What do I say, when I don’t have all the answers?

I try my best to be open and honest with my children.

There’s been a lot of questions from them about babies recently, as one of their Auntie’s is pregnant and Rhys’ teacher has just had a baby girl.

I made the decision to be as honest as I could in my answers.  I didn’t want to make up stories about storks, or let my children go around thinking that babies come out of women’s tummy buttons.

So I told them the truth.  I keep things as simple as I could, and tried to use appropriate terms, but I told them the truth.

And they were happy with that.

I’m sure there’ll be more questions on the matter as they get older and that’s fine.  I’ll be honest then too.

The problem for me is when they ask questions that I just don’t have the answers to.

What do I say, when I don't have all the answers-

We’ve encountered this a fair bit recently, as Rhys has started asking questions about death.

A few months ago his friend’s dog passed away.  And in a strange coincidence he asked his Nana that day where their neighbour was, because he hadn’t seen him for a while.  Not knowing about the friend’s dog, Nana told the truth.  Their neighbour had died.

And Rhys just started crying, and didn’t really stop until he came back home.  I think it was too much for him to process.

And it’s been playing on his mind ever since.

He’ll go quiet on the topic for a while, then he’ll start asking questions again.

He wants to know what happens when we die.

And the problem is, I don’t know the answer to that question.

I’ve tried to explain that no one really knows what happens, but that different people believe different things.  It’s hard though, when I’m not even sure what I believe.  I’m not religious, so I’m not sure about introducing the idea of heaven to my children.  But I don’t want to scare them by telling them that death is the absolute end.

I don’t think Rhys would be happy with just being told that you live on in people’s memories.  He wants more than that.  I think the idea of everything just ending would be really upsetting to him.

After lots of discussions I’ve worked out that the main concern Rhys has is that he won’t be with me and his daddy any more if he dies.  At one point he asked, in his 5 year old way, about reincarnation.  He wanted to know if he was born again as a different person, would I still be his Mummy.

And it broke me a bit.  This little boy.  All he wants is his mummy.  He’s too young to be trying to deal with these huge, unanswerable questions.

So I suppose, for now, I won’t worry too much about trying to answer them for him.

For now I’ll give him what he needs.  

Reassurance that he’ll always be my son.  I will always, always be his mummy.  And he will always be loved.  

 

Cuddle Fairy
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10 Comments

  1. Laura Beresford 08/03/2017 / 12:12 pm

    I think you’ve got it right. Children need to be told things it a way that acknowledges their interest but in an age appropriate way. I think it is perfectly valid to say ‘i don’t know’. #BloggerClubUK

    • This glorious life 09/03/2017 / 9:32 pm

      Thank you. It’s just so hard, I want to make everything ok and have answers that will do that, but it’s just not always possible! x

  2. Nicole - Tales from Mamaville 08/03/2017 / 12:44 pm

    I think it’s wonderful how you are tackling all these difficult topics. Death might be too much for a five-year-old to process, and you’re right, all they need at that age is security and reassurance. Bless him!
    #BloggerClubuk

    • This glorious life 09/03/2017 / 9:29 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment, it is a huge thing for him to be trying to get his head round. x

  3. Mammy 09/03/2017 / 3:04 pm

    Oh Madeline, it made me tearful to think of Rhys being so upset. But I really admire your honesty. . I hope someone has an answer or suggestion for you. Seems to me you’ve said all the right things so far.

    • This glorious life 09/03/2017 / 9:46 pm

      Thank you, I tend to feel I’m on the right track if you agree with my approach! I’m not really sure there is an answer though, I think we’ll just have to keep muddling through and reassuring him that we’re here and that he’ll always be loved. x

  4. Jane Smith 09/03/2017 / 9:06 pm

    Great post, Madeline. That worry about what happens when we die, when we will go, will those we love go before us and how will we cope never really goes away, does it? It’s tough to have to explain the parts of life that cause us pain and that they are inevitable. You’re going the right way in being honest.

    • This glorious life 09/03/2017 / 9:41 pm

      I think that’s what makes it so hard, I do still feel all that worry that you mentioned. I do hope I’m dealing with these things the right way. x

  5. Heidi P 10/03/2017 / 8:35 pm

    Plus Rhys is very inquisitive, like many children I guess there’s always got to be a balance between detail and what is best for them at such a young age. The world is big with lots for them to learn about, I don’t think any parent can know how to answer everything!!! As the Auntie Heidi in Rhys’s life I just love seeing him and his brain grow and develop and learn. He’s such a great little “cheeky” character 🙂

    • This glorious life 13/03/2017 / 9:52 pm

      I think maybe in a way it’s even more dramatic for you, seeing the changes in him from one visit to the next! x

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