Last night, to celebrate Brandon’s birthday, we hosted a murder mystery party at our house. (Turns out the birthday boy was also the MURDERER! Dun, dun, dun…)
During the dinner we got side tracked from mystery solving with this conversation about what is appropriate to tell children. Here are my thoughts (feel free to disagree.):
It’s better to talk less to kids and to use concrete examples. The author of simplicity parenting agrees with me. My favorite quote in the book (well, one of them) is “One way to “talk less” is to not include children in adult concerns and topics of conversation.” He writes, “It’s a misnomer to think that we are “sharing” with our children when we include them in adult conversations about adult concerns. Sharing suggests an equal and mutual exchange, one that is impossible for a child to offer and unfair for an adult to expect…….” He also makes a great point at the end of this section: “There is one more point. When there are topics that you don’t address with your child, they carry an image of you, and of adulthood, that retains an element of mystery. When you have an inner life, your children have a model of self that is both loving and unique, an individual. They’ll come to realize that there are things about you they don’t know, things that they may learn over time.”
So, for example, let’s just say (hypothetically!) that one were to become pregnant with a second child. It’s just as “honest” to just tell your child that you’re tired or not feeling well the explain morning sickness. You don’t have to attribute your symptoms to the pregnancy, so your child doesn’t blame the new baby for Mom feeling bad or not being able to play. Also, as soon as you let your child in on adult knowledge they are likely to share it with the world. At least discretion is not one of my daughter’s top traits.
What do YOU think? How much do you explain/discuss/tell your kids?