“tell the children the truth” – bob marley

November 8, 2009 at 5:00 am 6 comments


Simple, neutral, and the truth.

Mom, what are you eating? Chocolate. Can I have some? No.Why not? Because you are just about to go to bed and chocolate has both caffeine and sugar in it, which make it harder for you to sleep, and your body needs that rest.

Mom, why are those ducks hanging on that fence? They are dead. Why? Because the person who lives here went into the woods and shot those ducks while they were flying into the sky. And then after they fell to the ground their dog probably went and got them and brought them back. Later today I think they will most likely chop the head off, pull out the guts, pluck all the feathers out, and have those ducks for dinner.

Where DO babies come from? The mama and the papa make them. How? The papa has the seed and the mama has the egg and together that grows into a baby.

(Thus far we haven’t had to answer the “how the seed gets together with the egg” part but if they asked and we didn’t think they were ready, which we don’t, it would go something like this…) but HOW does the seed get into the mama? Well that part is pretty simple but I would rather tell you about it later. Why? Because there is a lot of other stuff sort of wrapped around that information, and if you aren’t ready for the extra “stuff” then the explanation I give you might be confusing. Huh? I know. I usually tell you everything so this must be frustrating for you. Yah. How old do I have to be before you tell me? I’m not sure. Let’s just see how it goes. Maybe 10?

Why does my Webkinz (virtual pet) “die” after a year? Because they want you to have to buy another one. Why? To make money. Why? That’s what businesses do. If your Webkinz lived forever then you wouldn’t need to buy another one and then that company wouldn’t make as much money.

Nallie, after you help me fall asleep do you just go right to your bed and go to sleep there? No. Huh? I stay up several hours later. Doing Feeleez work on the computer and/or watching a movie with Papa. No fair! Yah, it doesn’t seem fair does it. As you get older your body needs less sleep, so I go to bed after you and wake up at the same time as you. Like after midnight? Ya. Sometimes PAST midnight. Woah!

Mama, what’s that? It’s called a cigarette butt. What’s that? Well right now it’s trash. Somebody lit a cigarette on fire, smoked it, and then threw that part on the ground. Can I touch it? I’d REALLY rather you not. Why? Mostly because I don’t like the smell. Cigarette butts have a very strong smell and if you touch it your fingers will smell that way too.

Entry filed under: favorites, parenting principles. Tags: , , , , , .

empathy delivery yeah!

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ivy  |  November 8, 2009 at 8:23 am

    While I flinched at the description of the ducks, I really respect the way you handled all of that. Especially the baby making stuff. I like how you phrased the all of the other stuff wrapped around it. As my kids get older I’m wondering when they will ask and what I will say. I’m still not sure. But your response is very reassuring to me. Thanks again for a meaningful post!

  • 2. Joanna Smetanka  |  November 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I was just thinking about this subject this morning. But was trying to figure out how I felt about subjects like Santa Claus, fairies, magic, that kind of thing. Is Santa real?? Are fairies real?? I want to encourage and preserve and prolong the belief in magical beings kind of. What’s your take on that?

    • 3. nataliechristensen  |  November 8, 2009 at 9:46 pm

      hi joanna,
      Yeah the Santa and fairies topic can be tricky. I have realized that, deep down, i actually do believe in magic and fairies, so it isn’t hard for me to celebrate that with the girls. Yuletide is interesting because both Bella and Xi are at other houses and so are exposed to different ideas than the ones that we “present” to them. Last year Bella set out teeny tiny treats for the Christmas fairy (because she doesn’t believe in Santa) and Xi set out a classic cookie arrangement for Santa. And when the girls went to bed and I realized that we were supposed to snack on these items ourselves I felt so dismayed! I had gotten caught up as well and was sort of thinking that both Santa and Holly the Christmas fairy actually were coming. But then I got to thinking of the spirit of it all, which is what I had been caught up in, and the spirit is definitely present, though we never know what form it’s going to take. If they asked me outright I’d tell them that. I wouldn’t lie about who left the presents, but I’m not going out of my way to lay bare any myths, I’d say that this time the parents put out these special presents, but that special things and actions are happening all the time from magic and fairies, and you never can be sure.

  • 4. Alyssa  |  November 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    How inspiring this was to read! But of course you tell children the truth – why is this such a profound concept to me?! Thank you for this glimpse into a daialogue grounded in truth. So powerful.
    Hugs to you Natalie – I was so sad to read your post about em & your dad going back home.

  • 5. anna  |  November 8, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    gosh the duck thing brings back some memories…I’ll never forget taking Aurora into a trading post and she was so curious about the taxidermy animal heads mounted on the walls. We were vegetarian and when she asked why the deer heads were there I told her honestly…”well a person shot the deer with a gun and killed it so that they could eat its body because some people eat animal’s bodies. ” What to you think about that Aurora?
    And she answered “oh Aurora eat deer body too.”
    and so shortly after that she did and loved it. I was so surprised by her response and it helped me see how important honesty is..we can’t always anticipate how our children will receive the information we share with them.

  • 6. Marirose  |  November 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I simply loved this post, Natalie!

    I just wanted to respond to the fairy and Santa idea: When the Santa issue came up at our house, I told Finn that Santa WAS a real person. His name was Nicholas and he lived a long time ago. He was a kind and generous man and helped many people. Because he was a regular person, he died just like anyone else. But because he showed such a generous spirit, he inspired others to be generous, too. So people try to act like him and be generous to each other around Christmas. Even though Nicholas, the man, died, his spirit still is with us. So even though the parents put the presents out, it was with the same spirit that Santa gave presents to people.
    With the fairy/gnome issue: I belive in fairies and magic, too, Natalie! When the kids have been confronted with the idea that such things aren’t real, I’ve asked them what they think. I’ve told them that many people don’t believe in fairies, gnomes or magic because they’ve never seen any for themselves. I haven’t seen them either, but I don’t need to see them to believe that they are there!


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