Last week’s post highlights how important it is to a child to have adult engagement with their most difficult questions. Older children seem to be aware of unexplainable events in their life. To an interested listener, they speak freely, with the attitude that it’s obvious there’s something out there and they have ideas and questions about what that something might be.
Adults can offer a calm presence and a certain comfort level with the contradictions and complexities of a preteen.
We also offer children information when they share their outlook:
There’s a lot of time I think I don’t really necessarily believe there’s life after death right now. I’m pondering, toying around with the idea that once you die it’s done, which would put the end to the point of belief right? But at the same time there’s this nagging, well if it is true, I’m screwed.
If a caregiver has a clear belief system, they can suggest an answer to a child’s questions in alignment with that belief system, although it’s still a good idea to hear the child out and not try to force your own opinions.
The obvious challenge arises when adults aren’t sure what they believe themselves.
If a caregiver isn’t sure, what then? Although saying “I have no idea” to an adult is a perfectly fine response, that can be unsettling to a child because it does not provide a safe boundary.
You might consider responses such as: “Some people think X, others think Y.” “What do you think?” or “That’s a great question. Let’s explore that together and figure it out,” followed by an Internet search, a trip to the library and/or some other sources of information.
- The challenge in discussing spiritual questions arises when adults aren’t sure what they believe themselves. Click to Tweet
- Although saying “I have no idea” to an adult is a perfectly fine response, that can be unsettling to a child. Click to Tweet