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5 Questions Every Parent Dreads From Their Toddler

Children are always brimming with unbridled curiosity. At moments you least expect, they will fling a question at you and watch expectantly, as you scramble to put together an appropriate answer. Well, on most occasions, we want to encourage this curiosity, this eagerness to know why things are the way they are. After all, our answers to these questions help develop their inquisitive young minds!

But as any parent would be quick to tell you, sometimes this curiosity can become a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps them think, know and learn, but on the other, awkward situations await. This relentless stream of what, why, when, and who, can every so often zero in on a topic you aren’t quite ready to talk to your toddler about. So on that note, here are 5 tricky questions every parent on the planet dreads!

1. Where do babies come from?

Ah, the old chestnut. This one’s always difficult to navigate, isn’t it? Do you sit down and draw the reproductive system on a paper, label each part, and explain the scientific process? Or do you hit them with a cliched “when two people love each other very much…”? Or perhaps, some stork folklore may come in handy?

We say try a combination of honesty, accuracy, and age-appropriate wording. You can explain the reproductive process using toddler-terms, and preface that with a “when two people love each other”. Let’s skip the storks, shall we?

2. What happens when people die?

I’ve always found this the most challenging to answer, simply because we genuinely don’t know! I mean as adults, we all have our theories, some leaning towards reincarnation while others are centered around a heaven-hell dichotomy. But there’s no correct answer to this one, so what do we tell our children?

Depending on your religious beliefs, you may have a response ready to go. But in case you don’t, we suggest telling them something along the lines of “when people leave us, their spirits are lifted to the sky and they go on to become stars”. Or “I’ll find out when I die”. Either works! Just kidding, go with the first one, please.

3. Mummy, why don’t you have a penis like daddy?

Cue mortification. Thankfully, this one has a pretty straightforward answer! “Daddy has a penis because he is a boy, mummy has a vagina because she is a girl. This is one of the many physical differences between a boy and a girl!”

4. What is a *bad word*?

The bad word in question can be any swear word or slur picked up by their sharp ears. It can also be a word that sounds acceptable to an adult but is inappropriate for a child, like condom or orgasm.

Now, there are 2 ways you can go about responding to this one. You can cop out, and tell them that you’ll discuss it once they’re older. But be warned, children have a way of repeating questions till they get a satisfactory answer. And if you choose to not respond, they may try to find someone else who will. The other way is to be, again, honest, accurate and child-appropriate. But while you’re at it, we suggest making it sound as boring as possible!

5. Why? No, why? Okay, but why?

Why is the sky blue? Why does the sun go away at night? Why does it rain? Why can’t we get a dog? Oof.
As long as these questions can be answered with the aid of science, you’re in the clear! Don’t shirk away from giving them toned down scientific explanations, because ultimately that’s how their knowledge of the world will grow.

But if the why comes as a response to your answer to another question, we’d say try giving them some practical reasons. And if that doesn’t work, change the topic STAT! Of course, there’s always the classic, “because I said so!”, but we only recommend using that in the case of an emergency, or when you’re too deep into the “why” wormhole.

How many of these have you been bombarded with so far? Tell us your awkward question stories in the comments below!