Being a parent certainly has its moments. All you can hope for is that the good ones outweigh the bad.
Now, when it comes to teaching your kids all sorts of life lessons (fire = bad!), some are easier than others. A quick slap on the wrist and a loud "NO!" will suffice when your 3-year-old tries shoving a fork in the outlet on the wall. But there are a number of tough topics every parent must deal with at some point or other.
- Death. Hands down, this one's the hardest thing to explain. Heck, you can't even truly explain it to adults. Depending on your child's age, you may really delve into the reality of death, or merely touch upon it with a more cheerful discussion of the afterlife. Word of advice: Taking the kids on a field trip to the local morgue is surprisingly not the best of ideas.
- Cancer. The Big C can be tough to explain to kids beyond "so and so is very very sick." There's also the radiation, chemo, and a slew of other tests and medications. Just get across two important points: it's not contagious and laughter is the best medicine.
- Being Gay. Back in the '20s, this one was super easy to explain to kids. Everybody loved gay kids because gay meant happy. These days, it has quite a different meaning. Nothing wrong with explaining it to kids (in fact I encourage it), but don't be surprised if you get some laughs or chuckles from the younger crowd when you mention two men (or women) getting married to each other.
- Drugs. Last year, my first grader came home from school repeatedly saying, "Say no to drugs!" I praised him for that. And then he said, "Daddy, what's a drug?" So yeah, teaching drug prevention is great, but explaining drugs themselves seems to be something left out of the school programs.
- Sex. Whether junior's curious as to why mommy and daddy are "wrestling in bed" or he overheard someone talking about it, sex is a tough one to broach with kids. Thankfully, my two boys still think you only kiss someone when you love them, and then you get a baby in your belly somehow.
- Booze. Similar to explaining drugs (alcohol is one, after all), it can be even tougher to explain since it's legal. "Silly juice" seems to be a common phrase amongst parents looking for a way to briefly explain it.
- When Daddy's in Jail. Thankfully, I've never had to deal with this one personally! But I can't even fathom explaining to my kids that daddy did something so horrific that he has to go away for a very long time.
- Divorce. If you're explaining divorce to your kids because you're going through it, well, that's just rough no matter how you slice it. If you're just explaining it in general, you can hopefully get away with emphasising that the two parents are still a mommy and daddy. They still love their kids tremendously. They just don't like each other anymore. Try to keep the sordid details out of it. No need to mention the 22-year-old secretary in the red stilettos.
Which topics are tough for you to explain to your kids?
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