Why the tough questions are the good ones…

My kids have been throwing some pretty tough questions at me lately – along the lines of “Who created God?” and “But how did I get in your tummy?” And while I will admit to doing my fair share of question-dodging at times, I have found that these tough questions are usually the ones that not only bring our family closer, but also make me feel stronger about what I believe.

The cool thing about having four kids is that whenever someone throws out a question, someone else always has an answer. And while that answer may not necessarily be correct, it can 1) give me time to think about how I want to phrase my answer to the question or 2) completely throw everyone so far off topic that I end up having a few days before the original question circles back around again.

Answering children’s questions is almost a science – it’s really challenging to know when to say what, how much to leave out, and when to stop talking. Again, when my kiddos launch a zinger at me, I almost always have another child chiming in with their take on it. Then, I listen to see how the original “questioner” responds to that. This usually gives me a little insight into the level of complexity I need to use in answering the question.

Another thing I’ve been trying lately: answer a question with a question. Annoying to adults, maybe, but kids love it! “Well, what do you think about that?” is an excellent conversation starter that often tells you how much they know and what they want to know.

One more technique: delay. When I’m tucking my kids in at night, they love to throw the tough ones at me (which I’m pretty sure is just their own delay tactic), and since I know that no pressing life situation is likely to arise while they are asleep, I feel completely okay telling them that we can discuss their excellent question in the morning. This also works any time of the day – you can compliment them on their inquisitiveness and let them know that you really take their questions seriously and want to spend some time thinking about it so that you can give them your best answer.

As I mentioned, answering these questions is one of the toughest and most important challenges of parenthood. But talking with your kids – even if you don’t know all of the answers right off the bat – is the best way to keep your family close and your children armed with correct information! How do you tackle the tough ones?

They always look to us to have all the answers…

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