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What Are The Toughest Topics You Have Had to Explain to Your Kids?

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM
  • 40 Replies

The 8 Toughest Things to Explain to Kids

Being a parent certainly has its moments. All you can hope for is that the good ones outweigh the bad.

Now, when it comes to teaching your kids all sorts of life lessons (fire = bad!), some are easier than others. A quick slap on the wrist and a loud "NO!" will suffice when your 3-year-old tries shoving a fork in the outlet on the wall. But there are a number of tough topics every parent must deal with at some point or other.

Explaining the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus to your youngsters can be fun and easy. It's the really tough topics that parents fear. Here's a look at 8 of the Toughest Things to Explain to Kids.

  1. Death. Hands down, this one's the hardest thing to explain. Heck, you can't even truly explain it to adults. Depending on your child's age, you may really delve into the reality of death, or merely touch upon it with a more cheerful discussion of the afterlife. Word of advice: Taking the kids on a field trip to the local morgue is surprisingly not the best of ideas.
  2. Cancer. The Big C can be tough to explain to kids beyond "so and so is very very sick." There's also the radiation, chemo, and a slew of other tests and medications. Just get across two important points: it's not contagious and laughter is the best medicine.
  3. Being Gay. Back in the '20s, this one was super easy to explain to kids. Everybody loved gay kids because gay meant happy. These days, it has quite a different meaning. Nothing wrong with explaining it to kids (in fact I encourage it), but don't be surprised if you get some laughs or chuckles from the younger crowd when you mention two men (or women) getting married to each other.
  4. Drugs. Last year, my first grader came home from school repeatedly saying, "Say no to drugs!" I praised him for that. And then he said, "Daddy, what's a drug?" So yeah, teaching drug prevention is great, but explaining drugs themselves seems to be something left out of the school programs.
  5. Sex. Whether junior's curious as to why mommy and daddy are "wrestling in bed" or he overheard someone talking about it, sex is a tough one to broach with kids. Thankfully, my two boys still think you only kiss someone when you love them, and then you get a baby in your belly somehow.
  6. Booze. Similar to explaining drugs (alcohol is one, after all), it can be even tougher to explain since it's legal. "Silly juice" seems to be a common phrase amongst parents looking for a way to briefly explain it.
  7. When Daddy's in Jail. Thankfully, I've never had to deal with this one personally! But I can't even fathom explaining to my kids that daddy did something so horrific that he has to go away for a very long time.
  8. Divorce. If you're explaining divorce to your kids because you're going through it, well, that's just rough no matter how you slice it. If you're just explaining it in general, you can hopefully get away with emphasising that the two parents are still a mommy and daddy. They still love their kids tremendously. They just don't like each other anymore. Try to keep the sordid details out of it. No need to mention the 22-year-old secretary in the red stilettos.

Which topics are tough for you to explain to your kids?

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM
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by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Just the other day we had to go over #1. A great family friend passed away suddenly and that brings up to #4. She passed of a drug overdose and I have learned to be brutally honest with DD(5). When she asked what happened I told her..."Simone was doing really bad drugs and her body didn't like it." #2 well my unt had cancer but I told DD she was very sick I'm not sure if we went into it all.. She had just turned 4 when my aunt was diagnosed and is 100% cancer free now. #3 is nothing I am bisexual so is my brother and we have many LGBT friends. #5 we are not there yet....#6 I told her alcohol is terrible for you....#7 funny her bio dad is in jail but she des not know him. #8 just kind of had to deal with that. My BF of 2 years broke up with me and kicked us out 3 weeks ago so... yeah hard!

I'm a tattooed,bisexual,pro-choice,pro-legalizing marijuana,pro-gay marriage,anti-war,non-vaxing,tree hugging,animal loving,book reading,animal testing free,depression battling, trying to raise a free spirit and letting her be who she is,fighting for equal rights at the same time,don't like it get over it.

by Sarah on Mar. 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM

It's just hard to frame these things in such a way that young kids can really conceive of them. I agree with many of the topics above, although I don't think alcohol has been that difficult to explain.

Other hard things that we've talked about recently: slavery, adoption, finances...

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

My sons father has never been in jail.

by Emerald Member on Mar. 4, 2013 at 4:55 PM

We've never had to explain anyone going to jail or divorce.  

Honestly, I think that the hardest thing to explain to the kids was that we had a set of twins that passed away shortly after birth.  It was hard for my boys to grasp the idea that babies can die.  They already knew about old people and animals dying when we brought up the subject of their brothers, so death certainly wasn't a new concept.

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM

When their great grandadddy passed away. We had just seen him the week before so it was hard for my 5 year old to understand how he could just be gone when she just saw him. My 10 year old understood better b/c her grandmother (it was her dad) had told her in an e-mail earlier that week that grandadddy was sick and had to be in the hospital. It broke my heart to hold my girls as they cried this wonderful man who loves them so very much and who they love so very much. My youngest still talks about him and will cry when she misses him (he has been gone a little over a year now).

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 7:25 PM

For us it is understanding human behavior.  For example, when to fight a bully and when to just walk away. 

by on Mar. 4, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Child abuse or neglect. they had a hard time understanding that not all kids are treasured .

School violence like columbine or CT.

Why you really do need to write legibly.
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by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Sandy hook was terrible to explain to my kids. I don't know if I would have told them about it, but their school made an announcement over the intercom. Now they have a fear of school no matter how I try to reassure them
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by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 7:44 AM
When my kids' biological mom's rights were terminated was the hardest. Talking to my son about his bio father whom he had never met and who had never had anything to do with but who he had a slight chance of having to go live with runs a close second. Sex and drugs isn't even hard after that.
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by on Mar. 5, 2013 at 8:15 AM

 Trying to explain cancer and the subsequent death of their father was hard for my kids to grasp. #3- I don't know that I've ever had to explain it other than to say that is her girlfriend/his boyfriend. My kids have never laughed at that though. They just accepted them as they would a same sex couple so that wasn't a hard one for me. Drugs wasn't  hard, just sad when I had to explain why their 18 year old cousin died from an overdose the very first time he did drugs. I just wanted them to understand that even one time can kill you so I may have stressed things too  much for their age at the time.Sex isn't that hard either when you start an open line of communication from a young age. Maybe I am just not that private of a person and am comfortable talking about things that make others nervous? I am trying to figure out why drinking would be hard to talk about? I don't get that one. Never had to deal with 7&8.

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