By: Dale Madden Sorcher, LICSW, LCSW-C
It’s inevitable, children ask questions that raise their parent’s anxiety, and often leave them at a loss of how to answer. These questions can span the spectrum of “how was I born?” to “what happens when you die?”, and now with our current crisis, “will we get sick?” and “who will take care of me?”.
Especially during stressful times, when children sense something is wrong, they ask questions with greater frequency and need. Younger children have less command of verbal language and rely on their environmental radar, focusing more on body language and facial expression to try to make sense of their world. Parents want to answer their child’s questions correctly, but often miss what their child is asking.
Here are some steps to help investigate what your child is asking:
· Take a breath and connect. Get down on their level and connect visually and physically.
· Reflect their question back to them. By doing this you:
-let them hear their own words,
– let them know you are listening to them
-and gives them permission to tell you more.
It’s in this moment they tell you how they need you to answer them. The question they are asking is usually more concrete than you thought, and easier to manage. By answering them where they are, we are better able to help them manage their worries and assure them.