How do you remain age appropriate when it comes to the questions your children ask? My wife and I grew up in different households where my family wouldn’t just discuss anything on their minds that may have come up at school or during the news day- while my wife’s family would often talk about the latest autopsy photos from the OJ Simpson trial during Thanksgiving dinner. No lie- that was my first Thanksgiving discussion at their home the first year I dated my wife.
So when you have to handle your kids as they grow up asking questions like why your friends are not together anymore in marriage, or how to discuss someone who is sick and going to be dying- or even dreaded questions regarding their changing bodies and functions? Do you try to go based on your own personal experience of life- or are you willing to do the research and then have an open discussion in the car where everyone is trapped and you have nowhere else to go?
My youngest daughter has been asking me questions about why one of my better friends got a divorce from his wife after 10 years of marriage. Knowing the ex-husband for a longer period of time better than the ex-wife, I didn’t feel it was my place to go into exact “he said- she said” details. I tried to keep things generalized and let her know that even though they both still may have feelings for each other, they grew apart and have different ideas of how they want to lead their lives.
I don’t want my children to believe that everything in the world isn’t subject to change. There are times that their minds are very black and white on certain issues and as parents we don’t necessarily discount their opinions- but we do want them to consider all sides of an issue.
There are times that I wish my family had been more open and honest- as I feel like I struggle to communicate my feelings for fear that my opinion isn’t valid or worthwhile. Living in a family with a wife and two daughters, getting my thoughts across to be taken seriously remains a constant challenge.
I just want my daughters to feel free to come to me with any question on their mind- and that if I don’t have the precise answer, at least I can steer them in the right direction. I realize their peers have so much of an influence on what they feel as they don’t want to seem out of place- and yet if they want to hear the correct factual information about difficult subject matter, I hope we’ve established enough trust that they come to us first.
We live in the information age. Book knowledge and internet knowledge are important- but I believe there are some matters of life that are best handled in direct human communication, person to person, face to face. If we don’t know how to ask questions, we may turn down the path of destruction.
A favorite Jim Rohn quote of mine I heard recently from one of his older seminars states, “Put yourself through the paces if the promises are adequate.” My children are well worth the investment, so I’ll stop at anything to give them the best answers to lead their life with hope, care and love.
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