When your kid asks you uncomfortable questions about money, sex, etc…

Little white lies are great. They save us from answering complex questions when our kids are young (age group 3-7).  I prayed for a child and God gave you to me, or propagate simple, harmless traditions – think Santa and Tooth Fairy. But when your kids are growing older, their comprehensions expanding like the Universe, it makes no sense to lie to them, harmless or not. Here are a few hard situations that will likely come up. And what you can tell them without skirting the truth.

1. Money 

As a child, I was told this was not any of my business to ask or know about. I neither knew how expensive anything was, nor had to care. I got what I asked for, as long as it was within means for my parents. But as a parent, I realize that it makes more sense to explain to my 4-year-old that things are linked. We need money to pay for things and I need a job to earn that money. And so when he grows up and needs something, yada yada yada. My son now knows when I say that something is too expensive, he knows not to throw tantrums and beg for it, that it is truly beyond my means at the moment. On the flip side, he now urges me to work hard so I can afford that crazy priced Gemini Jets Airport.

2. Death

I was real young when I lost one of my grandparents. And I’m glad my parents took the effort to make me understand what had happened. That they were no longer “alive”, but I would always have the memories with them to cherish. Hiding it from kids only poses more questions. The passing of a pet is a good time to explain about death briefly. What’s better is to explain it briefly when acquiring one. We are likely to outlive the pet.

3. Sex

 Sex is sacred to my marriage. And I don’t shy away from letting my kid know that mommy and daddy need “alone” time. We are openly affectionate with each other. My son has just learned the word “husband”. And he innocently asked me once if he was my husband. I took the opportunity to explain what that meant. And that when he was a big guy like Daddy, he would have a relationship with someone special too. Forget sex for a moment. With development comes sexual urges. And in the very young, it just manifests as penis grabbing. We’ve taught our son that it’s perfectly normal to want to grab it but it’s socially not acceptable out of his room, and in the presence of others.

4. Alcohol

I enjoy a glass of wine in the weekends. My husband has his beer. Our son knows that these drinks are “adult” drinks and are out of bounds to him. He can do  cheers with us with his apple juice. But this is an age appropriate thing. For teenagers, it might make more sense to go in to the harmful effects of addiction, explaining the chemical processes resulting from the use of drugs and alcohol. Additionally, explaining that age criteria exist for a reason and respecting one’s boundaries is important.

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Related – I enjoy a drink. Is that a bad example for my kids?

5. “How do I look?”

I think we, as parents should be honest when our child comes up and asks how they look. No, I don’t mean negative and say something mean like You look like a dumpling in that crop top but something more along the lines of – I don’t totally love it. Maybe you could pair it with a high waist skirt? Similarly, encourage your kids to give you an opinion of your look. Be prepared to hear the worst. When I changed my hair from days of being in a frumpy bun, my son remarked, “Finally you’re pretty like Kavi aunty!”

6. God

 I am a selective theist for the most part. I believe in a higher power, have greater respect for one God and so on. But I don’t push my religious beliefs on my child. I want this to be one of those things he chooses to believe or not. I was raised to believe. And that worked out for me. But I’d rather be open minded about my son’s choices. If he does ask me the Does God exist question, I want to be able to explain it in terms of a positive force, something that gives us hope. But not beyond.

7. I’m always around – Well, in spirit if not body. I want my son to know that he can trust me 100% with any sort of information, all sorts of confessions and know that I will hear him out and understand, if not support all of his decisions. Without trust, what is there?

This is my take. Do you disagree? Comment away.

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