Parents are always trying to figure out how to answer their child’s tough questions. They worry about the perfect time, place, and way to approach these topics.
The truth is that there isn’t a right or wrong way. There are just different ways of thinking about it.
This blog post will give you 10 tips for answering your child’s most challenging questions honestly and straightforwardly so that they can understand!
Make sure your child is old enough to understand the topic.
It might be better to hold off on some topics until they are older or have a more mature understanding of them. For example, you might not want to have a conversation about sex until they are in the double digits. Make sure they can handle it before bringing up the subject. There’s no need for an awkward conversation when they aren’t ready!
Remember that children develop differently and at different speeds. Just because your friend’s child understood it doesn’t mean yours will be ready for this topic, too.
Don’t forget that kids change as they grow! What they are ready for now may not be what they will be prepared for later.
It is important to remember that you know your child best and can judge when they are prepared or not! There are many topics that parents choose to avoid entirely, like religion, politics, and death. While these subjects seem simple enough to understand on the surface, you don’t know what kind of impact they can have on your child when you introduce them.
And last but not least, you’ve got to respect your child’s privacy! Sometimes they just don’t want to talk about it. Don’t question them or force the conversation; instead, let them lead the way and guide the discussion in a safe direction for both of you.
Make sure you understand the question.
Before giving them an answer, ensure you fully understand your child’s question and how they feel about it.
Don’t just give a quick response because that’s easy! Take some time to try to get into their head and figure out where they’re coming from. If you don’t understand their question, it will be that much harder to give them a proper answer. You may even end up saying something that hurts your child’s feelings or makes them feel confused about the subject.
You’d be surprised just how many parents have been asked tough questions and didn’t respond appropriately because they weren’t sure what they were really asking!
This is a prevalent problem when dealing with kids’ delicate subjects. So make sure to take some time before answering so you can get it right for both of you! It might help to ask clarifying questions to understand better what they are trying to ask or figure out about this topic. Sometimes giving an example of another situation with a problem can help you determine how to answer them.
Sometimes they just need someone they trust and know who loves them unconditionally in their corner for support when dealing with tough issues. Instead of giving an immediate answer or solution, make sure you let them know it’s okay to feel the way they do about this topic so far. Letting go will allow your child to express themselves more honestly than if you were focused on making sure all their questions are answered right away!
Parents often underestimate the clarity of a child’s question.
It is straightforward to jump to conclusions and think you know what they are asking, but it might not be as simple as it sounds!
If you have any doubt about the question, ask them straight up for clarification on their terms or phrasing. If there’s still some confusion, you can ask them to rephrase it or break the question into smaller parts that are easier for you, as an adult, to understand. Ask them to give additional details if needed.
To adequately address questions from our children, we must first understand those questions clearly. By clarifying with more information from your little one, you can better prepare yourself for a meaningful conversation that will leave both parties with the outcome.
Answer the question honestly and age-appropriately.
Many parents struggle to answer their child’s tough questions because they feel like they can’t give them an honest answer.
They think it might be too much for them or that the question is simply inappropriate to discuss at all. This can make parents feel like they are not providing their child with adequate support during these moments of confusion and doubt about tough subjects in life!
Children often ask questions because they need more information on something, but how will you ever find out if you don’t know what’s going on? If your kid asks where babies come from, why would you point them towards the stork or an egg? That’s silly! Kids want real answers so tell the truth as best as possible while keeping age-appropriateness in mind.
It might help all of us parents realize what our kids already know so we can better prepare ourselves to answer their questions. If we don’t know what they already know about a subject, we might be better off asking them so we can get the correct information to them!
When they ask questions like “how do I become a grown-up?” or “where does the baby go when the doctor takes it out of my mommy’s tummy?” you know exactly what they are talking about.
That is why we must stop avoiding these tough questions and learn how to answer them more clearly for both parties!
Answer the question honestly. It’s okay if your kid knows something that might be otherwise inappropriate for their age. Just make sure you explain it to them in an appropriate way for where they are developmental!
Don’t give too much information if it’s not necessary for them.
If it’s too much, then just give them the basic details. Don’t confuse your child by saying more than they need to know or giving an answer that doesn’t make sense for their age level.
If the question was, “where does the baby go when it comes out of mommy’s tummy?” then an appropriate answer would be that “the doctor takes the baby out of mommy’s tummy, and then it is taken to a special place where they take care of babies. You can also say that the baby goes home with you!”
Answer their question honestly while keeping age-appropriateness in mind.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, try finding out about what they already know first!
Be open to your child’s follow-up questions.
If you take the time to answer something that they are wondering about, chances are they will have more! They might be curious about other details or ask another question right away because it sounds interesting and relevant to them. They may not even realize how much information is out there until you answer some of their initial questions!
Sometimes children have a simple question, but it leads to another and then even more after that. You can try answering all of them at once or just pick the most important ones for your child’s age level. If you feel like they might need help understanding something, explain it with appropriate terms for their age.
Remember, it is a learning process, and they might not understand everything you say right away if it’s too much or just beyond where they are developmentally at that moment.
In those times when the follow-up questions seem to be going nowhere, but your kids still have more things they want to know about this specific topic, try asking them why these particular details matter so much to them!
It could give you great insight into what interests them most or what concerns they may have at the time.
You can also use this as an opportunity to help guide your child towards making sense of certain complex issues in life by taking a closer look together! If we don’t answer our kid’s questions because we feel like it is too much for them to handle, we might miss out on essential conversations that will help us as parents and children become closer!
Avoiding the tough questions is not going to make your kids feel like you can be trusted. If anything, it makes them wonder what else they should know about but cannot ask because of their fear of getting a lousy answer from you.
Your child wants honest answers so give them within the limits of their age-appropriateness. We must stop avoiding these tough questions and learn how to answer them more clearly, so both parties are satisfied with what they’ve learned about this subject.
Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is answering your child’s tough questions about life. Sometimes you just don’t know the answers, or maybe it feels like there are no answers at all.
Don’t be afraid to say that! The important part is showing them that you’re not ignoring their question and that you’re available to help them find the answer if they want it. Continuing on, don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know or can’t explain it right now. It is entirely okay and understandable not to know everything.
Your child will be relieved to know that you’re not a walking encyclopedia who will always have the answer for them.
If they ask why something happens, don’t just tell them it’s because God said so. Instead, try asking what they think about it and see if their ideas can help fill in some of those gaps where you didn’t have an immediate response! It might open up new discussion points that lead to more interesting information and give your child insight into how much knowledge there is on this topic or any other one they may bring up!
In addition, taking time to explore different perspectives together shows respect towards each other and builds trust between both parties involved. Your kids are going to feel like you’re listening and considering what they have to say when you go out of your way for them in this way. Acknowledge their feelings, too, so that they know you aren’t brushing off their concerns.
Use the correct vocabulary.
Sometimes it can be challenging to talk about certain things with our kids because we don’t know the right way to say what’s on our minds. Make sure you’re using the correct vocabulary for their age level that they can understand.
When you’re not sure of the words, it’s okay to look up synonyms and choose the one that you think is most appropriate for your child’s age level. It may feel like a bit of work at the moment, but it can make all the difference in how your child feels about the conversation.
They’ll start to learn what words are suitable for specific topics and feel safe asking questions if they are curious about something.
Don’t make it more confusing by getting too technical or abstract with your explanation!
It might help to write down some relevant keywords and then explain what they mean in terms of this specific topic at hand. You can also ask their teacher, someone who works in the field of study related to whatever question comes up, or even try googling it yourself if need be!
It may feel hard being so careful about how we word things, but our kids look up to us as parents and want us to have all the answers. Make sure you give gentle guidance when having these tough conversations so you know not only what’s going on but how they can feel about it as well! You might be surprised at the amount of information and insight you gain by taking this extra step.
One of the most critical parts of answering your child’s tough questions with honesty is using language they can understand!
Don’t be afraid to look up some key vocabulary words and explain them in terms that your child can understand. If you’re not sure what level their understanding is at, take a second to ask yourself if this answer will fly for your kids before moving on.
It’s okay if someone has to explain things in multiple ways or go into more detail to follow along better.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
This is a crucial step! It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers or need some guidance from time to time as well, especially when it comes to your kids’ tough questions.
They will respect that you’re trying and doing what they can in this situation. If you’re feeling stuck and don’t know how to answer their questions, it’s totally fine to reach out for help!
There is an endless amount of resources available to you, and it doesn’t hurt to ask for assistance when we need it. It’s the same way we look up information or know what questions to ask if our kids aren’t feeling well, so don’t be shy about doing this with answers that might not come as easy!
Remember that everyone has a different perspective on things which can help get multiple points of view from your child.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Your kids will respect that you’re trying and won’t be afraid to come to you in the future with tough questions!
You might find support from other parents as well, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance every once in a while! Just because someone doesn’t always have perfect answers either doesn’t mean they aren’t knowledgeable on certain topics.
We are all learning through our journey as parents. That is why having these conversations is such an important part of parenting – when having tough conversations with your child – reach out for help when you’re stuck!
Practice makes perfect.
Even if you’re unsure how to answer your child’s tough questions, trying is the best thing we can do!
Practice with them whenever possible and develop a couple of different ways to respond so they know what works for their age level.
It might feel very awkward at first, but it will get easier as time goes on, especially when our kids see that we are still learning together.
You could even find opportunities where this comes naturally by talking about difficult topics in current events or reading books related to these types of issues as well. It may take some practice before getting it right but don’t give up! Your kids have faith in us no matter what happens, which is why being open and honest will go a long way in the end.
Remember that everyone has different views on things which can help you come up with your own responses.
You don’t have to be perfect, just practice together when possible! It’s never easy bringing up these tough questions, but our kids still love us no matter what happens.
Practice makes perfect, so keep at it if this is important to you! Everyone learns differently, so find out how your child best comprehends information and try coming up with some answers ahead of time for the next time they need help.
This might take some work but having more than one response ready goes a long way in answering their toughest questions!
They will be okay.
Don’t worry about the outcome of what you say! This is such a huge part of parenting because we want to make sure our kids are safe and feel loved through it all, but they don’t need us worrying or freaking out if we can help it.
It’s hard not having all the answers right away, especially when their questions get into sensitive topics, but try your best to stay positive throughout these conversations. You might find that you end up knowing more than you thought over time, too, which puts everyone at ease during tough times like this one.
Your child needs reassurance that they are always taken care of no matter what happens in life!
That way, they know that even though it’s hard for us to answer their questions, we will be there through it all! Just because you don’t have the perfect response at first doesn’t mean that they won’t know how much you care about them and understand what they’re going through.
They will be okay as long as we communicate with them from the heart, which is why this type of conversation is so important in parenting!
Don’t worry if things feel a little off – your kids love knowing that even though these tough conversations aren’t easy sometimes, our faith in them never wavers.
They may not know what is going on all the time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t loved unconditionally!
Ask your kids about their thoughts.
Don’t be afraid to ask your kids about their thoughts! This goes along with practicing and reaching out for help, but we mustn’t forget our kids are still learning!
Even though you might know more about some topics than your child does, they will have their own thoughts on the matter, which is great to hear. Sometimes this can be eye-opening and change things up even if you thought you had everything figured out already.
It’s an excellent opportunity to learn from each other and understand one another as human beings.
If you have any questions about your child’s thoughts, try asking them instead of making assumptions! This might be a little difficult at first, but the best way to learn is by asking and practicing together!
Your kids will love you for wanting to understand their thoughts instead of just telling them what they should think. It doesn’t always have to be perfect; we can all continue learning from one another, even when it comes down to some tricky topics.
Kids are the most extraordinary humans around because they love us unconditionally, even if we don’t have all of the answers. We can still be great parents by being open and honest about these topics, so our children feel loved every step of the way!
Remember not to give up – it gets easier with practice, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Keep trying no matter what happens, and your kids will thank you in the end!
How are you answering your child’s most challenging questions? What are some tips that have worked for you in the past? Comment below and let us know!
Brenda Tillman is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner, a dedicated mom blogger, and a life enthusiast. She also has completed courses on Parenting Skills, Learning, and Education. She is married and is the proud mother of a boy and two girls. She loves being with her family and pets. She has been blogging for over five years now and enjoys sharing her thoughts on parenting, relationships, health & fitness as well as other topics that come up in life.