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The Toughest Questions Kids Ask

What they really want to know  -- and how to answer

 

The facial expression is a little-kid classic: brows arched, mouth slack, eyes wide and unblinking.

The room, meanwhile, has suddenly gone silent.

Two things have just become clear:

1) You've been asked a serious question by your child and

2) You don't know how to answer.

I used to pride myself on possessing an encyclopedic storehouse of answers to kids' questions ("No, there's no such thing as monsters"; "Yes, I will always love you")  -- that is, until the day my 3-year-old asked me if Lucille Ball was in heaven with my father. That's when I knew that children wouldn't be children if they didn't routinely unleash the sort of stumper that gives ordinary parents pause. These inquiries address the kinds of issues that have perplexed moms, dads, and the occasional philosopher since time began. And more often than not, they first come up when your child is of preschool age. What to do when your child asks:

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