Answering Your Child's Tough Questions
Every parent grapples with the best way to respond to those difficult questions that inevitably pop up as children get older. It is often hard to develop an explanation that will provide accurate information and be appropriate to your child's age and maturity level. And let's face it, sometimes certain questions are just plain uncomfortable.
Yet parents are the best resource a child has. Experts agree that developing an established pattern of open communication right from the start can give your son or daughter a healthy base of security and the ability to make sound decisions in the future. But, if parents communicate the message that "you can't talk to me about that," children will seek their answers elsewhere.
There is no magic answer for every question your son or daughter asks. But, here are some guidelines that can help you address these questions with confidence.
Establish a habit of open communication at the beginning of your child's life. Even before she can properly phrase a question, explain things to her constantly. Simply hearing language encourages vocabulary and communication. Children's first questions often consist of a couple of words. Instead of responding with a simple yes or no, respond with an explanation using full sentences.
For example, in response to the question "Go bye-bye?" you might say, "Yes, it's time to go to the store. We need to pick up some food for dinner. Do you want to help mommy?" Frequent dialogue throughout these formative years will encourage healthy communication patterns. In addition, children learn that parents are a resource for having their questions answered.
Last reviewedOctober 2013by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.