5 clever strategies to deal with your kid’s difficult questions

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Some people gett upset when they are unable to answer their kid’s question. Especially if those questions touch an already raw nerve. I met a woman recently who was upset at the status her husband enjoyed in their family. “Well, he is the eldest. He does so much more to the family. Why should his cousin be treated so well by the grandparents while my husband always takes a back seat? I have asked him so many times but my husband always brushes me off. But now my son is growing up and I am unable to answer his questions. This is making me feel so bad.”

There might be some tricky questions your kids are asking you too. And you don’t know how to answer.

Here are some strategies to employ when you encounter this situation.

1. When you can’t /won’t answer a question, just ask a question back:

We assume that all questions must be answered with a proper answer. Not true. Sometimes the best answer to a question, IS a question. Especially when you are in a spot or when you don’t know the answer yourself. “Why do you think daddy is taking a back seat?”, asked in a very inviting body posture and tone is one possible answer to this question. This will encourage the kid to think by himself. He might choose to apply empathy or he might choose to apply logic. Whichever way, he gets more convinced when he finds his own answers. It could also lead to interesting discussions. In addition it will give you time to think up your own answers, instead of shooting whatever comes to your mouth.

2: Encourage your teen to find other sources of answer as well:

You don’t have to be ‘THE’ encyclopedia of all knowledge. Gently pointing your hand to a wiser source, like your husband’s best friend who visits your home frequently, who has the qualifications to serve as a mentor for your child can be a good source. Buying books on relationships and pointing your child to understand relationship dynamics can be a good way to get him started on interpersonal relationships.

3. Separate your issues from your children’s issues:

When kids ask a question, it may not come from the same emotional intensity with which you map it. It could very well be a casual question and will require an answer at that same level. I am sure, in this lady’s case, her husband’s reduced status has been a boiling issue for some time. When you mix up your issues at your level of intensity to a teen’s level, you might be transferring your issues to a still fragile shoulders. You don’t need to unintentionally sow all those emotional complications in a young kid for sure. So keep your answers simple.

4. Acknowledge the emotion while skipping the answer:

Sometimes simply accepting the emotion behind the question is all that the kid needs. “You seem upset that dad is being ignored!” can very well open up an in depth conversation that will help your son pour out the feelings and feel relieved. He might go on to find some solutions. Advising him on the other hand, to take it light, be a sport , and not to be worried might get him to obsess about the problem too much.

5. Don’t sow poison:

“Exactly my point, I have told your dad this so many times but he doesn’t listen. What can I do?” Lamenting like this or in any way communicating your exasperation with your spouse will only turn your kid’s mind toxic. He will start judging and evaluating his father in so many ways which will prove detrimental to a healthy personality development. Growing up, your kids should learn respect for their parents not judgments and evaluations.

So remember, when you can’t/ won’t answer a question, always ask a question back in an inviting way.

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