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Old 03.03.2010, 09:55
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KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

Sorry if this is here somewhere already!!
At breakfast this morning the 10year I have decided to start talking about war and all the great wars in the world...example world war one and two!!
(we were watching Narnia yesterday it didn't just come out of thin air)
anyway long story short...he had questions about why wars happen and what happened in each war!! and if people died and how they died!! and who invented planes to shoot bombs and why??
all these kinds of questions
my usual approach to questions with the kids is answer a question with a question and see what they think!!! and if needs be try to be as honest with them as I can! within reason!!1 I'm not about to discuss sex with a four year old! you get it!
But for this.....it is everywhere! he watches the news with his dad he sees what is happening in the world! he wants cold hard facts!
I told him we'd talk more at lunch but I'm hoping he gets distracted by something else!!
my question really is how much is too much information for kids??
should we tell them all the gory details or let them live in fantasy land?

keeping in mind he is NOT my child but he comes to me with questions!! we talk alot and he likes discussions rather than someone talking down to him!
I don't want to fob him off and treat him like the younger kids!! even though he is 10 he is mature!! but I'm not sure how mature you need to be to understand this when I don't even get it!!
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Old 03.03.2010, 10:02
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

Well, I was very into History as a kid and used to listen to the stories my grandad told me about the war etc. And that was before I was ten.

You can answer the questions say about WW1 and 2 easily enough. Why it happened, who was involved etc without going into too great a detail.

Also, get him some kids books on ancient wars.

There is a great series called World at War which covered the whole of WW2. If you obtained them, you could watch some with him maybe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_at_War

Last edited by kevlegs; 03.03.2010 at 10:05. Reason: added link
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Old 03.03.2010, 10:02
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

Whenever they ask. We answer all questions - as well as we can, anway

Usually, after a couple of sentences of deep meaning, the really heavy topics give way to talking about Pokemon or what music is in the charts or iPads or computers, whatever the world and beyond has to offer.

Why not talk about sex to a 4-year-old, if he/she asks? There are a couple of really good books to illustrate how mummies and daddies fit together (eg. by Babette Cole). Or would you tell them that babies come from storks?
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Old 03.03.2010, 10:25
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

In principle, answer the questions they ask honestly - you don't have to go into the gory details, but you can offer them a sanitised version of the truth. Better to get the truth from an adult than stupidities from their friends. That's the way we are approaching it with ours.

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<snip>keeping in mind he is NOT my child but he comes to me with questions!! we talk alot and he likes discussions rather than someone talking down to him!<snip>
Have you spoken the child's parents to see how they would like you to approach the topic?

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<snip>...Usually, after a couple of sentences of deep meaning, the really heavy topics give way to talking about Pokemon or what music is in the charts or iPads or computers, whatever the world and beyond has to offer. <snip>
LOL - I wish. Some of the questions our 5-year old comes up with are very hard to reply to, due to the increasing complexity of each question as we delve into greater detail of the chosen topic!
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Old 03.03.2010, 10:30
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

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KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?
When you realise that they know more than you about "grown up" things
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Old 03.03.2010, 10:31
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

I'm getting used to it. Yesterday morning I had to try and explain the big bang theory to my four year old when she asked how the whole world, stars and sun were created.

She also asks a lot how she got here and I found this great book written way back in 1968 that explains it all, in hilarious, graphic detail. Word of the week is fertilisation.

I'm thinking the war questions are going to be easy by comparison.
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Old 03.03.2010, 10:51
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

The right moment can only be when inquisitive kids starting asking questions. For example, we gave our daughter a book about all conception and biology questions when she became aware of her sexuality with the onset of her periods. As far as history is concerned, war isn't as omnipresent in CH as other countries that I lived in, because it isn't an ongoing current situation here with daily losses being retold in the media as is the case of many nations with forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'd be more worried about the mindless depiction of violence and seemingly worthlessness of human life that appears on a flat screen TV in our living rooms daily than giving straight answers from history.

I think that kids are overwhelmed by all the input that they get from school, their parents, friends and the constant 24/7 media that they confront. I have a problem dealing with all the stuff I get bombarded with during the day trying to sort out the good from the bad, the useful from the crap, so if we can filter something useful down to our kids then we're doing our job properly.
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Old 03.03.2010, 11:24
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

If he's asking then tell him the truth imo. Although war to a child can be quite fun ie. playing 'war' in the playground at school etc, if they want to really know what it was like they should be told.

I remember not knowing much about WW2 to the point where I used to draw a swastika on my hand cos i thought it looked cool. When my mum saw it she told me it was a bad thing but didn't go into the details why.
She probably should have told me but I guess wanted to keep the real horrors out of my kid mind. It wasn't until years later that I learnt all about it.

So in short. They'll learn about it at school anyway, but if they want to know before that then that can only be a good thing (for something as important as the history of WW2 anyway)
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Old 03.03.2010, 11:27
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

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LOL - I wish. Some of the questions our 5-year old comes up with are very hard to reply to, due to the increasing complexity of each question as we delve into greater detail of the chosen topic!
True - can very well happen at that age. I sometimes say, "go and ask your Dad!"

Seriously, I have no problem saying if I don't know or am not sure of something. Or we go and google/wiki it together.
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Old 03.03.2010, 11:33
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

thank you everyone for the responses! lots of very good ideas!!
his parents trust me and know me well enough to know what to say to their kids and how to say it!1
I never liked being lied to as a kid or fobbed off!! and I DON'T want him hearing a twisted version of the truth from his friends!!
and I guess I really just don't want to give him too much but at the same time too little s he thinks it's a good thing!! like Pat's Ex said....war sometimes is a game for kids!1 which is perfectly al-right as long as he understands it's real and not fun!
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Old 03.03.2010, 13:22
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

Kids are very curious and by their nature if they dont get an answer they will try and find it themselves. There are definitely ways to sanitise things so they don't get the gory details but still get enough knowledge to satisfy their curiosity.

Like Kevlegs, I was very curious about history and loved it in school when I was a kid, I also talked a lot with my Grandfather who was like a second father to me growing up, always educating me about maths, history, geography, politics etc..

I'm sure there are Swiss school books out there that allow a child of that age to read up on events such as WWI and WWII..

IC
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Old 03.03.2010, 13:26
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

As long as he doesn't pick up the habit of putting one, two or three exclamation or question marks after every sentence, I think it should be fine to answer his questions about wars etc.
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Old 03.03.2010, 13:28
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

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As long as he doesn't pick up the habit of putting one, two or three exclamation or question marks after every sentence, I think it should be fine to answer his questions about wars etc.
At least he seems safe from the additional superfluous space before them !!!
For the moment anyway !!!
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Old 03.03.2010, 13:30
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

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As long as he doesn't pick up the habit of putting one, two or three exclamation or question marks after every sentence, I think it should be fine to answer his questions about wars etc.
Don't tell Nicky, she'll have a fit (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Old 03.03.2010, 14:31
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

lol look at you using the EF and giving me advice :P
books are defo seeming the way to go....less likely a book will get flustered and spew shite :P



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Kids are very curious and by their nature if they dont get an answer they will try and find it themselves. There are definitely ways to sanitise things so they don't get the gory details but still get enough knowledge to satisfy their curiosity.

Like Kevlegs, I was very curious about history and loved it in school when I was a kid, I also talked a lot with my Grandfather who was like a second father to me growing up, always educating me about maths, history, geography, politics etc..

I'm sure there are Swiss school books out there that allow a child of that age to read up on events such as WWI and WWII..

IC
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Old 03.03.2010, 14:56
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

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At breakfast this morning the 10year I have decided to start talking about war and all the great wars in the world
I can picture it now;

Yuppie Jr : I think I'll have Toast.

Yupnya : War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.


Yuppie Jr : Or maybe Coco Pops.

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Old 03.03.2010, 15:04
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

lol thank you for that Mirfield
I especially liked the yuppie junior thing
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Old 03.03.2010, 17:27
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

My eldest son, 7 years old, keeps asking questions about death, from:
- there is war and kids are dying, I don't want to die
to
- mommy I don't want you to ever die

He ends up tears and it takes a while to calm him down. I am not trying to hide the fact that we will all die one day, but explaining that it's quite natural.
As for the war, I just realised that the existence of war is shocking for him, whatever he may have seen on TV, but he has no clue of historical fact of war!
I guess in school they have not yet started any notion of history, so I am trying to fill up the gap, bought some kids' history books, but at this point he doesn't seem very interested unless there is a direct discussion about knights in shinning armor or battle like the battle of Troy (only because of the horse!)

I guess he just needs to grow up a bit. For now, lots of hugs and small explanations seem to do well...
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Old 03.03.2010, 18:22
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

I would say that the most grown-up and useful thing he will get out of it is that you don't know the definitive answers, that in life cold hard facts and absolute rights and wrongs are rarities. The rest of the time it's about personal judgement in nuanced situations. Talk about wars in that context. If he gets his head around the preamble, everything else's a breeze.
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Old 03.03.2010, 19:08
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Re: KIDS-when is it ok for them to know 'grown up' things?

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In principle, answer the questions they ask honestly - you don't have to go into the gory details, but you can offer them a sanitised version of the truth...
Or get the the "Horrible Histories" series of books and get the gory version, written especially for little darlings.
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