How Do You Handle Adult Themed Situations With a Child? + A Squirrel Death

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


My son Max who is almost three is a talker.  He basically never stops from the moment he wakes up until the moment he goes to bed.  He is always wanting to know what things do, why things makes certain noises, why things are named the things they are etc.  He is full of life, caring, compassionate and outgoing and I think wanting to know and always asking questions is a wonderful thing. I always try my best to explain things in a way that his little growing mind can comprehend.  Like that time he asked, "Why is there a bug on your belly that doesn't come off?"  When he was referring to my dragonfly tattoo.

Sometimes when you are a parent little situations get thrown your way where you really don't have a whole lot of time to think about how exactly you are going to explain it.  Take yesterday's squirrel incident for example.  A poor little squirrel got ran over in our neighborhood and was flattened like a pancake and Max saw the whole thing.  Oh that was a tough one.  Max was horrified and so worried for the squirrel.  He kept asking me, "What's gonna happen to the squirrel Mom?!"

I did not have a whole lot of time to think so I told him that the squirrel was not hurting and went to heaven.  I told him he is now living with Jesus and his other squirrel friends.

This explanation led Max to ask me a whole host of questions like, "What's heaven Mom?" and "Does Jesus have medicine?" I told him heaven was where Jesus lives and when we say prayers at night that is the man that hears them.  I also told him  that Jesus has every kind of medicine you can imagine and will take such good care of the squirrel.  I looked over at him hoping that my answer would help de-traumatize the whole thing and he looked satisfied with my explanation.  He said, "Ok bye squirrel have fun in heaven."  And that night we said our prayer before dinner and Max made sure to remind God to give the squirrel medicine.  I love that boy.  

Have you ever had to explain an adult themed situation to a child?  Funny or serious...I would love to hear what is was. 

16 comments:

salla said...

The child in our house (who is now 9 - oh my!) discovered Tom and Jerry (the older ones) several years ago. While I remember the show fondly from my own youth, I had forgotten much of the things that were in it. We have had to discuss alcohol (Tom fell in a barrel marked XXX and came up drunk), racial stereotypes (some of the really old eps have bits where Tom or sometimes Jerry get blown up and then do a black face bit) and of course violence or why you can't actually hit your friends with a frying pan and expect them to get back up. Gotta love the classics!

Amy said...

i love children's prayers...they just, they are so sweet!

Alexa said...

I seriously am tearing up at this post Lindsay. I'm really worried when Mila starts asking those questions. She loves animals SO much and is so sweet around them. I like your answer though...I mean really, isn't that how a lot of us deal with the issue of death anyway, even as adults? Certainly makes it a little bit nicer to think about. Happy Tuesday my friend.

The Cyclists Wife said...

We have a close neighbor whose elderly father was living with them. He had an amputated foot and was in a wheelchair, among other things. My munchkin kept asking "what's wrong with him, why can't he walk, where is his foot?" I tried to explain "old" to him, which doesn't go very far with someone who is only 3. I asked him to show me on his hands how old he was and he held up his 3 little fingers. Then I told him our neighbor was much, much older and flashed all of my fingers many times to demonstrate. The Munchkin kind of stared and I didn't think he really got it. A few days later our neighbor was helping the man out of the car when we were outside. The Munchkin looked at me and flashed his hands a bunch of times to signify "old". I don't know if he understands completely, but I think he got it enough.

Simply LKJ said...

Such a sweet story. Having raised two (now 19 and 23) we have had to answer many of those difficult questions. And now as a two year old Bible school teacher, I have to teach about some of those difficult questions and situations. Honesty on their level is always best. Our policy was that we would rather they hear the honest answer at their level from us than to learn the wrong thing from someone else. And, it is perfectly OKAY to tell them you don't have the answer right now and that you promise to talk about the situation soon. This gives you a minute when the BIG questions come to collect your thoughts.

Ambria Haught said...

Awww!! Max is so adorable!! And he's seriously almost THREE?? Wow time sure does fly! One time I was about to get on the bus with my Mom, and there was a whole dead CAT on the curb... I was traumatized, but I was over it once the but came since I already knew about Jesus and death. I love to hear little kids pray, like my little brother, he messes it up a lot but it's still cute :)

SHUG IN BOOTS {Beth} said...

This made me LOL and then smile some more. I had to reread it. "He is living with Jesus and his other squirrel friends." Hahahaha. Precious.

curlygirlpress said...

So very sweet! I think you gave the perfect answer. When I was pregnant my sister didn't want to explain to my VERY curious, then 3-year-old nephew how the baby got in there (totally avoided that one), or how it was coming out, so I think she just told him I would go to the hospital and come home with a baby. She also didn't want to explain breastmilk so I always went to the other room to nurse. = )

colleen said...

i haven't really (or regularly enough for me to recall an example), but i love hearing kid's thoughts, thought process and am a little jealous how they recover quickly "ok by squirrel have fun in heaven!" haha. but it's that part of children that is also so inspirational and healing to my hardened adult heart. thanks for sharing this little story.

mama hope said...

Love your blog and can totally relate to this post! Our dear cocker spaniel passed away last Thanksgiving and we had big discussions about death and heaven with our kids. I blogged about it here if you're interested: http://2square2behip.blogspot.com/2012/11/in-memory-of-sparkle.html.

Anonymous said...

Max is such a smart and cute kid! I think you gave him a good answer. The problems occurs when someone, such as myself and many people I know, who doesn't believe in god or such forms of higher powers, needs to explain a situation like this without feeling that I'm lying to a child. And it might still be early for real explanation.

Lieke said...

My daughter, revering to a New York visit more than a year ago, said: you had a baby in your belly then too, right? And when I nodded and said that she remembered very well, I had to explain where the baby went to, 'because it never came out your belly'.
I told her the baby was really really small and that it was way too small to go home with us and that the baby was now a little angle living in the clouds watching over us and waving every now and then. She was happy with the anwser, and because it was a typicall beautifull blue and cloudy day (with clouds I think only appear in the Netherlands).

Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted said...

Despite the poor lil' squirrel not having a good day that is a sweet story and I love his prayer!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I work for a family who are very open about what body part is what and what makes us male/female etc. (the mother is a doctor). One day, I was downstairs with the two oldest who are seven and five and they had two friends over who are around the same ages. As they were wrestling and laughing like kids do, one of the girls yelled out, 'Hey! you just kicked me in the vagina!' the boys, entirely unphased responded, 'Your vagina? I don't have a vagina!' ...and then they just played like nothing had happened. It was all I could do not to LOL. (:

christina said...

when it comes to adult sit. I tried to explain as much that is needed for the answer they are searching for ;) no more. no less.

Urban Flowerpot said...

Oh no! That is my son's favorite animal "skirrels" and one of his first words. That would have been extra-hard. We aren't there yet, but I was a preschool teacher for 10 years and have had just about every question, though as a teacher you have to navigate your answers carefully, leaving the ultimate answer to the parents (for things like what happens when you die, etc).

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