If kids ask a question about a topic that is sensitive – such as sex or drugs – don’t panic! If it’s a younger child, they may have heard something on TV or at school and they might be asking out of curiosity. Us adults tend to panic and deluge the child with information they didn’t want or we avoid answering. We need to be careful that we don’t overwhelm them with too much information. For example, if a 5 year old asks what an STD is, this doesn’t mean they are ready for a 30 minute “sex talk”. They probably heard it somewhere and are just wondering what it means. When responding to your child, first of all take a breath! You will get through this!
You could initially respond by asking a question in order to find out where they heard it and what they want to know. For example, you could ask your 5 year old….”where did you hear that?” Or you could ask “what are you curious about?” You may realize that they simply wanted to know who gets it, what it is, or even how to spell it (especially if they have heard STD, but might think it is ESTEEDEE). When you get more information from the child about what they specifically want to know, you can then give them an appropriate response. Another example is maybe a child wants to know who gets STD’s – adults or kids. Your answer would be “adults”. And if you have any luck that day the kid will happily skip out of the house to play out back because they simply wanted to know if kids get it.
Don’t avoid discussions with younger kids. Keep that dialogue door open as this will help when they are older and you REALLY need to talk about things.