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Answering Awkward Questions

While you're driving down a highway, your 6-year-old may surprise you with questions like "What's a gentleman's club?" or "What are implants?" Thanks, billboards. Early grade-schoolers love to practice sounding out words they see on signs and on newspaper or magazine covers, but they may not yet understand them. Naturally, for answers, they turn to their trusted source of information—you! Here's how to respond:

Keep your answer short and age-appropriate 

Although some words are loaded to you, they lack connotation for your child, so keep calm. Respond directly with words he understands, and be prepared for follow-up questions. Take him seriously and he'll probably continue to come to you first, instead of seeking out information from less reliable sources.

Postpone an answer if necessary—but not forever 

If you're in public, it's okay to tell your child to wait until later so you can address his question fully and privately. He may forget that day, but you'll be better prepared for next time.

Take his maturity level into account 

If you think he's prepared for the answer, treat your child's accidental word encounter as an opportunity for discussion. On the other hand, if a topic is simply too mature for your child, tell him that there are some subjects he's just not old enough to understand yet.