Where Do Babies Come From?

Purposeful Parent Tip: When explaining challenging concepts to children, use a KISS.

As parents, we’ve all heard this question from our young children at one time or another. For some, this question might fill them with panic – what is the right thing to say? Do I tell them the truth? How much detail do I provide?

A similar dilemma has arisen due to the recent tragedy in Newtown CT with parents fumbling over what to say to their children about what happened. Child psychologists have been offering assistance and guidance. Websites and tips for talking to kids are flooding the airwaves and social media channels.

In reviewing this information, I couldn’t help but remember the guidance I received when having to respond to the very simple “Where do babies come from” question. Perhaps it may help some of you too.

1. Keep the child’s age in mind when answering these tough questions. A three year old does not need a biology lesson to learn how babies are made. They just need a simple answer. Their minds can’t comprehend any more and it’s likely they won’t understand it anyway.

2. Answer the question that’s asked and no more. In this age of information overload, don’t fall prey to TMI (too much information) when providing details about something. Children do not need to know about contractions or pain during childbirth. Skip the details.

3. Be ready for the question to be asked again. Don’t assume they are asking becaue they want MORE information. While this may be true in some cases, perhaps they just didn’t understand your initial response. Kids take time to process information and assimilate it. As the new questions arise, answer them, keeping the above tips in mind.

Many parents want their kids to know the truth – full disclosure so they won’t be afraid or confused. However, providing more information than a child can understand may provoke the same fear and confusion you were trying to avoid.

My children are 15 and 11. I spoke to each of them differently about the Newtown CT events. Each wanted to know different pieces of information. Each had their own way of dealing with it. You know your child. Pay attention to that relationship and don’t succumb to the pressures of society to tell your kids everything. I’ve heard from parents who have done this and now their child is afraid to go to school or is having nightmares. That was not their intention.

I always invoke the K.I.S.S. concept when speaking to my children about difficult topics. Keep It Simple, Silly. I think this approach will be helpful to all parents as we work through this event and start the healing process.

And while you are utilizing the K.I.S.S. concept, don’t forget the most important step at the end of your conversation.

Kiss your child and tell them you love them.

 

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