I have two very inquisitive boys… they ALWAYS ask tons of questions. I know that this is true for most kids (I think most people do) but because I am around children all through the school year, I know that they can truly present us with all types of questions, for better and for worse. I mean, the kids in my classroom ask questions literally 24/7 and, as hard as it is sometimes, I always foster and encourage it. It’s funny to me when parents with babies say, “I can’t wait until little Margo starts speaking” and then when their child does begin to speak, they want their little one to stay quiet. Is that really fair? I am NOT perfect but I do try to encourage questions and give answers as best as I can.
Just recently, my little one was asking for my father and inquiring about heaven and death. While it’s hard to answer and it chokes me up, I try my best. I was saddened the other day when I saw on the internet that a little boy was not permitted to reenter a donut shop because he asked the woman who worked there if she was pregnant. What has happened with our society? Did they really have to ban him from the donut shop? The lady could have taken an entirely different approach to this. As parents, we DO NOT know the types of questions our children are going to ask and they think pretty much anything is fair game. Their innocent minds don’t understand what it means to offend someone so why should they be penalized and punished for asking a question?!
As a parent, I immediately thought the lady was embarrassed because apparently she looked pregnant and was possibly overweight so she felt offended. If I were that boy’s parent, I would have taken the time at that moment to speak to the child and tell him that she wasn’t pregnant and that we don’t typically ask people that question since it might upset them. If she looked pregnant because of an illness, she could have had a discussion with a child who was curious enough to ask. As that child’s mother, I would have asked to speak to the woman, of course apologized but explaining to her there is a way to address children and NOT allowing him to go back into the donut shop was unfair.
Just the other day my son asked my brother-in-law’s girlfriend if she was the mother of our nephew. She responded back, “no,” but then I took the time to explain to him the real situation. I wanted him to understand that NOT all families are like ours. Not all Mami’s and Daddies live together. He seemed very surprised and I am glad we had that discussion because he needs to understand and know the answers as well. Once the questions arise, I don’t sugar coat them or throw them under the rug, we have a discussion.
The next time your child asks you or someone else a question, try to take the time to respond and explain as best you can. The world would be a better place if we all understood one another, but if we nurture our children with the answers they need to the burning questions that they have… We’ll at least have a good start.
Care to share: Do you encourage your child to ask questions? Which do you deem to be “off limits”?