Child Psychology and Behaviour

How to deal with difficult questions your child asks

Navneet Bahri
3 to 7 years

Created by Navneet Bahri
Updated on Sep 16, 2015

How to deal with difficult questions your child asks

Darling, why don’t you wear shorts under your frock?
Why, ma?
So that you can be comfortable playing; you will be safe also if you fall and get hurt.

Why do we have hair down under, mom?
They are the natural panties, dear, to give protection to our private parts.

Why do you wear this thing, mama?
It is called a bra, sweetie. It is to protect my chest, as it is very tender and needs protection.
Would I wear it too? When?
You also will need to wear it, when you grow up a bit, say in a few years. We will start with something known as sports bra first, with you. 

Answering the difficult questions
When our little angel’s ask such questions, it is normal to feel completely bowled over, but please do not panic. Remember, you are dealing with it for the first time. These are natural queries, and I believe, you just need to prepare yourself and be as honest (and least descriptive) as possible.

Here are somethings you can try:
1)    Ask yourself these same questions, when your child is not with you? Find your answers, rather than the “right” answer. Share with her, leave some space for questions. Do not hesitate to say “I will share with you when the right time comes” or “I do not know this; can we talk on this tomorrow” (make sure that you do, after the required thought and preparation).

2)    A woman’s body, undoubtedly beautiful, is complicated too. It is, for one reason - we bear children. Our anatomy is based on this very fact. To explain this to our child, in terms that are understandable and least overwhelming, we need to find the correct words – our correct words. We cannot have one formula talk for this. You know your child, her language, what she likes to hear, what gets too much for her…go with your convictions. Make mistakes. Fumble. Accept. 

3)    My personal experience is that children are very intelligent. If they feel that you are getting uncomfortable talking about something or listening to something, they would stop asking you those. Do you want that? Or do you want an open, honest expression of thoughts?

4)    Find the simplest answer, most logical for the child and keep it short. Not “embarrassed” short, but “nothing more to it for now” kind of short. Wait for her queries, and take them head on, if it is the right time; delay, if it is not.

5)    Give her a reason for your answers if you must. For eg: instead of saying
“When you are playing in the park, do not go anywhere else” vs. “when you are playing in the park, please let me know when you are going anywhere else”; Or “No” vs “You cannot do it because…”
           
The other day, my daughter, who is 9, came barging in with her friends, asking for money – they all wanted to buy chips, chocolates etc. I said “no”. for the first time; no reason, just plain “no”…it hurt her, but she went away with her friends to play again. A few hours later, after her evening bath, she asked me again “why did you say no, mama, reason bhi nahin bataya”
That is when I decided to be fully honest with her.
“I cannot pay for everyone kiddo. If you had planned it in a way that everyone was getting their share, I might have agreed. Also, I feel that these days, you do not take “no” for an answer even if I reasonably explain things to you. If you would do that, I will have to deliberately say “no” to you, so that you know that you do not always get what you want. If you want me to be reasonable with you, you also will have to do the same with me.”

6)    Do not be a friend; be a parent, who respects her and is reasonable with her.

Believe me, they understand honest, non-loaded words. Say it as it is. Trust her, and trust your upbringing!

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| Jan 27, 2017

yeh, I agree my daughter is soon to be 8. i encounter such questions now very often but trust me when u answer them sensibly it will definitely satisfy their curiosity for the time. it does develops a new relation between mother and child. They trust u more than any other sources. and yes "I'll explain you when u grow up a little more " does helps.

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| Sep 15, 2016

loved to read it .simple. crisp. clear and to the point.

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| Aug 04, 2016

my daughter is 3 yrs 4months old. she keeps on asking questions continuously. questions looking at TV, books ,school etc. , like why boy jumped ,why aunty is wearing blue saree? why my teacher name is nirosha?. I am becoming impatient answering. How to handle this?

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| Dec 05, 2015

thank you so much for the article. i also have daughter and sometimes i really get confuse to answer her certain awkward questions. i delivered my younger once recently and i answered her that doctor cut my tummy and ur sister was born. but when our cat gave kitten she asked me "mummy how come they came out" and to this i was speechless. uptill now i dont have some convincing answer

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| Oct 22, 2015

Children have a natural development cycle in between 1-15 years. There are critical periods of the development in the children like: 1 year - Physical self 2-3 years -emotional self ( the emotional self develops through genetic programming as well as subconscious absorption of thought energy from external world) 3-6 years -conceptual self - development of language and words to label the world 7-11 years - concrete self (engagement with the material world starts,whatever they see around them,they want to know to build knowledge) 11-15 years- transpersonal self- self thinking emerges from the knowledge they have acquired till this time. They take action based on the knowledge they have acquired. The questions children ask are mostly related to develop these development cycles to build their personality though this happens subconsciously. Its very important to provide them appropriate answers as these answers build deep subconscious memories.

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| Oct 04, 2015

I am a teacher by profession. Children comes up with several questions like why do I let gals rest wen they say something as trivial as their stomach is paining, wat dd the gal say(questions from the boys wen any gal comes and speak in my ears abt they hv started their periods), how are babies born... how do they get into their mom's belly, etc. Cn I get some relevant and child friendly answers for stich questions? My children belong to the group of 7-8 yrs and 10-13yrs of age. I'm looking forward to a rpl as I genuinely nd sm help.

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| Sep 28, 2015

A very apt topic Navneet. My 6 year old is a treasure trove of questions. She will ask questions even when brushing her teeth. There are occasions when the questions may get a little awkward. I try to be honest & keep the answers simple. The points you have put across are great and will prepare any parent to deal with the questions. Thanks.

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| Sep 18, 2015

At times it may not look really important, but this blog by navneet outlines why is it still important for a parent to speak to her child about it.

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