I love the fact that my son is so inquisitive and feels comfortable asking me anything. There are certain topics though that can be uncomfortable for many reasons. Perhaps we as parents might not know the answers or maybe we don’t want to face these questions in our own minds. The other day, my 5-year-old asked me when he was going to die. My initial reaction was to tell him to never talk about that ever again and change the subject, but I was able to think quickly and provide him with an answer that I thought made the most sense. I explained that no one knows when they are going to die and therefore we have to live every day being thankful for what we have, loving our families and friends, and being the best person we can possible be. I went on to explain that death is very sad and that I want him to concentrate on happy thoughts, but that I really appreciated him asking me about it since he can always come to me and ask me anything. I wanted to be really careful here because while this subject is not one I really want to think about, I don’t want to discourage my son from speaking his mind, being curious, and asking questions, which is how he learns.
It seems that death is a popular topic in my son’s mind because he also asked me what happens to you when you die, who takes care of you, what you eat, etc. When you think about it, they are all really great questions and to be honest, I’d like to know the answers myself. It’s important to be honest with our children and let them know we don’t always have the answers because there may not be one particular right or wrong one. A really good way to get them thinking is to answer their question with a question and ask what they think the answers are. This way they form their own conclusions. Of course if your religion dictates some of these answers regarding death, it’s a great time to educate them on their faith and beliefs.
However you choose to handle tough questions like death, I believe it’s important to be open-minded, and not shut your children down, simply because you don’t feel comfortable with the topic. Open communication starts very young and if we can promote positive discussions now and let our children know we are here to listen, they will approach us as they grow and ponder more mature issues like drugs, bullying, sex, etc.
What are some topics and questions your children have approached you with and how did you handle it? Remember, TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD and the more we share, the more we learn!
Thanks for reading!