Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Difficult Questions with No Answer




Explaining to a child that one doesn’t know the answer to a question is difficult.  This child looks up to the trusted adult, one who has answers for nearly every question thought about, and cannot understand this. 

“I don’t know the answer…” is no answer at all, in a child’s opinion.

The old-let’s-find-out-the-answer-together answer doesn’t work in the questions being voiced lately.

Grandma, why did the hurricane hurt so many people? 

What happened in Ben-gaw-zee, Grandma? 
Why did that man shoot people who were watching a movie?

How can we shelter our children from hearing about these events?  How can we protect them?

Answers are scarce in the most difficult questions, but we all hunger for them.


Are there any other answers out there?  How do we help our children with the hard questions?

11 comments:

  1. Sadly with all the connections online and such today, hard to shelter them from hearing about such events. I guess all we can do is choose the best answer to give that we have.

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    1. Even with sheltering them by restricting the TV, the other children at school hear the news and talk about the events. My gr-kids know way too much.

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  2. I don't think it's a good idea to shelter children but our answers to their questions have to be on a level they can understand without scaring them half to death. It's not easy but they deserve an answer.

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    1. They do deserve an answer, explained as simply as possible. Life has gotten more complicated as technology grows.

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  3. Such a good question. Since I have no kids, I thought back to my own childhood and realized how protected I was. We didn't have TV until 1956, when I was 16. So I was free from these horrible images and discussions held on TV. I'm sure I had no idea what they talked about on the radio and I didn't know how to read the daily papers. I'm thinking this must have been a benefit, a pretty huge emotional benefit, for those of us who grew up back then. I remember our greatest fear was getting polio. And that was no small fear as it was common then.

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    1. We had a TV, but it worked off and on. We listened to the radio mostly, but the serious news was not on when we were up.

      Polio was such a horrible threat. I remember it too well. We got our polio vaccinations regularly, but there were older people who suffered from Polio's affects.

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  4. Although we did not have 24 hour news when I was growing up, we did have newspapers and 15 minute news broadcasts. I loved the newspapers and always knew what was going on. My parents also discussed things with us over the dinner table. We were not shielded, but we were not barraged by 24 hour news either. The Cold War was also a frightening time for us all, but I believe it is better to be informed than to be protected from the world as it is. Parents and grandparents are best ones to explain this to the younger generation.

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  5. The hurricane is much easier to answer than Ben-gaw-zee, Grandma.I answer the questions they ask, which can be as simple as "Where did they get the gun" as opposed to "Why did it happen." As extra complex as our world is, it still distills to doing right. Perhaps our simpler childhoods help remind remind us.

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  6. I think the BengawZee one can be answered by the truth that bad people do bad things . I could not explain it beyond that to certain children without them mistrusting that the president is usually a good guy but he made a bad decision this time. It is hard when out trust has been eroded. As for the hurricane, the science of it may be all that will satsfy. Not comfort, but explain that too much water and wind all at once can be deadly.

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  7. I am at the stage where I consulted my children for answers at times, they are 20 and 18. When they were growing up, I do not remember them asking me tough questions, maybe it was not internet time yet, not like today. I am sidetracking, but sometimes they come to me with college questions! And I get, did you really go to college Mom.

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  8. My parents did not even attempt the difficult questions. Instead they told me that 'I was too young to know' or worse that 'I wouldn't understand'. Both of those phrases burned then, and burn now. I think that if they are old enough to ask the question then they are old enough for an answer - even if it is as simple as 'sometimes bad people do bad things' or 'everybody makes mistakes'. One of my great nephews will not go to the beach any longer because he is afraid that the tsunami will get him. Apparently it was discussed in his KINDERGARTEN CLASS. Not discussed very well I believe.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!