Difficult conversations

How much do you tell a small child (a 6-year-old, for example) about the bad stuff that's happening in the world? Malayna's school is collecting items to send to Haiti, so I know she's heard about it there. We talked about it very briefly here at home - just telling her that there was an earthquake and that people lost their homes. She didn't ask any more about it, so we didn't tell her more than that. But is that keeping her in a bubble? I want her to know about things that happen outside of her little part of the world, but I do not want to scare her. Her school has assigned each grade an item to donate, and kindergarten has been asked to donate powdered baby formula. Giving that to her to take to school will probably bring up all kinds of questions. Questions that I'm not sure how to answer. There are babies and kids in Haiti with no mom and dad, no home, and no one to take care of them. Is that too much for a 6-year-old to handle? Or am I not giving her enough credit? I'm all for being honest, but how much does she need to know? What are you telling your kids?

{PS: Thank you all SO much for the comments the other day. I'll have something to show in a few days!}


Anonymous said...

You gave the right answers. Telling a 6 year old that 200k people were buried alive might sent her to the nut house. Give her simple answers to the questions she asks don't embellish it may confuse her. (I learned that from experience) Even though they will talk about it in school she is young so she will not understand the true impact of the situation. Which at 6 you don't really want her to. They should be floating in bubbles; don't you think? Hope this helps! Christine Ehrmann

lisa {milkshake} said...

Thanks, Christine. I usually tell her things like this only when she asks, but I do wonder if I should be telling her before she asks. Just the minimum, of course. And, yes, I DO think they should be floating in bubbles at six! I want to keep her innocent as long as possible!

Rhonda said...

A therapist told me as a new stepmom that kids are really good at not asking for more information than they can handle. So just answer as simply as you can and if they have more questions, they'll ask. If they don't or can't handle more, they won't ask until they are ready. At least that's what she said :-) (I'm still trying to stay in my bubble!)