about bad things is difficult for parents, especially as we grapple ourselves to find meaning in the meaningless, the horrific.

Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are.” Angels among us, it’s so true.

Can we find a silver lining amidst these horrors?

I am always an optimist and am continually warmed by humanity and the generous, boundless, selfless outpourings of love and kindnesses in the face of terror and disaster. We saw it in Boston, in Newtown, in New York, in Haiti, in Sandy, in Katrina, in Texas ….

How do we find our own center to be able to talk to our kids about bad things? How is it possible to make sense of something that makes no sense? And that’s where I start with my kids.

Keeping their ages in mind is always important and knowing their personalities to be able to gauge what they are able to hear and what they need to hear.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I parent from a place of truthfulness and openness with my kids: about where babies come from, about sex and about bad things. They see me cry, I explain; I share my emotions and disbelief, my grief and my anger. I believe in answering kids tough questions head-on and honestly. But also age-appropriately.

Children’s Tough Questions

May 23, 2012

tough questions from kids, questions kids ask, how to answer kids questionsEver been stumped by your child’s tough question? Yeah, me too!
Children are naturally inquisitive and down and dirty scientists. My son has explored critters under stones, built himself a zip line between two trees (it really works after multiple variations and attempts) and even sleuthed out what kind of animal skull he found in the woods. A question lurks and a kid asks it, there’s no editing or second guessing like an adult might do.

I remember as a kid, I was impressed that whenever I was at my friend Bene’s, house, if a question or disagreement arose, the family went to the set of encyclopedias and immediately sought the answers. I loved that it didn’t float out there unanswered, I loved that we could hope to satisfy that curiosity. Kids want to know.

Today, the internet provides us an even greater tool to help give our children the accurate answers they crave immediately. As parents, we get to read and learn something new ourselves and then help to break it down and explain it to our children at an age-appropriate level. An inquiry by a kindergartener can be answered with pictures and simpler phrasing while a teen’s question can become an in-depth discussion or the spark for their next school project.

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