Current Affairs and Your Child. As a parent you watch your children grow from babies to toddlers and you look forward to them growing even further but dread the stage where they begin to ask the tough questions. Unfortunately, tough questions are inevitable and depending on how much your child is exposed to and how close you are to them, they get tougher.
As a result, many times we want our children to remain as innocent kids for the longest time possible and with good reason too. They need to just be kids and enjoy it while it still lasts because we all know this phase flies past. This doesn’t always happen though because one day your child will see all that is going on in the world (whether in the news or from a friend because children these days are exposed to a lot) and they will begin to form attitudes and possibly opinions about it.
Many parents prefer to keep big issues like racism, war, alcoholism, death, bullying, sex and other social issues under wraps because who wants to get into the details with a child? While there is no right age to talk about these issues it is important that one does it early. You will be surprised at how much your child already knows! It would be best if they got the right information and formed judgments based on the moral values you would like for them to have.
Your children will also face these things head-on as they grow older and what better way to prepare them than to have their own (good and actually helpful) ideas that they can contribute to a conversation. Who knows, they could positively impact their circle of friends and you never know how far the ripple effect will go.
Where then should you begin?
Find out what they already know
Sometimes parents worry that their children might know too much of what they shouldn’t at a certain age. Many times however, the information is twisted or half-baked. You should therefore first find out what information they have. Probe gently instead of turning it into an interrogation. Interrogation will defeat the end game because they might feel like they’ve done something wrong and they won’t be as willing to share with you next time.
Plan out the discussion
With reference to what your child told you, plan on what issue you will address first. Put them in an order that will allow you to build the conversation. Bullying, racism or discrimination of any kind, and peer pressure can easily work together. Start from the seemingly simple and work your way towards the tougher topics.
Think about the angle you want the conversation to take so that it can guide your approach. Keep an open mind because you are likely to receive questions that may catch you off guard. It won’t hurt to try and imagine the questions that could come up so that you prepare appropriate answers.
Choose an appropriate time
Timing is everything for such serious discussions. A good time is when you can give your full attention to each other lest you miss something. Bath time, in the kitchen preparing a meal or just comfortably sitting in the living room all work well depending on your preference.
Such conversations tend to have heavy information and it can be tempting to leave out some details. Don’t go down that road because it will come back to bite you. Rather, break it down into a palatable form appropriate for your child and don’t lie about it. You’ll break a sweat but it’s worth it in the long run.
All this information is confusing. It can easily leave your child feeling vulnerable and exposed because it’s all new and they aren’t sure how to deal with it when it arises. Reassure your child of your protection and attention regardless of whatever may be going on. Remind them that you will listen to and support them no matter the problem. They need to know you have their back.
As daunting as it may seem, you can form your children’s worldview from a young age. Don’t let the world do it for you because you may not like it. As the good book says, train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
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