Aren’t kids adorable? They bring a refreshing burst of energy everywhere they go, light up even the dullest of days and smother you with such boundless affection that you can’t help but smile. They are also extremely inquisitive, with minds constantly ticking with questions about everything around them. At times, however, your child’s curiosity can put you in a tight spot. When at a busy supermarket, your little one points towards a pregnant woman and questions you about why her belly is “so large”, you wish that the forces above could undo what happened. When one evening, at the dinner table, your child sticks up his middle finger and asks you and your partner what it means, you both stare at him, open-mouthed. It’s natural to experience such awkward instances with your child, but tactfully handling them is what truly matters. Here are five ideal ways to deal with your kid’s awkward questions:
- Don’t Get Flustered And Don’t Avoid The Questions – This is probably the area where most parents go wrong. Whenever your child asks you a question you’d rather not answer, your first instinct might be to ignore it, but you shouldn’t. Stay calm, collect your thoughts and answer the question, instead of avoiding it. The more you avoid your child’s question, the more curious he will get to find out about it through other sources. So if your child asks you about sex, instead of changing the topic or staying mum, tell him that it is a way two full grown adults express their love to each other.
- Make Sure Your Answers Are Age-Appropriate – Though you must choose to answer your child’s questions, no matter how awkward they may be, remember that your answers should be as crisp and age-appropriate as possible. Giving your preschooler, full-fledged details about the birds and the bees may not be the best way to tackle his question about how babies are born. Limit your answers to your child’s level of understanding and prepare yourself for answering follow-up questions as well.
- Be Factual – Often, parents follow the tactic of building fanciful stories around awkward questions that their kids ask them, especially about sex. Doing so will only make things more awkward for you when your child learns the truth from another source and confronts you about it later. Try to be honest with your child about the questions he asks you and filter the fine details that you think are inappropriate or irrelevant for your child to know, depending on his age and maturity levels.
- Deal With The Questions As Objectively As Possible – There may be times when your child might hit the wrong note and make you emotional, but ensure that you keep your answers as objective as possible. For example, if your child asks you why you live in a smaller house as compared to his friends, instead of snapping back at him, calmly make him understand that everyone works hard to earn a living for themselves and their families. Everyone may not earn the same amount of money, but money isn’t everything. Let him know that it’s how honest, hardworking and good a person you are that matters at the end of the day.
- Supplement The Questions With Appropriate Reading Material – If your child is always on a quest to learn more about things, don’t stifle his interests. Surround him with ample appropriate reading material to fuel his learning. For example, if your child has questions about the elderly and why they are weak and wrinkly, offer him reading material that positively portrays the aged. Similarly, if your child is inquisitive to learn about why people’s skin and hair colors are so different, give him books on diversity and ethnicity.
Every child goes through a stage when he tries to figure out things around him, and you are his best and most reliable source of information. Don’t be embarrassed by it. In fact, appreciate the fact that he is so observant and is always on a quest to learn. It is, however, important you teach your child that there is an appropriate time and place for such questions and that, he may end up hurting people involuntarily, by them. Hope these tips equip you to handle the difficult questions your child throws at you, better, henceforth.