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How do you answer "difficult"; questions off your toddler?

(14 Posts)
LissyGlitter Mon 19-Oct-09 17:25:56

My 2.5 yo DD is starting to ask questions about the world. We generally try and answer simply and honestly, just the question she has asked, but we are now sensing that some more difficult questions might be round the corner...

EG, she has asked me why I have hair on my "bum" and my legs, and I have told her it is what you get when you are a grown up. She is also very curious about boobies, and who does or doesn't have them, and if they are all full of milk. She also wants a baby to grow in her belly, like me. I have tried to explain all this is things for grown ups, and that when she is a big lady she might want to ask a man to put a baby in her tummy, but she is too little now. How do I explain gender differences and puberty and so on without coming across all 1950's and confusing her when she meets people who are trans? And how do I give her the basics about reproduction (I don't want to do "the talk", I would much rather it all just got talked about casually) without being too focused on hetrosexual traditional relationships?

Also, she has asked me what soldiers do. I just told her they march about, but soon I may have to explain the concept of war. She also wants to know about smoking and drinking. How do I explain why people do things that are harmful to them, without making them sound too much like fun?

Argh! The problems in bringing up a left wing liberal child! I don't want to get all lentil-weavery, but I do want to pass on certain values. Any tips?

Hullygully Mon 19-Oct-09 17:27:32

Just tell it like it is in language she can understand.

colditz Mon 19-Oct-09 17:28:26

Shes 2.5, the chances of you having to explain the concept of war before she is about 5are very low.

Marching up and down is an accurate description of soldiers.

"Why do people smoke?" "Because they are stupid"

ShowOfHands Mon 19-Oct-09 17:30:11

Simple, honest, no more info than required or asked for.

My dd is 2.5 and understands basic conception and how babies come out, anatomical difference etc. I only answer questions and in the most simple way.

specialmagiclady Mon 19-Oct-09 17:31:58

What are the chances she'll meet someone who's trans, who she knows is trans? If slim to none before the age of about 7, just stick to the facts.

My 4.5yo keeps asking questions that I KNOW are going to end up with me having to explain evolution. It's almost enough to make me start talking about God. Just so much easier!

Oh and just wait 'til the obsession with death... that's fun! Sex is easy peasy to explain!

AMumInScotland Mon 19-Oct-09 17:32:22

Don't get hung up on issues like transgender - at this stage she just wants to know that there are two genders, and how they are different. They like clear categories - it's only going to confuse her if you start adding in all the possible complications when she doesnt get the basics yet.

So there are boys and there are girls. Boys grow up to be men, and girls grow up to be women. As they get older their bodies change, ready so that they can make babies if they want to. But not till they're grownup because they wouldn't be able to look after a baby when they're still children.

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Mon 19-Oct-09 17:35:43

I'm amazed your child can ask such questions at 2.5! my ds is 2.2 and just about says "digger" hmm I wonder if he has such thoughts in his head, or if he will in three months?

colditz Mon 19-Oct-09 17:37:03

yeah, sex is easy.Death is hard.

In this strictly atheist house, we have the concept of Cat Heaven


Hullygully Mon 19-Oct-09 17:38:10

We have rejoining the Great Oneness (unspecified).

AMumInScotland Mon 19-Oct-09 17:38:29

Smoking and getting drunk "because they're silly"

Soldiers - marching, and sometimes there's a war and they have to go and fight.

Relationships - tbh I'd stick with heterosexual monogamous relationships as a first step, assuming that's what she sees around her. Then you can add in that some men "fall in love" with other men, or women with other women.

But most importantly, try to just answer the actual question she's asking at the time - if you give too much info, she'll just get confused and glaze over!

hairymelons Mon 19-Oct-09 17:40:07

I'm not too worried about saying exactly the right thing because I think that DS will learn our values through how we live and how we behave towards other people. I hope!

madwomanintheattic Mon 19-Oct-09 17:43:09

lol james, ds1 aged 23 months asked 'why are you wiping my goolies?'

apart from never quite working out where he had learnt the vocab, a simple 'i'm cleaning off the poo' sufficed, rather than a lecture about contamination by bodily fluids, and historical links to dysentery etc.

keep it simple, op. ds1 is 7 now and knows the answers to all your dd's questions. at 2 it was more about what i wanted to tell him to be honest. they are just programmed to ask questions.

dd2 at 3 asked me if you had to go to a hospital for the doctor to put the baby in so that it could grow, and then go back to get it out.

has she asked you to explain santa or the tooth fairy yet? you might want to think about those - the practical real life questions are a doddle. wink

LissyGlitter Mon 19-Oct-09 17:48:29

We do have several trans friends, although I suppose they are in our old home town and she probably just sees them as their "new" gender anyway. Same with gay/bi friends, i suppose she just thinks they are giving their friend a cuddle.

Her uncle died recently, and she doesn't seem to have really noticed. I told her we were sad because he had died, and that means we can't see him any more, and that if she was sad, that is fine. She just shrugged and ran off to play. A couple of times if people have been unexpectedly unavailable (ie out when we call round, or not answering the phone) she has asked if they are with her uncle, and has been satisfied when we have said they aren't.

AMumInScotland Mon 19-Oct-09 18:00:37

At 2.5 she won't be thinking about relationships in the same terms as adults do - it's not till much older that they start to connect the idea of "making babies" with anything to do with kisses and cuddles, or even sharing beds, living together, etc. If she sees your friends in same-sex relationships she'll pick up automatically on the fact that some people fall in love with, and want to live with, someone who might be the same sex, or might be the opposite sex. Your trans friends are the way they are now. Personally, I'd be cautious of trying to explain that they used to be different - children need to understand that girls grow up to be women and boys grow up to be men, before they can even start to think about the possibility of some individuals not being happy about that arrangement. Give that one another few years!

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