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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Dear parents, here are 5 uncomfortable questions kids ask, and how to handle them

From questions around sex to those about death, children are forever looking for answers. Here are a some common but tough questions children ask, and how to deal with them.

sex-and-relationships Updated: Nov 02, 2017 08:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Never scold a child for asking something that’s considered taboo in the society.
Never scold a child for asking something that’s considered taboo in the society.(Shutterstock)

Children are curious creatures. They’ll want to know everything from why the sky is blue to how birds fly. As long the questions are moored in scientific facts and logic, parents find it easy to answer them. Things get awkward, however, when the little ones wants to know about taboo topics. Seema Hingorrany, a Mumbai-based clinical psychologist, outlines a few questions children tend to ask their parents, and how parents should respond:

1) Where did I come from?

This is a question kids typically ask around the age of 9. Many parents have told their kids that they were in the mother’s stomach, so now they want to know how they ended up there. At such times, parents should not feel shy, fumble or avoid eye contact –- it makes the child uncomfortable. Most importantly, parents should not scold the child for asking this. Instead, give a clear answer. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean being explicit. You can say, ‘When two people are in love and they come together, they have a child’. And then you can go on to explain how eggs and sperm work. These days, there are many helpful story books available which explain how reproduction works. This will satiate the child’s curiosity.

2) What happens if anyone touches me?

It’s crucial to explain the concept of good touch and bad touch to your kids. Never make blanket statements like, ‘Don’t let that cook/uncle touch you’. Educate them about their private parts and let them know that those parts can only be touched by their parents while bathing them, and when they are old enough to bathe, then not even the parents.

Make the child feel comfortable during a difficult conversation.
Make the child feel comfortable during a difficult conversation. ( Shutterstock )

3) Is it okay if I feel like touching myself?

Many kids, including girls, approach their parents and say that they feel like rubbing or touching themselves. If this happens, parents should not say that this is wrong. Talk to them, and reassure the child that this is normal. If your child fears you, then they might become obsessed with it or turn to the internet for information, neither of which is healthy.

4) Is stealing wrong?

If your child approaches you saying they have stolen something, understand why they felt the urge to. Often kids are just curious about the concept of stealing. Ask them if you didn’t provide sufficient money, and whether they need more for that bottle of coke or bag of chips. Give them pocket money or a piggy bank.

5) Where do you go after you die?

Children often ask this question after a grandparent’s death. You can respond by talking about the concept of heaven, or afterlife, or a higher power, whatever is in align with your religious or spiritual belief. Mostly, kids are just scared that their parents will also die. Gently let them know that death is inevitable, but also comfort them by saying that there many decades to go. If the child asks, ‘Will I also die?’, don’t lie. Giving your kids true facts is always the best option.

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First Published: Nov 02, 2017 08:52 IST

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