Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Hardest Question My Daughter Has Ever Asked Me.

We are very honest with our daughter, when our boy dog was trying to hump our girl dog we didn't tell her that they were trying to play leapfrog, we told her they were trying to make babies. When she started talking about Santa, The Tooth Fairy etc, we told her they were just fun stories and they weren't real. I didn't think there was much at 6 years old that she could stump us with, I didn't honestly think there were many questions our daughter could ask that we wouldn't be able to answer truthfully and age appropriately. That was until last week.

I can't exactly remember what we were doing that made her ask this question but I think it came about through another discussion we were having about refugees.

We talk about these kinds of things often, it started when I started getting involved with ChildFund. Every now and again we get a letter or a postcard from them about a child and their family and we find their country on the map and we read their story. I think these topics are some of the most important that we can have with our children, to allow them to see a world bigger than themselves, to see the wider world, the other children just like her.

I was explaining to her that people sometimes have to leave their countries because it isn't safe for them and their children. When she asked why I said sometimes it is because of war or fighting in their country.. That's when she asked me. 

"Mummy, what is war?"

Well I really didn't know what to say, I told her it was when people fought, sometimes with guns and people get hurt. She asked me why, it was then that I really didn't know what to say. I told her that sometimes when people don't agree with each other sometimes it ends in war.

My daughter was very dissatisfied with my answer, she had a very puzzled look on her face and I could tell she just didn't understand why people would want to hurt each other. But I really didn't feel like I had a better answer for her. What is war? Is war an argument gone too far, the only way to stop more harm, is it about greed, money or land.

The truth is I couldn't tell her what war was or why it happens, I don't know how to tell her that sometimes people want to blow each other up, blow themselves up, blow up innocent people on the train on their way to work or while they are out with their friends.

We teach our children to work things out, to communicate, to use words to solve disagreements, to be kind, to be gentle with others and accept our differences. How do we then teach them about the world and explain the really tough stuff that I'm not even sure I understand myself?

We censor what games our children play on iPads and what movies on Netflix they are allowed to watch but we sit there in front of our newspaper or 6 o'clock news and see things made only for nightmares. We are worried that our children will see a naked pair of breasts but a dead child in another country is something we shrug our shoulders and try to tell our children that it's another world away, that those things don't happen to children like them, but they are children like them, exactly like them just in a different place.

This is one of those parenting moments I wasn't prepared for. It wasn't the 'birds and the bees' discussion everyone warns you about. I have those answers, I have started those discussions. This was something so much harder to answer, I didn't have these answers nor do I think there are any concrete ones to give a child about this topic.

How would you have answered?

If you would like to see some more of my parenting journey check out these posts:
I Take My Kid To Restaurants-Get Over it!
Please Don't Comment On My Daughter's Body
It Does Matter How Your Daughter Dresses- A Response
Picking Daffodils and Making Memories
Why I Don't Allow Toy Guns In My House

Robin xx


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