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Help with explaining potentially sensitive things to young DCs?

(10 Posts)
Daffodilly Wed 28-Oct-09 21:36:35

DD is almost 3 and VERY interested in EVERYTHING - lots of questions.

Today at Doctors we had an Indian doctor with a turban, que questions - "why does he have that on this head?" "why?" "why?" "why?"

Of course she has to learn and I always try to explain things carefully to her. But I feel very awkward when in front of the person concerned and especially in an area I am not all that clued up on and might inadvertantly say the wrong thing and offend the "subject".

Do you think it is OK to ask the person involved to explain to her? Is that too weird? Also even if I do this at the doctors I can't really ask total stranger next to us on bus to expain why they are in a wheelchair/have puple hair/have a moustache/wear a burka or whatever difference DD has picked up on.

Any tips?

thisisyesterday Wed 28-Oct-09 21:39:06

i just tend to answer as honestly as I can. but i did also explain to ds1 that it isn't very polite to point/talk about other people in front of them.
he still does it of course, but sometimes if i really don't want to answer i'll just remind him that it's a bit rude and he's happy to wait until we're home or whatever

whomovedmychocolatecookie Wed 28-Oct-09 21:41:51

Depends what it is. With the turban I would just explain that's because this man is a sikh and it is part of what he believes, like some people believe in wearing crosses because they are christians. If you ask the doctor to explain it he may well be embarrassed and say something like 'it keeps my head warm' which may well be factually accurate but not the real reason and lead to more questions.

I've had the 'look mummy a ghost' comment from my 3 year old when she saw a mummy in a burkha blush and luckily it was someone I vaguely knew and introduced them and explained why she was dressed like that and the lady in question was utterly gracious about it and answered all DD's questions (is it hot under there, do you have roller skates on under there and do you have to wear pull up pants under it?) hmm grin

Kids do ask questions, don't be embarrassed, it's expected.

shallishanti Wed 28-Oct-09 21:44:07

as dd is only 3 I think it would be Ok to say 'I don't know, dd, but perhaps he is a Sikh' and look to the dr for confirmation/denial. Then'Men who are Sikhs wear turbans' would suffice for then. However, I'd expect the dr himself to respond, tbh.

Mamazonabroomstick Wed 28-Oct-09 21:45:48

if you don;t know say " do you know what? i don't know. when we go home why don't we find out"

that way she will stop asking the questions (hopefully) and by the time you get home she will have forgotten about it or better still, you get to have a look on the net about a subject and help educate her whilost showing her that its ok to say you dont know.

Daffodilly Wed 28-Oct-09 21:47:20

Yes in a cafe recently after DD asked in full toddler volume "WHY DOES THAT LADY HAVE A BIG TUMMY?" (and no she was not pregnant) I tried explaining the 'rude to comment/point' idea. She nodded very sagely. Then two minutes later pointed at a man and asked me why he had a "beard on his top lip" (moustache to the rest of us). Which to me isn't particularly something to be sensitive about, so I explained but felt I had rather blurred the point about talking about other people's personal characteristics.

I think she is just too bright for me!

MavisEnderby Wed 28-Oct-09 21:48:50

Oh I think be as honest and age appropriate as poss.

dd is in a wheelchair at times,wears splints and can't talk but does lots of shreiks and vocalisations.

I have had lots of small children asking me about her when we are sat on the bus!Their mums usuallly look terrified when the questions begin,but tbh the thing is young children ARE naturally curious,so if they ask I say "Her brain doesn't work like yours does so she can't talk properly,but she uses he hands to talk and that is called sign language,she has those (splints) on her legs to help her when she is walking because she is wobbly.

When ds was 3 we saw a man with an arm amputation on the bus and ds was asking where his arm had gone.The guy was lovely and talked to ds.

I think most people understand that young children have natural curiosity.

ds has also asked me about some ladies on the bus who were wearing a hijab,and why some people were brown and some were pink (His words).I have tried to be as honest and inoffensive as possible.

cleanandclothed Wed 28-Oct-09 21:50:27

Can you (gradually, gently) introduce her to the fact that although she can always ask you anything, there are some questions (for example about the appearance of other people) that are 'private questions' that she should ask at home or only quietly? Am sure you don't need to worry really as people do understand about little children but may save some of your blushes.

Daffodilly Wed 28-Oct-09 22:00:39

Thanks - I think maybe I am more embarrassed about my lack of knowledge (especially of cultural/religious areas) and not having good answers. Rather her natural curiousity.

Perhaps I need to work on my own understanding. I was raised in such a multi-cultural dessert! I don't want it to be the same for DCs. I'd like then to understand and embrace people and their differences, not sure I know how to teach them this when it just isn't natural to me and we live in an area where they may not be exposed directly to other cultures/religions either.

UniS Thu 29-Oct-09 19:19:13

I find myself saying " some people chose to wear X" " you chose to wear Y, I chose to wear Z" and move on to a game of spot the motorbike or some such.

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