Children are curious about absolutely everything. As they grow and mature, they begin to notice new things, new interactions and new concepts. While there are some universal agreement as to the age appropriateness for certain things, every child is different. It may be difficult to decide what level of honesty you should have with your child regarding various subjects.
For the simple, day-to-day things, honesty opens the doors for learning opportunities. As a child matures, questions begin to fly about “why is the sky blue” and what is involved to you driving a car, among other things we adults tend to take for granted. In this wonderful Information Age, answers to all those questions are at our fingertips. Even places like YouTube can open a whole new world of educational videos for children to find answers to their questions that are at their level of understanding. Instead of always giving a quick answer, which may still be an honest answer, find ways of digging a little further into the answer to give your child a deeper understanding. You may both discover a new hobby or source of interest for your child to pursue on their own.
Heftier issues, such as the death of a pet or a separation between you and your spouse, are a bit more difficult. You, of course, want to be as honest as possible, but some things have a tendency to be misunderstood or twisted where emotional issues are involved. It’s sometimes difficult to not insert some level of emotion into our answers to difficult situations like this, but some level of honesty is a way of consoling them. Always show them that you love them and that they can lean on you for support. Dealing with death in the family, even one of the furry members, is a time where you can grow stronger together when honesty and love are at the core of your interactions.
Honesty with your children regarding more adult issues as they mature into their teen years often causes parents to cringe. However, it’s a necessary passage of life for them to have to learn these things. One very important question to ask yourself is this: Who would you rather them learn this information from, you or their peers? Going from a parental role into one of a friendship as they approach adulthood is a scary step, but it’s made much easier with a good dose of real-world honesty between the two of you. Take a deep breath and connect with them. It’s not a time to lay down the “thou shalls” and “thou shall nots”. Have faith that you’ve guided them this far and the next step is just a continuation of what you’ve already accomplished. Give them all the correct information and trust that they will make the right decision, as well as feel comfortable enough to come to you when questions arise.
It’s easy to forget that our children grow up to become adults of their own, especially when it feels like we just changed their diaper yesterday. The process of maturity is fraught with challenging situations and plenty of challenging questions. Know that you are equipped perfectly to address all of those questions, or at least to work with them in order to find the answers together. The future of your relationship together will flourish with this foundation.
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