Things Important To Parents That Young Kids Don't Need To Know About
Find out what young kids don't need to know about and why it's better to keep mum about certain topics.
Would you tell your young kids about shootings that take place in other schools, or about children being kidnapped? How about discussing financial issues in front of them? Are there other things that young kids don’t need to know about?
The following is a general overview of conversations that are better left to the adults in your life. These are things that young children cannot a) comprehend; b) do anything about; c) benefit from if they know about them.
Terrorism and catastrophic events
First off, young kids don’t need to know about acts of terrorism and/or violence such a massacre. Things like these should not be discussed in detail with small children 10 and under.
Ask yourself — what can your child possibly do about the situation? How will knowing what happened help them? It won’t. Hearing such things will only serve to scare them and possibly cause separation anxiety.
Children over the age of 10 will likely hear the news or hear others talking about such events. It is important that they hear the truth about the matter from you, and that you answer any and all questions they may have.
Family financial woes
Unemployment, mortgage woes, credit card debt… these should NEVER be discussed in front of your children when they are still little.
First of all, they did nothing to cause the aforementioned problem(s).
Secondly, hearing about these things may be unsettling and frightening for young kids. Children may conjure up the worst-case scenarios in their minds — causing anxiety, inability to focus, acting out aggressively or severe withdrawal.
If big changes need to be made, decide what these changes will be before telling your children. Then, present the news as positively as possible and assure them that while some things may be changing, being together and loving each other as a family never will.
If you have teens in your household, it is perfectly acceptable to enlist their help in specific ways, such as getting a weekend job or cutting back on their cell phone plan, etc.
If your kids come into your bedroom at an inopportune time, there is no need for any other explanation than “Daddy is tickling Mummy” or “Daddy and Mummy are playing grown-up games.” Your young kids don’t need to know what you’re doing as husband and wife in exact detail — save that talk for when they are a bit older.
On a related note, for older children who will likely have some idea of what they walked in on, tell them that you’ll talk to them about it later. Always use age-appropriate language when you do so.
“Soccer (or whatever your child is into) is definitely not your thing”
Kids are under a tremendous amount of pressure from society in general, their peers and even possibly you, to excel athletically. But let’s face it…some kids aren’t meant to be athletes or some kids may be great at one sport but a whole lot less than great at others.
So where does that leave you, as a parent? You don’t want your child to be embarrassed on the field or on the court. You don’t want other people whispering about them about how badly they may be doing while they’re playing the game.
If it is obvious that your child is really bad at something, you first need to determine how they feel about what they are doing. If they don’t like the activity anyway, then the problem is solved — stop participating in it and move on to something else.
If, on the other hand, your child is happy and doesn’t see their ‘lack of skill’ in that certain sport or activity, you need to either leave it alone and hope they tire of the activity or develop their skills, OR take the time to help them hone their skills by working with them one on one. You might even want to consider asking a teenager or trusted family member or friend to lend a hand.
It is acceptable and advisable to let your child know that he gets an ‘A’ for effort but needs to work on their skills. Allowing our children to have a false sense of accomplishment is just as wrong as telling them that they are hopeless.
When I was young…
Your past can serve your children well in teaching them life lessons and in communicating with your tween and teenager. However, you need to be honest when you do so — kids can tell when you are lying to them.
Whatever you choose to share with your kids, make sure it is age-appropriate, and that your main objective is to help them navigate their own lives.
For example, if they have just undergone an embarrassing experience, you might share with them one of your own experiences in the past:
“I know how you feel. I’ll never forget the day I won the spelling bee. When I went up on stage to get my trophy, I tripped and fell. My head started bleeding and I started crying. It was so embarrassing. But hey, anyone else would have cried, too. By the end of the week no one was even thinking about it.”
Remember who you’re talking to
To end, it’s always best to remember that young children are generally very literal and simplistic. That’s why it is important that you keep your conversations with them literal, simple and as ‘innocent’ as possible.
As children grow and mature though, parents would also want to explain specific situations to them as needed. Of course, the key is to keep everything age-appropriate.
What do you think are the topics or situations young kids don’t need to know about? Let us know by leaving a comment!