Answering A Child's Hard Questions
A lot of parents fear the time when their children begin asking questions that are difficult or emotionally hard to answer. But you don't have to fear this if you are prepared ahead of time. I know it's easier to run from the idea, bury your head in the sand, and pretend it will never happen. But it does, and I have dealt with many unprepared young adults who get themselves into troublesome situations because their parents were uncomfortable and unprepared to answer their questions earlier in their lives.
So here are some simple steps to take to get ahead of this game.
1. Sit and write a list of the questions you know are coming. I would start this when your child is two or three because the questions sometimes come earlier than you think they will.
Some of these subjects are:
a ) where do people go when they die and what does it feel like?
b ) where do babies come from?
c ) how do you know God is real?
d) why do you go to church?
e ) what do you think about drugs drinking alcohol or premarital sex?
2. Do some practical research. Your answers need to be factual and unemotional but don't overwork the statistics. For example, the reason why I am against premarital sex involves the chances of acquiring STDs and HIV, having to deal with a pregnancy you aren't equipped to handle, and a loss of trust as you learn that each of you will sacrifice what is right and protective in order to get what is pleasurable which destroys the solid foundation of trust that a long-term relationship is built on. You can also discuss the guilt and loss of self-worth that eventually tears you down as you realize the one who says they love you won't protect you but is only using you. I explain some of the details of what certain STDs do to you, I show the cost of lack of trust as time goes on and the depression that comes from feeling used. You get the idea.
3. Thank your child for asking and assure them no subject is ever off limits with you.
Sometimes you have to initiate the conversation. My granddaughters were ages 9 and 10. I knew that menstrual periods would soon start so their mother and I did a special girls overnight together. We stayed at a hotel, got dressed fancy for a dinner out, and then had an education with drawings that included the body and function of a woman preparing to someday be a mother. Describing the lining of the uterus as a special blanket for a baby to wrap up in as it grows in its mommy's tummy was very special to them. Then if there is no baby the blanket dissolves and flows out of the girl's body. We also practiced using the equipment needed and attention to cleanliness. I also gave each girl a crown with five jewels on it to represent the five crowns the Bible says we can earn. It reminds them that they are daughters of the Great King and true princesses. They are teens now and still fondly talk of that special time together.
Always use proper terminology, not colloquial terms or childish terms. This gives respect to your child and to the importance of this subject.
4. Make sure you actually know what the child is asking. One little boy asked, "Mommy where did I come from?" The mother thought he was quite young but she bravely mustered up her courage and gave the "birds and the bees" explanation. When she was done the little boy was looking at her like she had grown a horn between her eyes he said, "But Mommy, Jimmy came from Texas and Jamie came from New York. Where did I come from?"
Remember a prepared parent and a prepared child reduces a lot of fears and hopefully a lot of damaging mistakes in a child's life.