23 Tough Questions That Leave Parents Stumped - And How To Answer Them
Do you know how to answer when your child asks "Where do babies come from?"
Does it seem like your child has a question about everything? Kids are wonderfully curious by nature and they get more curious in time—which is why they can express their thoughts and ask you everything: from the meaning of life to whether Santa is real. In fact, researchers found that children can ask up to 73 questions daily! No wonder parents have a hard time answering kids toughest questions!
A study among 1,500 parents found that children ask their parents questions from as early as 6am. And it didn’t stop until the moment they fell asleep around 8pm! Results further stated that fathers were subjected to more questions than mothers, who fielded 413 questions on a weekly basis. Nearly half (46%) of parents felt their children learned to ask these questions from other kids. But while this may sound exhausting—and it is, according to 1/3 of the surveyed parents—four in ten parents also said that their children’s questions indicated innate curiosity about the world and sparked pride.
Remember the moment your newborn came into the world? In the following months, you cherish all of their cooing and moments of innocent bliss. But your kids grow so quickly into smart, beautiful, athletic little people! And while many of us wish we can savour that time again of their early childhood, we can’t help but just allow them to understand the world and develop their ability to ask hard questions—even thought it might catch us off guard!
Your children look up to their parents as the supers of the world. Mummy, you’re Wonder Woman to your little one! And daddy is the strongest dad in the whole universe. But every parent will have to face these difficult questions at some point of their parenthood. As your child grows up and learns more about the world, it’s natural he will wonder about these things, or at least hear about it from other kids. Some of the toughest questions many parents have to answer include:
- How are babies made?
- Why do people die?
- How big is the world?
- Why does mummy and daddy fight?
- Why can’t I play all day?
- Why do I have to go to school?
- Why is the other kid’s skin colour different than mine?
- What is God?
- Is Santa Clause Real?
- Why can’t I stay up as late as you?
- Why is the sky blue?
- Where does water come from?
- Why is the sea salty?
- Why do we have a leap year?
- How do birds fly?
- What is time?
- What does “we can’t afford it” mean?
- When you die who will I live with?
- What is a prime number?
- How big is the world?
- What makes thunder?
- Why are people mean to each other?
- What are black holes?
If you’ve already been asked any one of these questions, then you’ll know how mind-boggling it can be to come up with an answer on the spot! After all, your kids don’t need a reason and will often ask these types of questions out of the blue. This can lead you being caught like a deer in headlights. But don’t worry, there are ways to approach this to show your little one unconditional love and still give a satisfactory answer (for now!)
You don’t have to be an astronomer or have encyclopedic knowledge. After all, it’s impossible to know the actual answers to all of these questions! But you can continue to stimulate your child’s curiosity and satisfy his thirst for knowledge by answering factually and not trying to pull the wool over his eyes. It’s also worth noting that there is usually an underlying motive that goes beyond simply being inquisitive. Sometimes your little one is worried about the implications being separated from his parents or letting them down.
So what can you do when answering kids toughest questions?
The first thing you can do is to expect to be interrogated by your children! While we’re not suggesting you constantly remain on edge, just bear in mind your little one can ask one of the above questions at any point! And if you’re aware of the possibility, it takes away some of the uncertainty and anxiety.
If your child springs forth with his question, explore with him what he means and have a discussion. Avoid keeping quiet as you try and figure out the perfect answer. By staying silent, it implies your little one asked a bad question. Instead, treat these questions as opportunities to understand what’s going on in your child’s active mind. You will land at a satisfactory conclusion through a process of deduction. And hey, he’ll probably be reminding you he knows everything before too long!
While you can’t possibly know everything about anything, it’s useful to stay clued up around common topics. This can include tough subjects like sex, relationships, death, gender identity, and war amongst many other things!
To be better prepared, start reading books on these topics and look through resources to have a better understanding. You’ll be more prepared to answer and know how to answer with simpler explanations. It also gives you an opportunity to make sure he gets a factually correct answer, which isn’t guaranteed if he asks from a different source like his friends at school.
It can be scary when your little one starts asking questions about mortality. However, it’s more likely that your child is concerned about your safety and if anything will happen to his parents. The morbid questions have probably gotten him worried as he considers the possibilities of natural disasters affecting his family.
Having an absolutely correct answer can be tough, as the sad reality is that death comes to us all. And in the event of things like natural disasters, these can be out of our control. Communicate your love for your child and tell him that he will always be loved and taken care of.
It can be frustrating for both you and your child when he questions the family’s financial status and fiscal values. “Why does Timmy get that toy?” or “Why do I never get to buy X?” This is expected since kids get bored with things very quickly. While their attention span on any one activity lasts up to 15 minutes, your kids still look for something new and exciting to stimulate their minds.
This can be a good opportunity for you to reaffirm your family values. You can explain that you choose to spend your time and money on things that are important to you. Minimise responses that raise insecurities, like “we don’t have enough money”. General answers can seed doubt into your child’s mind about whether the family is financially secure. While he won’t know the ins and outs of the situation, he will carry this doubt with him in future situations and remain anxious.
Your child might ask you a question that can shock you. It could be the nature of the question, like sex, violence, drugs, or alcohol. He might even swear without knowing what it means. Remember to keep calm when you respond. If the topic is too raw for you, ask your partner to chat with your child or compromise and explain that it’s a topic for discussion another time.
If time and space allow, use toys or drawing to explain big and complex ideas. Using familiar items help a child’s understanding when discussing difficult ideas. It also stimulates his imagination and gets the creative juices flowing.
Children’s questions are seemingly endless, fueled by an insatiable curiosity. Many parents can be left scratching their heads and just outright tired of the apparent interrogation! But know that your child loves learning and most of all, loves you! Many of the questions are also there because they care about you, and it’s his way of seeking reassurance. Follow these tips to be better prepared the next time your child asks you about the meaning of life, or something similar!
References: The Independent