The Simple Hack I Use To Answer My Kid’s Tough Questions
The following was syndicated from Medium for the Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at TheForum@Fatherly.com.
I thought this was the generation of helicopter parenting. Isn’t that what all of us good parents do now? And isn’t one of our roles as a copter mom or dad to step in and explain to our kids how the world works?
Apparently there are tons of adults wandering aimlessly in this helicopter parenting dessert looking for guidance, as evidenced by all these “how do I explain to my kids” articles spreading faster than you can say, “where did this mole come from, Doc?”
Allow me to help by providing the answer key to all your kids’ tough questions.
Your kids can handle the truth. So just give it to them.
For those strapped for time, here’s the executive summary answer key: Utopia ain’t a real thing, baby. Life is unfair. Deal with it.
As for the questions that everybody seems to have trouble explaining, here’s the Short List:
How am I going to explain to my kids that…
Our neighbors are gay? Well, just tell them that there’s something called homosexuality, or being gay, where boys like boys, and girls like girls. They do all the things to each other that boys do to girls, and girls do to boys, plus some extra stuff. I do/don’t support it, and that’s life. Now eat your Pop tart!
A liar, showman, con artist, and misogynist was elected President? Well, lots of people just don’t care about facts or feelings of others except their own. And sometimes the man or woman you wish to be President doesn’t win. You can’t bat 1000 your whole life, so get over it already. Life is unfair. Advocate for who/what you want and vote when you have the chance. And how come you’re not eating your Pop Tart?
White privilege is a real thing, and you may never experience the harsh realities of life because you’re white? Tell your beautiful white kids they’re lucky. And life is unfair to all the others, so keep your head on a swivel and always respect and look out for your neighbors, no matter their color. And what is it, you don’t like strawberry? Just eat the damn thing already because the bus will be here soon and I’m not driving you to school!
Racism is still alive and well and you may be targeted simply because of the dark color of your skin? Tell your beautiful kids of color life is unfair so keep your head on a swivel, and watch out for your neighbors as well as the police. Respect others, no matter their color, yet be forever vigilant as seemingly innocuous situations can blow up in your face. Alright? And I’m gonna swap out the strawberry Pop Tart for chocolate. But you better friggin’ eat it!
There’s something called Transgender, where boys and girls question their sexual identity and believe they’re meant to be the opposite sex so they may use the opposite bathroom of their born gender? Just tell your kids life is unfair to those Transgender folks, and they’re using the bathroom they choose simply because they have to go pee! They’re not looking to rape or assault anyone, for heaven’s sake! If anything, they’re the ones who need protection from assault as they’re getting bullied and abused everyday of their lives.
So, show some compassion! And that’s it, I hear the bus! You better Pop that Tart in your mouth right now if you know what’s good for you!!
I don’t know which world you’ve been living in, but life has always been unfair, unjust, tough, harsh, just a big ole slog, for so many, for so long. That hasn’t changed. It never will. Perhaps with every moment of every day captured and distributed to our eyeballs at a relentless pace, we’re just aware of it in a way never before experienced. But it’s not a new story. Just a new delivery mechanism.
Life is unfair. Deal with it.
These real life truths are all teaching moments. As horrible and uncomfortable a moment as these questions can present, they’re also opportunities to talk to your kids. And in contrast to what Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, your kids can handle the truth. So just give it to them!
But if you can’t give your kids the answers to any of these questions, just print this out and shove it under their bedroom door and tell your kids to read it because you don’t know how to tell them anything.
At least tell them that.
Gregg Diller is a comedy writer and web series and film producer. Armed with an absurdist lens on life and strong sense of satire, he enjoys poking holes in conventional wisdom and shining light on the frailties of our leaders and institutions. Check out his medium page, youtube channel, and twitter.